By Kevin Collison
What’s now an empty ground-level space in the Webster House parking garage at 17th and Wyandotte is slated to become the location of a new bar dedicated to craft beer called Oak & Steel.
Kyle Howard wants to create a place where people who love local craft brews as well as folks who just want to learn more about the scene can come and relax. He plans to open in early summer.
“I’m a craft beer geek,” he said. “I know it can be intimidating to people who aren’t.
“I want a place where people will be comfortable to come in with a friend. I want to appeal to the über craft beer geeks as well as people who aren’t.”
And in a still rare feat, the four-level garage that was completed in late 2013 will land a tenant on its ground level. Many downtown garages are designed with that goal in mind, but few succeed.
Oak & Steel will have both a 2,600 square-foot indoor space that can accommodate 75 people and a 1,200 square-foot outdoor patio for 40 patrons open to the sidewalk but sheltered from the sun by the garage above.
Howard, who until recently worked for a wine distributor, plans to have 24 taps pouring all independent craft beers.
“I’ve partnered with local breweries, some that only distribute through their taprooms and I’m arranging to get their kegs,” he said.
“Beyond that, we’ll have a small, curated wine list and small-batch whiskey list.”
Oak & Steel will offer locally-sourced snacks, but customers are encouraged to bring in their own food from surrounding Crossroads restaurants and food trucks.
Howard has been a craft beer fan for 15 years and has enjoyed the growth of microbreweries in downtown Kansas City in recent years.
“As a whole, we’re still behind some of the best beer cities in the country, but we’re quickly catching up,” he said. “I’m friends with a lot of those guys and there’s a lot of excitement.”
He added he hopes Oak & Steel will become welcome part of the neighborhood.
“I want to not be a random bar in the Crossroads,” Howard said. “I want to be part of the neighborhood and do a lot of charity work with local organizations.”
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