Saturday, February 4, 2012


823 Walnut Street

Location: 823 Walnut Street, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Opened: March 1, 2002

Closed: 2003

Push is one elusive lesbian bar. She shows up on some out-of-date websites listing (usually defunct) Kansas City gay watering holes, but not on others.

GLBTcentral does mention Push--along with a lot of other dead Kansas City lesbian bars like Tootsie's and Wetherbee's--but unfortunately all they tell us is that she's "Mostly Women; Lesbian Owned/Operated." Come on, people! We need details! Have some pity on the herstorians of tomorrow! Show us some love!

Gaytalk does a slightly better job. By navigating through their swarm of confusing symbols, we can decipher that Push is mostly women, that there is a dance floor, that it's a sports bar, that it has pool tables, that it has darts, and that its primary music is techno. Any questions?

But then the confusion starts. Gaygetter tells us that Push is a (mixed) "gay karaoke bar." Really?

So. Must dig deeper.

Oh! Here's an interesting factoid. The structure in which Push was located, the Waltower Building, was placed on the National Registry of Historical Places in 2001. Given that so many lesbian bars are stuck in raggedy @$$ ugly buildings, that is certainly noteworthy indeed.

A 2002 Kansas City Business Journal article on downtown Kansas City's reviving nightlife provides us with a few more useful details. We now know when Push opened for business--and the name of one of the co-owners:

"There'd been nothing to do Downtown for such a long time that people didn't consider coming down here at night," said Jill Schultze, co-owner of Push, which opened March 1 at 823 Walnut St. "But that's definitely changing."

But apparently the downtown scene wasn't changing fast enough to support a lesbian bar. (Though to be fair, a non-GLBT drinking establishment, the Stark Bar, had previously struggled and failed at that location.) Within a year or so, Push was out the door.

In a Kansas City forum, an interested citizen inquired as to her fate. This was in September 2003:

I noticed this week that the first floor-level space at 823 Walnut, formerly PUSH Bar, has been completely gutted. Does anyone know what's happening with that building? It's next to Scarritt Arcade and across the street from the old Fidelity/federal office building that is being converted into high-end apartments.

The correct answer, as it turns out, was that 823 Walnut was also being turned into housing. It is now Waltower Lofts.

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