Carlos O'Kelly's Mexican Cafe

3425 S. Kansas Ave. , Topeka

A Topeka tradition featuring great margaritas in a festive, brightly-decorated atmosphere. The restaurant is clean, laid back and family-friendly. The bar features special drinks with some beers on tap.

Water's Edge Lounge, Capitol Plaza Hotel

1717 S.W. Topeka Blvd., Topeka

This bar is a great place to get away from the rest of Topeka and mingle with people from across the country. The bar is in an open canopy filled with a lot of natural light, plants, fountain and pond with water passing through. You sit down and forget you're in Topeka. Order food from Falling Water Grille. Public is welcome.

Riegel's 20's West

901 S.W. Fairlawn Road, Topeka

The strip-mall space got a facelift two years ago and is a great place to catch big games. Just about everything looks good on the two new 60-inch HDTVs. (There are four other TVs, too.) The 20's West replicates much of the original place but with food. Don't overlook the 10-ounce KC Strip with salad, baked potato and roll for only $10. (Updated 7.22.09)


5011 S.W. Topeka Blvd., Topeka

Opened in 2008, Victoria's is still building a reputation on the bar scene. It has lots of neon beer signs and plenty of mirrors (great for touching up lipstick). The full-service bar is run by a friendly staff willing to mix just about anything for you, and they keep the place clean.

Blind Tiger Brewery & Restaurant

417 SW 37th St, Topeka

The Blind Tiger brewmaster brews about 1,000 barrels of beer yearly and keeps eight different beers on tap. Growlers are available to be filled and refilled. Plus, the Blind Tiger has an extensive menu, with pastas, soups, salads, steaks, shrimp and appetizers. Look for patio seating in the summer.

Pigskin's Sports Bar

2833 SW 29th St, Topeka

Boss Hawg's added Pigskin's next door in 2003 as a separate bar but with same great food. It has a sports decor with wood furniture, lots of character, several beers on tap and smoking. It's a great place to watch a game -- and check out the half-price menu from 10 p.m. to midnight. "Beer, sports and barbecue go together real well," the late owner Hank Lumpkin once said.

Baby Dolls

5300 SW Topeka Blvd, Topeka

Baby Dolls is a gentleman's club featuring about 10 girls per night. During race times at nearby Heartland Park Topeka, the bar features up to 50 different girls. There is a big stage for the girls to dance, plus plenty of cushy seating for customers. The full-service kitchen serves steak, shrimp, hamburgers, chicken and salads. Drink specials every day. Lunch specials are every weekday.

Wild Horse Saloon

3249 S.W. Topeka Blvd., Topeka

Saddle up next to one of four bars -- two main bars and two satellite operations that dole out beer and shots. The slogan is "where Topeka parties at night," and the partying picks up as most good little cowboys and cowgirls are headed for bed. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and by 10 p.m. the dance floor is full. It’s especially busy on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.

The 20's

2910 S.W. Oakley, Topeka

Owner Hank Hulsing calls the place "probably the best 'Cheers' bar in Topeka." Even at 10 a.m. on a weekday morning, he can look at a bar already filling with regulars -- the same folks filling seats since it opened in 1973. And yes, there's a guy named Norm. Regulars don't even need to order. Bartenders just know what they want to sip while playing pitch.

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