Walk into FUEL, and you’re surrounded by bike and car swag from the likes of Jesse James, OCC and Harley-Davidson, not to mention tool boxes, a few antique car parts, gas pumps and NASCAR & IRL hoods hanging from the ceiling. Bottom line; this is a sports bar with a twist. The theme here is All American Iron & Steel. Suddenly, I feel like grunting like Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor.
Although the doors just opened December 2, 2004, owner, Shawn McClenny, says it took ten plus years to get from the idea stage to reality. Some of you may remember Shawn back in the day as a DJ at local radio station, Q-104, before they went country. He hosted an alternative program called Planet Q. He then switched gears and moved to Chicago to become the General Manager of Walter Payton’s famous Roundhouse, where Shawn cut his teeth in the restaurant business.
Shawn is no newbie when it comes to motorcycles having ridden since he was 18, stopping only briefly to start a family before getting back on the iron horse. So, while checking out local watering holes in Chicago, he visited a biker bar called the Twisted Spoke. There, the beginning concepts for FUEL were spawned.
Six years ago, Shawn opened the popular Raoul’s Velvet Room, while still perfecting his idea for a motorcycle and automotive-themed sports bar. Raoul’s has been an Overland Park hotspot since it opened, and is located right next to FUEL. Now that’s what I call convenient! Between his experience in the restaurant and bar business, and being a biker, he sure has scored a hit with FUEL.
Expect the usual sports bar amenities, like a couple of pool tables and video games, and eleven 42” plasma screen TVs. There is so much cool stuff, you’ll just have to come in and check it out for yourself.
No jukebox here, as FUEL’s kick ass sound system is comprised of ten speakers strategically placed throughout the room, all connected to an Apple iMAC laptop computer. So instead of hundreds of CDs in a jukebox, where some fool plays the same song over and over again, they play computer formatted MP3s. Eventually, it all will be tied into the video system, playing DVDs, video clips, and showing in-house photos, all synced with the music. Very high-tech stuff.
And then there are the FUEL girls. FUEL has a rotating staff of around 40 hot bartenders and waitresses who will entertain your eyes, while taking care of all your food and drink needs. The FUEL girls recently did a photo shoot with various bike shops and builders around the area, including KC Creations, to produce the official FUEL calendar. Just ask one of the lovely ladies, and for only $10 you can get one (calendar that is) of your very own.
When I say the FUEL girls will entertain you, I mean just that. Beyond watching TV, listening to great tunes and grinding on the great food, the big attraction here is the huge bar with retractable shop lights where the girls perform choreographed dances. Yep, that’s right. They dance on top of the bar, and so can any female patron who feels the need to practice her moves. But as the signs states “do so at your own risk.” But, not to worry; there are always a couple of friendly FUEL dancers to help out.
The ever present and sexy, Aubrey and Tatiana are the house choreographers. Aubrey also serves as Mistress of Ceremonies, manager and bartender. Another resident bartender, Rene, is often featured singing karaoke to songs like G ‘n R’s “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” This is almost a floor show. Or should I say bar show? FUEL is very interactive, as the girls tell jokes and playfully pick on the patrons who are sometimes rewarded with FUEL and sponsors’ shirts and hats for being good sports.
The menu at FUEL? Well… let’s just say it’s awesome. Shawn and his chefs have come up with an outstanding menu guaranteed to please any biker, or really anybody’s hunger pangs, for that matter. Quality ingredients combined with generous portions means you’ll leave satisfied without straining your wallet, “cause you won’t find Johnson County over priced food here.” And with specials every day, I know this is soon to be one of your favorite stops when you’re out for a putt. I highly recommend the Diablo Burger or the Little Havana. And as if the selection wasn’t big enough, Shawn tells me there’s already a new expanded menu in the works. Aside from all the girls, this is one of FUEL’s best assets.
Thursday nights are bike nights and will run year-round. Local band, G-13, is currently playing on bike nights only. And as long as you come to FUEL on your ride, you’ll never pay a cover charge! Ride in, get in free! There is parking right in front for at least 25 bikes. On bike nights, a portion of the parking lot will be coned off for bikes only. Plus, a large patio seating area will be setup once the weather heats up. Good thing, since it’s already pretty hot inside, if you get my drift!
Killer food, hot babes and a friendly staff. There is always something going on at FUEL, so keep checking their online calendar of events so you don’t miss a thing. Shawn and crew just keep adding more each time I go in. Be sure to check out the photos below to get an idea of the great party place FUEL has already become. And don’t wait for the weather to get better for bike nights – drive or ride in for lunch, happy hour or dinner, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Story and photos by Wayne Thompson