City’s Best: Van Zarr


Hundreds of our readers and many of his peers agree – Van Zarr is considered the best bartender in Kansas City. Where can you get one of his cocktail creations?

Van Zarr’s reputation for service and handcrafted cocktails formed as a key member of the team behind the bar at Bluestem, the Westport restaurant owned and operated by Chefs Megan and Colby Garrelts. Zarr’s cocktail menu influence carries over to sister restaurant Rye, located in Leawood’s Mission Farms.

He demonstrates fine-tuned knowledge of cocktails and craftsmanship in a city that’s earned a well-regarded reputation for our cocktail scene from practitioners like fellow nominees Ryan Maybee, Jenn Tosatto, Brock Schulte and Beau Williams.

“It is a great honor to be nominated for any award, but especially an honor to be selected by my peers,” says Zarr. “I really love what I do and I have always had fun showing people a good time. I honestly have my dream job. I get to be creative, meet new people and build relationships and every day is a new challenge.”

Whether ordering a classic Sazerac or the whimsically named bourbon affair dubbed State Fair, Zarr makes his guests feel like they are the award winners.

Above: Zarr crafting a white hat. Photo by Bonjwing Lee. Top: photo by Forrester Michael.