The W 5

You’ll Need A Reservation for Downtown’s New Speakeasy


You will need an appointment if you choose to visit the office of O.C. Woods M.D. at 6 1/2 S.W. 3rd Street in historic downtown Lee’s Summit. Disguised as a doctor’s office, like some of the speakeasy type bars were during the prohibition era, The W specializes in vintage and rare liquors that are rarely seen at most “regular” bars, but this is no regular bar.

The W requires a reservation to get in and if you are lucky enough to snag one of their 36 seats, it is not Dr. Woods that will give you an elixir to cure what ails you, but head mixologist and craft bartender Mike Strohm, whose 19 years of bartending has given him the knowledge to fix just about anything. He uses fresh herbs, spices, fruits, bitters and unique liquors to make up the ever-changing cocktail list at The W.

Strohm is passionate about using locally sourced ingredients for the drinks. “Eventually, I plan on growing and producing all of the non-alcohol ingredients used at The W, including honey, eggs and sugar. My yard has peach trees, blueberry bushes and this year I will be planting apple trees. In addition, I have herbs, fruits and vegetables growing in raised beds, pots and anywhere else there is dirt,” says Strohm.

The Spifflicated Sheba is a good example of how Strohm uses his ingredients. It has farmers market strawberry syrup, Wood + Salt merlot-infused sea salt, homegrown basil, Old Tom gin, lemon juice, egg whites from locally sourced eggs and pink peppercorns. It is almost too pretty to drink with it’s gorgeous red hue and white-foamed top.

The cocktails at The W are truly handcrafted recipes and not just some vodka and cranberry thrown together. Strohm’s love of bartending history is part of the allure to this special place. He can tell you what part of the world and time period a drink came from, as well as how he has made it his own.

If the drinks at The W do not blow you away, the decor will. The W is owned by a Lee’s Summit couple. After considering locations in downtown Kansas City they settled on historic downtown Lee’s Summit and the entire project was designed and constructed by the two.

The W opened in June and is a labor of love. The couple spent the two years prior to the opening recreating the space by hand, starting with inside demolition. They rebuilt the space by putting in new walls, electrical, tile, paint, brick, plumbing and everything else that goes into making a functional space.

They hand-hammered the copper top bar, made the railings, spindles, wood trim and everything else in between. Much of what was pulled out during the demolition was repurposed and used again, including the hardwood floors that now serve as trim for the tables.

Unique decor items include a “push” door plaque acquired from the observation deck of the Empire State Building, door handles from the demolished RCA Victor building in Detroit and elephant bar rails from the late 1880s out of Chicago, and of course Dr. O.C. Woods nameplate out of his Macon, Georgia, office from the early 1900s.

The W is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Reservations can be made via text to 816.287.0000.