By Kevin Collison
KC Hooley House, an Irish-themed bar and restaurant, is rising from the ashes of the former Dubliner at the Power & Light District and plans to open in February, hopefully in time to celebrate a Chief’s Super Bowl win.
The Hooley will take over the 9,800 square-foot space vacated by The Dubliner which closed last spring. But in some Irish deja vu, it will be run by a team that includes former Dubliner operator Ryan Haverty with some new twists.
“I’m more knowledgable about the business than I was in 2012,” Haverty said. “I’ve been able to assemble my own team and start from scratch.
“We’re planning to have a better product and service, something more like the East Coast and New York City. I want to bring something to Kansas City that’s a little different.”
Haverty closed The Dubliner last April after he and his partners couldn’t reach a deal to extend their lease with the Cordish Co., the owner of the Power & Light District.
At the time, he lamented leaving behind what he described as the most “beautiful Irish pub in the Midwest.” It’s also a prominent location in the P&L District at the corner of 14th and Grand across from T-Mobile Arena.
In a press release, Cordish officials say they’re pleased to have Haverty return.
“KC Hooley House will add to the Kansas City Power & Light District experience,” John
Moncke, president of Power & Light District, said in a statement.
“Throughout the last several months I’ve gotten to know the amazing local team behind this concept, and I cannot wait to help their vision come to life next year.”
Ryan is being joined by Ryan Weekley, Jamie Bethke, and James Eddy, who collectively have more than 50 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
While the physical space will be similar to The Dubliner, Haverty said the team plans to add a few flourishes to the rich Irish woodwork interiors of its two bars, and upgrade the menu and cocktails.
The space at 170 E. 14th St. originally opened as Raglan Road and was among the first businesses in the P&L District. The Raglan Road operators imported the woodwork from Ireland for both the larger bar on the north side and the more intimate one to the south.
Haverty said the smaller bar, which has the cozy feel of a traditional Irish pub, will feature craft cocktails. Seating will be reservation only, except for members of the what will be called the Whiskey and Spirit Club.
The larger space and its dining room on the north side will feature an improved menu to go along with a new cocktail selection. It also will feature live music by local and regional acts.
In Ireland, a hooley is party featuring traditional music and dance.
“I plan to take the traditional Irish pub and apply some innovative concepts to the menu,” Haverty said. “We want to take traditional Irish cuisine but add some twists to make it more contemporary.”
Haverty is excited to return to the space he left last spring, and is looking forward to operating in a downtown environment that’s changed significantly since he first opened in 2012.
“What drew me initially to that location and the Power & Light District is its in the heart of the city and its such a beautiful space,” he said.
“Now, there’s been so much more progress downtown over the past 15 years. It’s become built up even more and has become more of a residential neighborhood with the high-rise apartment buildings and the new Loews (Convention Hotel).
“I want us to be in the middle of that opportunity area, serving not only locals, but tourists.”
In its release announcing the Hooley, the Power & Light District also said the Blue Sushi restaurant which will be located at 14th and Walnut is expected to open in the new year.
“Coming off an incredible few weeks of watch parties for the FIFA World Cup, the District is
experiencing incredible momentum heading into 2023,” according to the release.
“Both Blue Sushi Sake Grill and KC Hooley House will open to the public in the new year and the District will continue to ramp up as it prepares for March Madness and the NFL Draft in Kansas City.”
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I hope it will actually be Irish. Dubliners was not other than the imported bar. The music piped in was terrible and the menu was far from Irish. O’Dool’s was once pretty good but now has no character or Irishness at all. The last great Irish pub in KC was Brady’s which sadly closed. The new Brady and Fox has an Irish menu but no atmosphere. Browne’s is not really a pub but at least I am surrounded by “Irish” when I’m there.
I also lament the drastic change made at O’Dowd’s. What once felt like a genuine Irish pub now resembles a bland hotel bar.
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