Paris of the Plains

“If you want to see some sin, forget about Paris and go to Kansas City.” – Edward Morrow, Omaha World Herald, 1938

Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival (PoPFest) is an annual celebration of the art of the cocktail, food, and music all of which have flourished in Kansas City since the jazz era. PoPFest was founded by local bartenders Doug Frost, Ryan Maybee, and Brandon Cummins to promote the craft of bartending in Kansas City, and had its rots in a regional competition. Still a highlight of the event, the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition has evolved into an up-close-and-personal showcase of the country’s most creative bartenders. This year, the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition has joined forces with Beefeater Gin to crown one national bartender to represent the U.S. in the Beefeater MixLDN Bartender Competition 2015 global finals in London. The best bartenders in the country will go head-to-head in an inventive display of talent, knowledge and pure entertainment. PoPFest also encompasses four days of educational seminars by world experts; after-hour jazz parties for the late night set; a Crown Royal BBQ Showcase; and h s lively competition such as the Midwest Melee, a multi-city cocktail smackdown in which Kansas City will play host to the best bars in Denver, Lincoln/Omaha, Indianapolis and Milwaukee.

Paris of the Plains is a nickname Kansas City first earned during the Jazz Age, when the city partied to the sounds of Count Basie and vaudeville, and life flourished along the European-style boulevards. The cocktail culture has been a mainstay of KC ever since. In 2007, inspired by the talented professionals driving KC’s craft bar and food revival, local bartenders Doug Frost, Ryan Maybee, and Brandon Cummins launched the first Kansas City Bartending Competition – later renamed the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition. From the beginning, the public has been invited to view bartenders at work at their craft, competing in historic venues such as the 2,000 seat Uptown Theatre. In 2011, the bartending competition was expanded to encompass PoPFest, a multi-day celebration of KC’s cocktail, food, and music scene. The art of bartending remains center stage, but PoPFest also aims to entertain with a carnival atmosphere that has drawn a global audience to experience expert seminars, live music showcases and absolutely the best cocktails anywhere.

PoPFest 2015 is September 10-13.

Tickets and a complete calendar of events are available at

For more information email


*Thanks to PoPFest coordinators for providing the above information and to Emily Farris for the first image*


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