Known for its Jazz, Barbecue, and Baseball, 18th, and Vine is rich in culture. It gets internationally recognized as one of the cradles of jazz music and a historic hub of African-American businesses. The Jazz District experiences constant growth, and each time you visit, you will find something new. As a result of the way Kansas City cherishes the history of 18th & Vine and the JDRC’s work, the city has prioritized the revitalization of the Jazz District. 18th & Vine has since had preservations of historical sites such as the Attucks School, Boone Theater/Amory, and the Eblon Theater buildings, and further offers a unique cultural experience provided through its eateries, attractions, and living spaces.
18th and Vine Restaurants
From the restaurant which served Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama, the “King of Ribs” to “the spiritual cousin of New Orleans” Cajun cuisines, 18th, and Vine serves a variety of foods all in “delicious, unique ways.” There is no better way to experience the culture 18th & fully; Vine offers than to enjoy the embodied tastes after visiting the museums or touring the area. Comfort food? 18th and Vine. Food and entertainment? 18th and Vine. Brunch? Wings? Good drinks? 18th and Vine. Also, check out our list on the best Taco Tuesday in Kansas City.
#1 – Arthur Bryant’s
1727 Brooklyn Ave, Kansas City, MO 64127 – Website
Known as “the legendary King of Ribs,” the taste of creator Arthur Bryant’s legendary barbeque lives on within 18th and Vine at none other than “Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque.” Raved by a New Yorker columnist as “the best restaurant in the world,” Arthur Bryant’s offers meats slow-smoked over hickory and oak woods with original or the secret “Rich & Spicy” sauce. Arthur Bryant’s “Rich & Spicy” sauce is a secret recipe created by Arthur Bryant himself, which lives on – much like the original window – in the restaurant today.
#2 – Gates
1325 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64110| Website
Started in 1946, Gate’s Bar-B-Q quickly grew and now has six chains within the Kansas City area. Gate’s gets praise for great food, not just its the barbeque, but the bread and beans too. If you are looking for excellent service as well, do not let the shouting welcome sway your opinion. Gate’s offers outstanding customer service, and employees have even get spotted, offering their umbrellas to guests commuting in the rain. And if you fall in love with Gate’s sauce, then you can pick some up on your way out.
If you are in the mood for Cajun food, Bayou on the Vine is for you. The food is “incredible” to even the pickiest of eaters. The menu items are limited to keep the quality of the meals. Bayou on the Vine also has “strong as heck” drinks for “only like seven bucks.” The environment of Bayou on the Vine is also perfect for first meetings, as the atmosphere is light and casual. On certain Fridays and Saturdays, a live band performs.
18th and Vine Things to do
If you are looking to learn, 18th & Vine has two museums to visit: The American Jazz Museum and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The Jazz District is a place of evolution for Jazz. Legend says the “sound [of Jazz] e around the clock from the dance halls and nightclubs near 18th & vine”. The sound continues to live in the area. If you are looking for an outdoor festival, 18th & Vine holds a “Rhythm and Ribs” festival embracing the history of Jazz and Barbecue, which was also the first festival nationwide to promote recycling. If you are looking to eat, you will find a barbecue, but not just barbecue, brunch, Cajun, and comfort food too. 18th & Vine is a social atmosphere that is bound to keep you entertained throughout your entire visit.
There are two museums within the Jazz District: the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The first, the American Jazz Museum, called an “interactive paradise” by the New York Times. Also, The Museum is a staple within the Jazz District. The American Jazz Museum has a variety of ways to entertain and educate its patrons, ranging from educational programs, the Blue Room, a jazz club, to even a 500-seat performing arts theater called the Gem Theater. The Museum offers visitors an immersive experience where the guests may “experiment with harmony, melody, and rhythm,” exposing the visitors firsthand to “where [jazz] lives.”
The second of the two, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, uncover the storied past by recreating it within its exhibits. Something unique and wonderful about the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) is that it is the world’s only Museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of not only “African-American baseball” but also “its impact on the social advancement of America. Furthermore, The Museum has educated over 2 million visitors from around the world using its exhibits of “a once forgotten chapter of baseball and American history.”
#2 – Blue Room
1600 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108|
Housed within the American Jazz Museum, the Blue Room incorporates the past and the present within its multifaceted exhibit. The Blue Room carries historical significance in its name. Adopted from the 1930s Street Hotel club, and highlights the musicians who created “Kansas City Jazz” within its exhibit. Lastly, the Blue Room creates history by offering “Blue Monday Jam[s]” where performers can have a jam session, but also provides a platform for “local and national talent” to perform within “an intimate setting.”
Open mic night, two-stepping classes, comedy shows, live Jazz. Then, If any of this sounds appealing to you, the KC Juke House Blues & Jazz Bar/Restaurant is where you will want to be when you visit 18th & Vine. Not only does this establishment offer a variety of entertainment, but it also offers food to replenish you when you have worked up a sweat on the dance floor. Furthermore, you will feel at home at KC Juke House Blues & Jazz from its “warm atmosphere,” giving its patrons a “vintage historical” experience that will “get you out of your seat.”
18th and Vine History
18th and Vine celebrate black history and culture in a way that few other places can. Developed in the segregation era when individuals sought residence in Kansas City to find “better jobs and a new way of life” and rose to fame in the 1920s-40s, earning its name the Jazz District. People traveled to 18th & Vine Kansas City to attend Jazz performances by the greats, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong, and many others and to enjoy the lax enforcement of the prohibition.
The Jazz District become a city within a city and has remained the African-American cultural district in Kansas City. When forced segregation weakened in the 50s and 60s, 18th and Vine began to lose its prominence. After, residents expanded their business transactions across KC. In 1989 a “rebirth” of 18th & Vine was enacted, and in 1997 Mayor Cleaver appointed the Jazz District Redevelopment Corporation (“JDRC”) to begin the revitalization of 18th & Vine we see there today. Also, Check out our list on the best Sushi in Kansas City.