Kansas City’s Strawberry Hill neighborhood is flush with dive bar options, Johnnie’s on Seventh perhaps the king of a considerable collection of local institutions. Opened in 1934 and named after founder Johnnie Baska, the Kansas City dive bar sits in a standalone red brick building, creating a bit of an optical illusion with the pitched roof inside above the first floor of what is a two-story building. The sloping roof area provides a backdrop for decorations that have rotated over the years but often depict large photos of famous men named John or Johnnie over the years.
The space is shotgun-style, a two-room dive bar with a prominent black and white checkerboard tile floor in the bar’s main area. Permanent stools line the bar here, both the seating and the bar itself looking like they may just be 1934 originals. During the holidays, the usual dive bar string light game is upped, creating a dense array of multi-colored lights that provide that classic dive bar glow. The Kansas City dive bar’s secondary space includes a bit of prominent taxidermy as well as a selection of vintage photos that show the space throughout the years. The bar was sold in 2010, thankfully to someone with a connection to original owner Johnnie Baska, a good sign for the long-term preservation of the dive bar.