Liberty’s Oldest Continuously Run Tavern

The Corner Bar is conveniently located at 200 East Kansas, at the corner of Kansas and Missouri streets, just one block east of Historic Liberty Square. We are proud to be Liberty’s oldest bar, going back to at least 1946! Owners and names have changed over the years, but thankfully The Corner Bar has remained largely unchanged.

Image courtesy of Clay County Archives.

The land that The Corner Bar sits on was once part of the very first lumber yard in Liberty. The Peter B. Burns Lumber Company started in the late 1800s and remained here until very early 1900s. It was sold at that time and soon thereafter moved one block south to Missouri and Mill streets.

Kansas Street looking east from Mill, early 1900s. The future location of the Corner Bar is just past the second carriage. Image courtesy of Clay County Archives.

In the early part of the 1900s, our building, known then as the Shafer Building, was erected. It was the first permanent structure in this location. No exterior changes have been made to the building other than changes to the windows. The front plate glass window was closed in many decades ago, and windows surrounding the door were also covered or replaced along the way. The entrance has always been at a 45-degree cant with a pole at its center. The retail space to our immediate north (currently Sorella’s) was always its own separate space.

Our building in the 1920s. Image courtesy of Clay County Archives.

Not much is known about the building during prohibition (1920-1933). We like to think that the townspeople utilized this location as a known-only-to-locals speakeasy, but that’s purely wishful conjecture.

In 1933, Minter & Claire Grocers occupied this space. At that time, a gas & service station sat opposite us on Kansas Street. Downtown Liberty had everything its townspeople could need, including a theater, cafè, a doctor’s office, autos, a butcher, furniture and more. Homes sat on Leonard where the parking lot for the county buildings are now, and people walked into “town” from every direction for all their needs.

Looking west up Kansas Street from Leonard, the Corner Bar building is shown directly under the top of the old courthouse ca. 1934. Image courtesy of Clay County Archives.

In 1946, Jess & Ruby’s Tavern settled in and remained until 1954. In 1955 & 1956 Pickett’s Place was listed in local directories at this location. Harold’s operated here in 1957-1958, and Harold & Wayne’s operated for ten years between 1959 and 1969. In 1970, The Corner was born and remained until 1986. In 1987, Corner Bar came to be and it stuck.

The Corner Bar building is the only one on this block that is the original permanent structure. When 200 East Kansas was built, it was surrounded by buildings to the east, to the south and to the west, and none of them remain today. But this bar does. We can thank a thirsty Liberty for that.

Stop in for a cold one

Drink among the locals and Downtown Liberty’s professionals any night of the week except Sunday (we’re closed). We have weekly specials that plenty of folks come in for each week, like Monday’s Pulled Pork Sandwich Night, Wednesday’s Taco Night, weekly Saturday lunch specials and breakfast served every other Saturday. Check our calendar for details.

Hope to see you soon.

200 East Kansas Street, Liberty, MO 64068

(816) 781-5298