The Red Balloon – Burton
The Red Balloon
10325 W. 75th St Shawnee Mission, KS
A special review by West Coast Correspondent and Karaoke PhD, Justin Burton
The first time I stepped into The Red Balloon, I didn’t know what to say. So I sang instead.
One of Kansas City’s only bars exclusively dedicated to karaoke seven days a week, The Red Balloon is exactly where you would expect it: Just west of Switzer on West 75th Street in Shawnee. If you hate bar fights, oversized quantities of light beer, and… karaoke, don’t even think about putting a foot inside this place.
I’m a 20-something yuppy. I don’t belong. But they accepted me, mainly because I finally conceded not to sing Neil Diamond.
Through the years, I’ve seen numerous bar fights (including the clever use of pool sticks as blunt hitting devices), people passed out in their cars in the parking lot (including one couple who had vomited beforehand; based on the findings, I’m not sure I’ll ever eat a Philly cheese steak sandwich ever again), and even the occasional “flash” of female body parts. But don’t bother bringing your camera; it’s not worth wasting your film, and the locals get violent when exposed to bright lights.
Like the old one-liner, I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member. But getting into The Red Balloon is worth paying the free admission. You might have to sing “Dream On” by Aerosmith instead of Andy Gibb’s “Shadow Dancing,” but for the sake of the rest of the bar, the evolution of music and the future of humanity, rest assured that you’ll be doing the right thing. Even if it doesn’t feel right.
So, that’s The Red Balloon. It’s not fancy, it’s not trendy, and damnit, it’s probably not even safe, according to FDA standards. But at least it’s honest, and if that’s not reason enough to take a look, then I’m sure ReVerse has a booth for you.
Justin D. Burton (West Coast Correspondent)Born and raised in Kansas City, MO, Justin Burton sold his soul to the Devil two years ago for a low-paying and not terribly interesting career in broadcast news. Previously, Justin served as the United States Ambassador to Mongolia, India and Detroit. A world traveler, he has partaken of liquor on three separate continents (including Detroit). Justin enjoys helping the homeless, teaching the illiterate to read, and aiding blind people, but because he drinks so heavily, he really doesn’t have time for any of that stuff. Justin currently resides in Bakersfield, CA with his liver, Hal.