Newest Kansas City 'speakeasy' serves up Pendergast legacy

KMBZ News Staff
October 16, 2019 - 5:43 am

Tom's Town Distilling Co.


Kansas City, MO -  It's not your average speakeasy. The brand new Pendergast Lounge at Tom's Town Distilling Co. on Main Street downtown is an homage to Kansas City's legendary boss, Tom Pendergast.

Tom's Town co-founder David Epstein says what separates this from other speakeasies in town is its tributes to KC's history. 

"(Pendergast) created, and sparked, this cultural revolution in Kansas City," Epstein said. "Since there was not one alcohol-related arrest in Kansas City during prohibition, and that was unlike any other place in the country. And that's all because of Pendergast."

Hanging on the walls are portraits of some of the Kansas City area's most legendary residents, who gaze down upon customers enjoying plush leather upholstered couches, velvet-draped ottomans, a cozy fireplace and prohibition-era inspired cocktails.

One of those is of F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was stationed nearby at Ft. Leavenworth in 1917.

Fitzgerald wrote the classic novel the Great Gatsby, and Epstein says the 'Lost Generation' author may have had some inspiration from Pendergast and Kansas City during the Roaring 20s.   

The entire experience is very Gatsby-esque. If you get there early enough, or are willing to wait to get in, you can sip a cocktail inspired by, and in the shadow of, Pendergast himself. 

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