It serves beer and cocktails, but new Kansas City lounge is more about socializing

Third Place Lounge, which opened recently at 1744 Broadway, serves beer and cocktails. But that’s not obvious when you walk into the space.

There are no beer taps or liquor bottles lined up behind the long, white bar, and the seating — midcentury chairs, comfy couches, and three wooden swings that hang from a rope attached to the ceiling — suggests a living room more than a corner tavern.

That’s the idea, said owner Amanda Blancarte.

“Everybody wants to socialize, but not everybody wants to drink,” she said. “Alcohol is alienating for some people. More and more, people’s friend groups are mixed between sober people, sober-curious people, people who maybe just drink beer or prefer low-alcohol cocktails. So then it’s like, How do you combine all that in a way that’s inclusive, that’s not necessarily centered around drinking?”

Third Place Lounge — a reference to the term for a hangout that is neither work nor home — is Blancarte’s answer.

“I think as a society we don’t promote breaks and rest enough,” she said. “I want to give people a socioeconomically affordable space where you can lose some of the titles in your life — mom, husband, employer, employee — and just come be yourself.”

The interior design of Third Place Lounge is more reminiscent of a living room than the corner tavern it once was.
The interior design of Third Place Lounge is more reminiscent of a living room than the corner tavern it once was.

Blancarte, who grew up on the West Side not far from Third Place Lounge, comes from a service-industry background. Her family owned Las Chiquitas, a Mexican restaurant where Los Tules currently operates. She later worked at Crossroads bars Grinders, Nara and the Cashew, before moving to Atlanta in 2016.

She returned to Kansas City in 2021 after being furloughed from her job during the pandemic. The following year, Blancarte signed the lease on 1744 Broadway, which had previously been the music venue Coda and, before that, Jilly’s.

She spent the next 18 months remodeling the space: laying down new quarry tile, preserving the brick archways and brightening the walls with white paint and large mirrors. She sourced most of the furniture secondhand, through Facebook Marketplace and consignment stores. A friend made pillows for her barstools; the plants she bought at West Bottoms Plant Co.

“I’m going for comfortable and cozy but with a little modern feel,” Blancarte said. “I wanted to set the tone that it’s not a bar — it’s a lounge that has a bar in it.”

About that bar: There are zero-ABV as well as traditional cocktails — options include the Pimmlet (Pimm’s Cup, Triple Sec, ginger tea, lemon) and the Manhattan, KS (bourbon, amaretto, sweet vermouth, tea bitters) — and about 10 beers in bottles and cans, with more on the way.

No food, but Blancarte said she plans to partner with local pop-ups. “We can offer a space to a small business to grow and try out their brand here,” she said.

Hours for now are 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. But Blancarte said the goal is to eventually be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week, and till midnight on the weekends. Dona Fina Cafe, a Kansas City coffee roaster, plans to soon sell coffee out of the space, and Blancarte has already planned joint events with organizations like Scraps KC, which is putting on a Valentine’s Day card-making party next month.

Blancarte, who lives upstairs and has a lease-to-own deal with the current owner of the property, said she also intends to expand into the parking lot next door to create a greens pace with tetherball poles, four square and an outdoor pool table and darts stalls. A “community backyard,” she called it.

“My neighbor Linda is 74 years old, and she’s lived here since she was 26,” Blancarte said. “I want her to be able to enjoy this place the same way as the 20-year-olds who moved in down the block.”