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Play Away: Kansas City, Here You Come

Providing a respite from the meat, Matsu serves fresh sushi in the trendy Westport area. Down the street is Harry's Bar and Tables, where convivial bartenders sling more than twenty scotches and tasty bar food in a more dignified setting than its wilder neighbors. Shiraz features an eclectic collection of Mediterranean dishes with a wine list that matches the cuisine's diversity. Out in the burbs is 40 Sardines, owned by KC's most renowned chefs, the James Beard Award-winning duo Debbie Gold and Michael Smith. Offering contemporary American cuisine with classic French touches, 40 Sardines can be a bit hectic for dinner; lunch—boasting a to-die-for short-rib sandwich—is a wiser choice and makes for a nice pit stop when playing courses south of town.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS
Though the jazz scene has lost a bit of its luster since the Roaring Twenties, national headliners and prominent local acts still fill area stages. The Grand Emporium is one of the best clubs for live music not only in KC but in the entire country. It recently changed hands, but the new owners promise to keep the emphasis on jazz and blues artists. The Blue Room, housed beside the American Jazz Museum in the historic Eighteenth and Vine district, is worth a drink or two. Due to the museum location, the atmosphere is a bit sterile (no smoking and Holiday Inn lounge-style lighting), so if you're looking for more grit, the dark but not dingy Phoenix Piano Bar & Grill downtown features quality entertainment six nights a week. Two Saturday-only events are worth checking out: Harling's Upstairs in Westport hosts a booze-soaked afternoon blues bash, and if you're still standing, the Mutual Musician's Foundation's jazz jam begins around 1 a.m. and goes until dawn. Just don't try to operate any heavy machinery afterward.

The artsy Crossroads area of town (centered around the intersection of Nineteenth Street and Southwest Boulevard) has seen a spate of recent gallery openings and is well-suited for killing a good hour or two wandering about. If you prefer art on a larger scale, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is young (having opened in 1994) but is quickly accumulating one of the nation's best permanent collections. And if it's a fall Sunday, there are few better places to be than in the parking lot eating BBQ at Arrowhead Stadium before a Kansas City Chiefs game, arguably the most festive and passionate football atmosphere to be found.

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