I really like the Gaf, an Irish Pub at 7122 Wornall. I used to work in the bank building across the street, and this is where we'd often have our business meetings, or an after-work drink. In fact, it was this very location, where my business partner took me to tell me he was screwing me over and I was out of the company, probably for the same reason why people often break up in public, so that I wouldn't make a scene. But that's a story for another day...
The Gaf is exactly how I picture pubs in Ireland. Having never been to the Emerald Isle, I can only imagine, but as the place is run by actual Micks and Limeys, I have to assume it's fairly authentic. With dark wood paneling and matching bar furniture, the flat screen televisions are invariably tuned into soccer, rugby or some other game we Americans don't really follow. Couple this with an outstanding beer selection including Harp, Boddingtons and the requisite Guiness, plus a wide selection of Irish whiskeys and you've got a fine drink selection.
But don't think this place is all about the booze. The food is really good too. At one time or another, I've had just about everything on the menu, and most of it is excellent. For starters, I recommend you try their fried calamari. Served with a Guiness-mustard aioli, it's some of the best I've found in Kansas City, and I'm something of a calamari-fiend. Also, the Gaf Irish Chips, fries covered with cheese, bacon, tomato and sour cream are a meal in and of themselves. The Buffalo wings are okay, though the sauce is too buttery for my tastes, as I prefer a dominate vinegar flavor.
For main courses, their signature dish is Romanelli's catfish (a holdover from the previous occupant of this location), though I highly recommend the braised lamb shank, the chicken curry or the chicken fried steak. If you're in the mood for a sandwich, the Gaf Club, a pressed panini of turkey, ham and bacon with a pesto sauce is good, though the real star is the Irish Gut Bomb. They're not kidding about the name either. Made of a breaded pork tenderloin topped with fried eggs, onion rings, tomato, lettuce and barbeque sauce, this sandwich is huge, but also hugely delicious.
Really you can't go wrong with anything on the menu. And the staff is colorful and funny, with the most interesting character being the large Irishman who runs the joint. He'll let you know if you're being a drunken idiot or say something stupid, but in the fashion of his people, won't hold a grudge, and will likely buy you a pint on your next visit.
A couple years ago, the Gaf was rated as one of the top 10 restaurants in Kansas City. While I won't go that far, it is a fun place to eat or hang out, and the food is really quite good.