Best Place to Dance: Eighth Street Taproom
Over the last few years the Eighth Street Taproom, 801 N.H., has become one of the best dance spots in Lawrence, due in no small part to the bar’s affinity for booking unique local acts. In a single week, a postpunk DJ, snuff jazz, funk and soul records, and good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll can all be consumed in the Taproom’s basement. If you need a breather, head upstairs for a game of pool or grab a drink at one of its two bars.
Variety is indeed the spice of life and in this case, it helped the Taproom stand apart. Lawrence likes to party, this much we knew going into this contest.
Billed as the home of the ginger smash, the Taproom also boasts a reputable selection of mixed drinks and has both cheap and high-end beers on hand.
Be sure to stake out a spot as the dance floor can get packed early.
Address: 801 N.H.
Phone number: 841-6918
Hours: 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day
Owner/Proprietor: Jeremy Sidener
Honorable mentions: Looks like we’re at capacity.
Jazzhaus, 926 1/2 Mass.
The Cave, 1200 Oread Ave.
Abe & Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St.
Best Live Music Venue: Liberty Hall
The live music scene in Lawrence is an active one with a wide array of options for places to catch a show. You chose the historic Liberty Hall as your favorite place for live music in Lawrence.
With a history dating back to the 19th century, Liberty Hall has seen about every genre of music take its stage. Local, national and global acts have made a point to visit Liberty. The stage is spacious and the seating areas provides the perfect opportunity to take in the unique atmosphere. And when no live acts are performing, the place doubles as a movie theater.
The venue managers are quick to point out that promoters played a big part in the venue’s success. In the last year alone, Liberty Hall has seen performances from Ray Davies, Jonsi, moe., Quixotic, LunaFest, Sara Bareilles and Joshua Radin, to name a few.
Address: 644 Mass.
Phone number: 749-1972
Owner/Proprietors: Dave and Susan Millstein
Opened: 1986 in its present capacity
Honorable mentions: These go to 11.
Bottleneck, 737 N.H.
Jazzhaus, 926 1/2 Mass.
Granada, 1020 Mass.
Best Place to Watch a Game: Johnny’s Tavern
Big TVs, a great list of drinks and famously good burgers make Johnny’s Tavern the place to watch a big Kansas University basketball game in Lawrence.
Johnny’s Tavern opened in 1953 in North Lawrence and has since expanded into the Kansas City market and out west to its second Lawrence location, on Wakarusa. In 1978, friends and Johnny’s lovers Rick Renfro and Doug Hassig bought the business and added a grill, meaning Johnny’s famous burgers were born.
Each of the six locations is a bit different, but what is definitely consistent is that the crowds flock to the sports bar anytime the Jayhawks are playing. A visitor can easily tell from the rise and fall of the patrons voices just how the game is going — a peek at the score is unneeded.
These days, bar-goers have more than burgers to enjoy, with Johnny’s adding an expanded menu along with its newer locations. Vistors can cheer on the Jayhawks while dining on fare such as salads, wraps and pizza.
Addresses: 401 N. Second St., 721 Wakarusa drive
Phone numbers: 842-0377, 843-0704
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Owners/Proprietors: Rick Renfro, Doug Hassig and others
Opened: 1953, 2009
Honorable mentions: Game on.
Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar, 1012 Mass.
23rd Street Brewery, 3512 Clinton Parkway
Set ’em Up Jacks, 1800 E. 23rd St.