Ryan Gale has built a colorful corner for food and drink businesses on Kansas City’s Westside, first as a landlord allowing others to lease space in a building he owns at 1000 West 25th Street in Kansas City and now as a restaurateur and bar owner himself.
In recent years, Gale has opened two unique bar concepts: Panthers Place opened in the summer of 2019, and Outpost Social Club opened this summer with a tasty menu from chef Dalton Alday and general manager Logan Smith. With no website or phone number, most people have found their way to the concepts via Instagram, which has created an air of mystery around both bars.
The two sister concepts could not be more different, but they are housed in different parts of the same building. Panthers Place is an outdoor bar that looks like a cross between a lush treehouse and a beachy California campsite, complete with a secret garden with café lights strung overhead and green plants dangling down from them. Open to the elements, the bar is casual and cool, and the drinks – ice-cold bottles of beer and canned cocktails, along with sturdy well drinks and a refreshing cocktail list – reflect a backyard party sensibility.
“I built the kind of bar that I would want to go to, something casual and a little out of the way, like a cool hidden neighborhood spot,” Gale says. “When we first started, we wanted to take it slow, so we’d put a note out on Instagram to tell people when we would be open. It wasn’t meant to be a secret, we just wanted to give ourselves time to get our feet under us.”
As the founder of C and G Construction, Gale has always kept a business office in the corner of this building, and he originally rehabbed it with the intention of leasing it. Several food concepts called it home over the years, but after weathering 2020, Gale realized that he needed to have a restaurant to serve some sort of food in order to keep customers happy at Panthers Place. He put the space, formerly home to Poi-O, back up for lease.
“I had a lot of interest in the space, but when I explained that I wanted someone in the space willing to stay open until at least midnight to sell food to my guests at Panthers Place, most were not interested in being open so late on the weekends, especially after the pandemic,” Gale says. "I realized if I wanted that, I was going to have open my own concept there, and we got busy and opened Outpost Social Club this summer.”
Outpost Social Club is smaller in size, and it looks and feels quite different than Panthers Place. It is a relaxed and welcoming indoor space with clean white walls, subway tile behind the bar and dark metal accents contrasting with golden-brown wood. There are both seats at the bar and a chair rail with stools lining the window for people to eat and drink. A second room has a long family-style table with a large garage door that opens to the outside.
The food menu Alday serves is a mixture of lighter dishes – think grain and green seasonal salads, zucchini chips and dip and skewers stacked with cauliflower tossed in a sweet and spicy “bang bang” sauce – and more substantial options such as coconut curry chicken, Filipino barbecue pork and beef bulgogi skewers. The kitchen also features four different kinds of pizza that are good for feeding a crowd, but the thing that continues to get rave reviews is the smash burger and fries. Featuring two smash patties topped with American cheese, minced onion, housemade garlic-ginger pickles, it’s slathered with “lucky sauce.”
The kitchen also continues to post specials on Instagram, including its recent Japanese-inspired katsu sando made with a center cut pork chop breaded and fried with panko and topped with tonkatsu sauce, shredded cabbage and Kewpie mayo on a soft sesame seed bun. Plus, the team is collaborating with others, as they recently added chef Craig Howard’s soft Bavarian pretzels to their happy hour menu.
Both Panthers Place and Outpost Social Club are managed together, with someone assigned to check IDs in the parking lot and ropes to guide guests up into the Outpost Social Club first for a peek, a drink or to order something to eat. They then can either stay or take their provisions over to Panthers Place.
“We share the same liquor license between the two spaces so people can move freely between Panthers Place and Outpost Social Club with a drink in their hand,” Smith says. “There is a bar over at Panthers Place, too, but if it is too crowded, we encourage people to come over to Outpost and order a drink here.”
Weekends have been steadily picking up for both concepts since Outpost Social Club opened this summer, and they expect to see record numbers this fall.
Panthers Place is open Thursday through Saturday from 6pm to 1.30am, and Outpost Social Club is open Thursday through Saturday from 6pm to midnight.