The Kelly's Story
In February 1947, Randal Kelly, a native of County Clare, Ireland, was hired as a bartender at 500 Westport Road, then called Westport Inn. Randal's witty sense of humor, unpretentious attitude and giving hand won him great popularity. It wasn't long before people were calling the place Kelly's.
Sons Randy, Pat and Kyle started their careers in '66, '69 and '71, respectively. In May of 1977, Randy moved to the Lake of the Ozarks and opened Kelly's Port, a full service marina. In June of 1977, the bar became officially known as Kelly’s Westport Inn. Randal passed away in 1988 leaving the operation to Pat and Kyle. In 2012 two of Kyle's children, Colleen and Mitch, became third-generation owners.
Kelly's Westport Inn is a must-see Kansas City destination. With a diverse crowd, live music, colorful history, weekday specials and always someone with a good story, Kelly's is an Irish pub like no other.
About the Building
The building that Kelly’s occupies is said to be the oldest in Kansas City. Built in 1850 by George and William Ewing, it’s housed a wide range of businesses, most notably a provisioning and outfitting operation of Albert Boone, a grandson of Daniel Boone. There, covered wagons stopped to stock up before the long trek out West along the Santa Fe, California and Oregon Trails. Sometime before 1890, an extension was built onto the back of the building.
Soon after Prohibition ended, the building was granted a liquor license and began its life as a saloon/bar known as “The Wrestlers Inn,” where it featured – you guessed it – live wrestling and a wild after-hours club. In honor of this rich and colorful past, the building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1959.
The Kelly family purchased the building from the Wiedenmanns in 1995. George Wiedenmann Sr.'s ashes can be seen in a Ten High bottle behind the front bar.