Total rewrite. Quality has declined after sale of establishement and beer selection is no where what it was. Why screw with a great business model? (FIRST EVAL: It’s a dive. But it’s a great dive. If you like rustic, gnarly, beat-up, split-wood floors and pressed tin ceilings with grotty paint, cheap naugahyde (i.e. 1950’s decor) with sassy serving wenches, paper plates, rude fliers tacked up everywhere, blue- collar-cow-town hicks and suits under one roof with a good beer selection, you’ll like Grinder’s. Grinder’s West (never been there myself) is next door and serves the same food with a little better clientele (i.e. the snooty and pretentious). The value rating on this so far is off in my opinion. The portions are large, the prices reasonable, the food is good--less than 80% is not accurate in my opinion.)
Very interesting place. The food is pretty good and the beer selection is very nice. They always have a good amount of beer on tap and many bottles.
CH47 (14) Kansas | October 11, 2009| Updated October 28, 2009
Located in the Crossroads District of Downtown KCMO, Grinders has niched themselves into the Beer, Art, Food & Music community. The ambiance is of an excellent dive with plenty of art from regulars and locals. The craft beer selection is quite possibly the best in the KC metro area. Grinders menu contains a wonderful selection of pub grub which includes Proper Phillys’s and Hot wings and NY style pizza which is out of this world. The waitstaff is quite knowledgeable their disposition adds to the feel of the dive ambiance that I look forward to. Music selection is usually "whoever’s" iPod. There is a small venue located out back that pulls in some decent shows. Grinders has expanded onto a different front, rather west with Grinder’s West which is a completely different cuisine but also delicious.
I liked the looks of this place, very hole in the wall like! You could just smell the grease, and the night we went they had Cake playing out back so the music was good too. The young lady who served me a beer impressed me as she seemed to care quite a bit about my order despite the fact that the whole bar was packed, I was pretty impressed. The beer selection was nice, a few interesting things on tap... of course plenty of Boulevard. I got a Southampton Altbier and the wife had a Bells Cherry stout. Pretty nice place.
Food is excellent, if you like NY style pizza, calzones or philly’s. If you don’t, I would receommend against the food. Ambiance eclectic dive bar.
The beer selection varies based on owner’s mood. Not extensive, but always some good stuff both on tap and in bottles. Prices can be a tad high, tho, especially in comparison to Flying Saucer.
Service ranges from great to appalling depending on who is working that day. And none of them know how to pour a beer correctly.
Gregis (24) Stilwell, Kansas | November 11, 2007| Updated September 1, 2008
As far as tap selection goes, they had 10 premium or harder to find brews on when I visited. Based on what has been said in previous posts, these must rotate fairly regularly. 8 others were taken by Boulevard brews and other standard fare (e.g.: Guinness). The wait staff was very attentive and actually knew a little about the beer that they had on tap. Against my better judgment but at the coaxing of our waitress, I ordered my Philly cheesesteak (their signature menu item) with the traditional cheese whiz versus provolone. Surprisingly, it was pretty damn good, as were the fried mushrooms that I shared with my buddy. This would be a place that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend if it weren’t for one thing: smoke. I was fortunate enough to have completed rating my beer before a party of chain-smokers was seated next to us. But I was compelled to scarf down the last third of my sandwich in order to beat a hasty retreat from the cloud of pollution that had enveloped us. Long and narrow, if it’s crowded, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid cigarette smoke in this place. My recommendation: if you want to enjoy your beer and food smoke-free, come by in the middle of the afternoon, when it’s less crowded, or sit out back when the weather permits sitting outside.
Update: No Smoking Ordinance is now in effect: gotta bump this place up a couple points overall. I’ve been back and the pizza is pretty tasty as well.
RE-RATE (11/08) the last two times I have visited, they have really toned down the music. Additionally, both the food and service have been great. Certainly near the top of KC beer places. Upped rating to 78.
ORIGINAL RATING (03/07) I had read about this place in local media, and on Beer Fly, and had fairly high expectations going in. Kansas City is a bit short on beer bars, and I thought Grinder’s could be one. The beer list was nice, certainly better than most places you go, though nothing way out there. I would call this a bar with a nice beer list, rather than a true beer bar. Service was OK, took quite awhile for me to be served at the bar for lunch, and there were 4 servers on, and maybe 8 customers in the place. I actually had to ask for help. The music was up way too loud, and not to sound like an old timer, but I hate having to shout my order across the bar when the place is 95% empty. The food had been reviewed elsewhere as extraordinary, and I found it only a bit above average. I had the Philly cheesesteak and it was tasty but not exceptional. 72
76 = ★★★ (Worth the visit, must for locals, and visitors with time)
I only use the total score, not the component parts.
First visit here. Different space - nice mix of bar seating, booths, tables and a big cargo door open at back which leads to some tables outside. With both doors open on this nice Spring day, a good cross breeze kept the air inside fresh and lovely. Seemed to be populated by a lot of regulars, but they weren’t a chatty sort. I was left to actually work ::shudder:: while I ate and drank.
Solid selection. Expected good selection of Boulevard, some Schlafly, a good dose of Arcadia including a couple of the big beers, and a smattering of interesting bottles. I helped myself to multiple pints of Bully! Porter (which we rarely see on draft in St. Louis) and a Houbulon Chouffe. All were in fine condition.
I was disappointed though that there were no quality lagers on the list, and very few hoppy beers at all, and puzzled by the complete lack of Bell’s, New Belgium, and Odell’s. One other nit is that the beer list was hopelessly out of date (and had McEwan’s Scotch Ale listed under "Ireland"!).
Food was okay, with the house salad being above average, and the pizza a bit below. Shoulda had a cheesesteak, which looked really good. Mental note made.
Service was truly excellent. I sat at the bar, and the tender was able to keep my beer filled without my asking, but not hovering.