Most couples don’t name their backyard. But if your shed has a waiting list and an underground following, it probably deserves a name. When Chris Ciesiel and Cristin Llewellyn started serving craft cocktails and made-from-scratch small plates to friends, they had no idea it would turn into a sought after speakeasy.
When friends arrive, they skip the house and step into the backyard. Past the fire pit surrounded by tree stumps is the shed. Painted red and yellow, it has antlers hung on the outside. Opening the door and walking in is like stepping through a magic wardrobe. When you’re in The Campground you’ll lose track of time. The warm lighting, laughter and unpainted particle board walls create a rustic, antique vibe that makes you feel like you’re on the set of a campy Wes Anderson film—except this summer camp serves some of the best cocktails in Kansas City.
The Campground was born out of a desire to bring genuine people together over good drinks, comfortable conversation and homemade eats. Chris and Cristin didn’t wait until everything was perfect to invite others to share in their craft. They just brought friends into an experience that they were passionate about, and it shows. Their creative energy is infused into every sip, bite, smile and friendly hello.
They take craft seriously because they’re passionate about making the best tasting drinks. Chris and Cristin want to have their hand in every step of the creative process. He makes all the syrups, liqueurs and bitters. “Things look and taste better when made from home and by scratch,” said Chris. “The mint is from the neighbor’s garden and the lavender is from the front yard.”
Chris and Cristin are planning to open the doors of The Campground a little wider by expanding to a commercial space. The plan is to take their Midwestern hospitality and passion for craft, and add a few more spots around the fire ring so more of Kansas City can join them.