Step into Ruins Pub and you are immediately transported to post-industrial age Budapest. With a wall of self-serve beer, and graffiti table art, this is a place unlike any other in KC.
1. Ruins Pub is based off of the ruins bars in Budapest, correct? What drew you towards that style of bar?
I freaked out and quit my job as a Industrial Engineer at Ford in Claycomo and decided to travel the world. The corporate life here freaked me out and I hated it so I just had to get away for awhile. While travelling I kind of just ate and drank my way across the globe. I started in England and ended up in Korea before coming back home. While doing that I hit lots of bars and restaurants all over the world. The ruin bars of Budapest really stuck out to me because of how it was put together. It had this dive bar feel but it wasn't just a bunch of crappy beer signs and license plates hanging on a wall. It was all this junk from all of the post-war and post-industrial age that was thrown together in such an artistic way that it just blew my mind. They showed a history of the country, which wasn't always prosperous, but had such a fun play on it that it really stood out as my favorite style of bar anywhere in the world. It was a great mix of local art and local culture highlighted over making everything fancy and nice which I thought was a great representation of how I felt after leaving the corporate life.
2. The "self-serve" style is so unique. How did you land on that concept? What made you decide to open in Kansas City?
I saw self pour beer while teaching English in Prague. I thought it was such a great idea that I started doing lots of research on it. I found out that no one in Kansas City was doing it and that I could be the first. So I put together a business plan and got to work. I grew up in Harrisonville, just South of KC, and have worked in KC for quite awhile so I've always considered it home. My family and friends are all from here so it was a natural fit for me to open up shop here. The Crossroads used to be a ghost town and now it's one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the country! I couldn't have picked a better place to be and am so happy to be a part of it.
3. What is your favorite beer you have on tap right now? And favorite beer you have ever had on tap?
Right now - Tallgrass's Explorer Series' Sweet Tooth is pretty awesome. It's a pretty heavy beer, but I've never had a strong Belgian that had the sweet notes that it has so it's a cool mix up that your not used to. Tallgrass's Explorer Series is always awesome and they just kind of switched things up recently. Their old series was awesome and the new line up seems to be just as good so I'm happy to see they are staying creative and still making cool and unique stuff.
All time - That's like asking a parent which of their children is their favorite! My favorite kinds of beers are drinkable. I enjoy the hardcore beer nerd beers but my favorites are always the boring pilsners. My favorite city in the world is Prague, where Pilsner Urquell reigns supreme. So probably my favorite beer, although it isn't nearly as good over here in the states, is a Pilsner Urquell fresh from a Czech Tankova.
4. What is the most unique beer you have on tap right now or have ever had on tap?
Perennial 17 chocolate mint stout. Usually we try to have a weird sour of some sort, which Prairie Artisan Ales TRVE Sour is on and it's unique, but I gotta say this stout is pretty unique. I don't like mint so I may not be a good judge but it's definitely different.
5. Speaking of favorites, what is your favorite thing about KC?
The diversity. I was actually thinking about this the other day when I was driving to work. Tech N9ne was on 98.9 the Rock talking about his upcoming tour. I think that is what's amazing about KC. A local, self made, urban rapper was on a talk show with a local rock DJ and both of them had so much respect and goodwill towards each other it was amazing. I don't think other cities have such different demographics that get together so well. AND they do amazing things!!! Kansas City has some amazing talent working in all kinds of fields that are bucking the norm and going out and blazing their own trails. I mean what rock stations will go out of their way to show love for someone of a completely different genre?
We've got an amazing business start-up and technology scene. We've got a great art scene. We've got a good music scene. And if you haven't noticed a lot of great breweries are popping up all the time! I mean, what's not to love about this city?