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Rising Stars: Meet Scott Mars

Today we’d like to introduce you to Scott Mars.

Hi Scott, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial drive that has propelled me through life. Early on, I found that I was energized by my local social scenes. When I was coming up as a bartender, I met one of my now-business partners. I’ve been fortunate enough to have close friends who are also incredible partners and creative collaborators.

From the beginning, we wanted to create places that brought people together. We started that mission with our flagship concept, Westport Ale House. Ale House corners the market when it comes to upscale sports lounges in the Kansas City metro, but we wanted to branch out to more unique and unusual concepts.

Of course, not every idea is going to succeed or stand the test of time: Parkway, for example. That was our first attempt at a higher-end restaurant on the Plaza, and we faced a lot of challenges with the space, the neighborhood, and even a global pandemic. But we don’t consider Parkway a failure – it gave us some incredible people (who went on to help shape our newer concepts) and invaluable experience.

From there, things have steadily grown. We initially launched the Scarlet Room as a bar-within-a-bar inside of Parkway, and that concept has been resurrected and refined within Society. Right around the same time, we debuted The Fall below Westport Ale House. It was a storage space that I knew had the potential to be something unlike anything else in Kansas City.

We saw the Crossroads as an up-and-coming neighborhood with high foot traffic thanks to the streetcar. The nightlife in downtown Kansas City has been fairly nonexistent. We saw an opportunity for a multi-hyphenate concept that blends the artistic roots of the area with the demand for a social hub. Society just made sense, especially in this exciting new era where we as a society have a once-in-a-generation chance to reinvent ourselves and create a common culture.

We’re always looking to one-up ourselves and create one-of-a-kind, immersive experiences. We’re already planning our next concept.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We started conceptualizing and had secured the space right before the pandemic hit. Like a lot of people, our plans were put on pause. That created a bit of a financial burden, but we also saw it as a chance to perfect our bar program and menus.

In a lot of ways, we opened at the perfect time. Vaccines had just become widely available, and the mask mandate lifted on our opening night. The environment was electric and felt like a city-wide celebration. We’ve continued that energy and have become synonymous with this social revival and reentry into society.

And, the “challenges” actually gave us a lot of time to market ourselves and create buzz. That slow-burn anticipation and hype is part of what’s given us this explosive start. We’ve been open less than two months and we’re already known as the place to be. Just out and about, we overhear people talking about who they saw at Society last night.

It feels incredibly gratifying to know that we’ve created a space where people are excited to be together and be in the moment, especially after one of the most difficult moments in our collective history.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I would say I fall somewhere in between a business-minded entrepreneur and a creative curator. A large part of what I do is seeking out creative teams who can execute our collective vision. I specialize in the logistics side of things – refining systems and finding the right people and bringing them together. That’s certainly something I’m proud of.

As far as what sets me apart from others, I assemble the right team before we focus on the idea. First the who, then the what. A shared investment and excitement are what have brought us so much success, and I couldn’t do that on my own.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
People are looking for experiences. The word-of-mouth and buzz that circulates about a new bar, restaurant, or social scene are less about the drinks and the food you tried and more about how it made you feel. In a world of social influencers, people are looking for very personalized experiences.

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Image Credits
Taylor Cain

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