Rain’s new direction: popular bar focuses on being a restaurant

01-Dec-17 05By Beth Wasson

WICHITA - A shower of change descended on Rain Café and Lounge recently. Gone are the dance floor, loud music, and colorful lights. Instead, more chairs and tables and a softer ambience fill the place, results owner Allen Mairs is happy with. He began the new format in January, after the opening of XY, and continues to tweak things slightly.
    When the venue opened in 2009 it was more of a nightclub. The small space with the even smaller dance floor coupled with a crush of people at night was too much for the historic Douglas Ave. building to handle. These concerns about wear and tear on the old structure spurred Mairs to tone the place down.
    The subtle alterations resulted in a tone more akin to a neighborhood bar and grill where customers come for food, talk, and relaxation. One thing that isn’t changing, the theme nights and charity events. Customer favorites like Bitchy Bingo, Karaoke, and Trivia Nights continue along with more events in the future. Rain has already raised over $750,000 with the money going to local charities.

    Lunch and dinner are available every day, then after 10pm, Rain becomes more of a lounge with customers restricted to the 21 and over crowd. A few additional items join a diverse menu including appetizers, soups, salads, burgers, and sandwiches. Mairs recommends trying one of the four macaroni and cheese pasta dishes and saving room to taste the new dessert offerings. The Sunday morning brunch buffet is still a great bargain at under eight dollars per person.
    Rain is another one of a growing number of local restaurants partnering with Uber Eats, a service that delivers food orders to your door. Being downtown, Rain benefits from the many apartments in the area and the location is only a block north of Intrust Bank Arena. Events at the arena always bring hungry patrons.
    The cozy booths and bar area offer USB chargers and power outlets plus Wi-Fi throughout the restaurant. The patio bar and separate pool table area are still there. But, running a full-service restaurant needs more staff and Mairs plans on adding servers soon. Reservations are recommended for events as the popular nights draw large crowds.
    Mairs believes the new format is the future of Rain and he is happy with the changes. Regular patrons seem pleased with the changes as well. l

28-Feb-18 14

Marcia McCoy, Ph.D.