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Kanza Calling

by Heather Lee 9 months ago in bars

When times were good...

Kanza Calling
Photo by Alexander Popov on Unsplash

Friday: Go to work, get home by 9pm, get dolled up, get my butt to Kanza.

Saturday: Repeat.

Before mid March and before stay-at-home orders, lockdowns and quarantining was a thing, I could be found at only one place when the weekend came 'round: Kanza.

But what is Kanza? I'll tell you what Kanza is! Kanza is the greatest place on Earth; my haven after a hellish week; my happy place. :)

Okay, it's a bar. But it's a bar like you've never seen!

Most of you reading this probably have me labeled as a raging alcoholic or bar junkie, but that's so not me.

On the contrary, I hate the bar scene and night life. Before I found Kanza, my friends would drag me out to all these different bar districts in Kansas City- each bar slightly more sleazy than the last. It was awful.

I'd walk into all these bars and immediately feel like a piece of prized prime beef- fresh to the market and instantly scanned for any and all imperfections. You'd swear I had on A1 steak sauce as my evening spritz with how obvious and vulturous the male population would behave.

All my girls out there- you know this feeling.

At Kanza though, this feeling doesn't exist. If a guy is into you, it's more flattering than it is scavenging because that's just the way the atmosphere is.

When you walk in to Kanza, there's not a crowd of frat boys hoarded by the entrance, eager to get a look at the new hottest babe or the hot one-night-stand guy in the corner pining his plan of attack. Hell no.

At Kanza, you walk through the door free of any bodies blocking your way because they're all a fair distance to your right- lined up at the mile long bar buying drinks that don't cost an arm and a leg.

Now I'm not saying that Kanza is immune to all of the typical bar occurrences... for example, you might still get hit on while buying a drink- but I can guarantee you that it'll be a classy pickup, not sleazy.

Once inside the bar, my eyes speedily go to the dance floor- a square, shellacked, hardwood dance floor that swallows up most of the bar. I'm captivated not only by it's presence, but by what I witness happening on the dance floor.

The dance floor at Kanza- taken by yours truly.

What I see is not the typical group of girls dancing in a circle whilst holding up their drinks (drinks aren't allowed on the dance floor at Kanza) or guys grinding up on available drunk girls. What I see- it makes my heart skip a beat:

I see older couples in their forties two stepping to Cody Johnson...

I see a couple in their eighties two stepping better than couples in their twenties! He's a very round fella in faded blue overalls and she's just as plump, but half his size in a red and white homemaker's dress. I bet it's their anniversary. They dance around that floor so light on their feet, as if they're the only ones in the entire bar- scratch that- entire world. Their eyes never leave one another. Everyone else's eyes- spectators and fellow dancers alike- never leave them either. They're captivating.

One of the many reasons why Kanza is so amazing: People coexist! There is no age discrimination. There is no judgment on your dancing abilities.

A 60 year old woman looking as hot as ever in a tube top and skinny jeans can twerk alongside twenty-five year olds (and do it ten times better!) and she receives nothing short of the highest praise for it!

While at Kanza, I enjoy spectating just as much as I enjoy dancing.

At any other bar, I'd have to get sloshed just to move my hips for fear of being judged by my peers if I didn't dance as good as the hot blonde next to me. God forbid if my friends are in the bathroom, even if just for a few minutes, it would leave me feeling like such a loser having to stand on the dance floor by myself. People looking at me as if I'm some leper.. It's not a nice feeling.

But at Kanza, while in between line dances and my friends smoking on the patio, I'll chill happily by the dance floor enjoying the sight of all my fellow two steppers. I don't feel alone or like a loser. In fact, I make friends or often get invited to dance by a kind stranger:

He spins me around a couple times on the dance floor, shakes my hand or gives me a hug when the dance is over and then we simply go our separate ways. Maybe we'll meet once more for a loop around the dance floor, maybe we won't. Either / or is A OK!

Like there is no obligation at Kanza- none! If you get asked to dance, it's just a dance. It's not code for let me grab your ass or grind up on you. It's not a prequel to something more thrilling like "can I get your number" or "wanna come back to my place."

It's carefree and fun loving. It's almost magical because you can't find that kind of nonchalance in the world of going out today.

I know I've talked up Kanza enough already, but I need to talk about one more thing that really gets my blood pumping and then I promise I'll be done.

THE DANCING. Oh the dancing... I've included a short playlist just to give you an idea of what dancing is for me. And it's not the kind of music that you just up and freestyle to. I'm talking two stepping and line dancing.

Copperhead Road. I have no idea why, but every time I'm at the bar buying a shot, this song plays overhead. The minute I hear those bag pipes, though, I charge for the dance floor...

When you hear boots stompin, that's when you stomp right along, too.

The entire floor fills up because this is a dance that everyone knows. I always claim my spot at the corner of the floor and with no one to the side of me because I put my own spin on this song. It's hard to explain, but believe me, I need the space.

Sometimes I even have to act as a football player- holding my arm out blocking those around me so that 1) they don't interfere with my dance and 2) for their protection because I really don't want to kick anyone. When I get going, there's simply no stopping me.

My sister and I while at Kanza.

When I'm at Kanza, I get to enjoy freedom, carelessness and good spirit. It's the most amazing stress reliever I have ever found. I get to line dance with my sister- an activity we did with our family when we were just little girls; It takes me back to my roots. It's also refreshing to enjoy myself without being depicted as a piece of meat.

When this nightmare of COVID-19 is over, Kanza is where you'll find me. There's talk that a lot of bars will be closed down due to economic duress courtesy of this pandemic...

If Kanza is one of those casualties then I will surely be heartbroken. But if it is still standing, you can bet your bottom dollar that that's where I'll be.

Til next time. ;)

Heather Lee
Heather Lee
Read next: Whiskey: A Guide and History
Heather Lee

The name is Heather, but I answer to anything ~ adventurous spirit ~ <3 the outdoors (just never ask me to kill a spider) ~ trying to find myself while trying to find love ~ animal lover ~ hopeless romantic ~ broke af twenty six year old

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