KCMO considers allowing more taverns in the River Market

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The public safety committee Wednesday unanimously approved an ordinance that would allow more taverns to open in the River Market, the area south of the Missouri River to 6th street, between the Buck O'Neil and Heart of America bridges.

City leaders say any new bar or nightclub still would have to be approved by neighbors around it.

Right now, any potential new business that makes most of it's money from serving alcohol can't get a liquor license in the River Market because of rules requiring a certain number of people living nearby.

That rule would be eliminated under this proposal, allowing developers to bring more nightclubs and bars to a growing part of Kansas City that's seeing a lot more visitors, thanks to the streetcar.

City council members are quick to point out that any new tavern planned for the River Market area still would have to be approved by at least 15 surrounding property owners.

"We are really seeing an increase in the number of restaurants and other amenities in the River Market," 4th District Councilwoman Jolie Justus said. "I think a lot of it is because of the amazing work that the streetcar is doing. So we are seeing, moving forward, a desire for more of those types of retail establishments and looking forward to seeing the growth."

Justus said the increased popularity of beer and tap rooms, distilleries and breweries all require these liquor licenses because they don't serve enough food to qualify as a restaurant.

City regulators say the liquor license application requires a lot of details, so neighbors will be able to distinguish between operations that may call themselves everything from a sports bar to a gentleman's club.

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