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Drink Local

Karen Krone

Local bars weave themselves into Columbia’s business community.

Twenty years ago, Karen Krone and a business partner opened Snappers Bar on South Seventh Street. She was a recent college graduate, earning a business degree from the University of Missouri less than one year earlier. Within six months, she bought out her partner’s interest in Snappers and became the sole owner. 

Today, Krone’s portfolio includes three bars around Columbia.

“I’ve been doing it so long,” Krone says, as she looks back on her years as a small business owner in Columbia. “Even before I owned my businesses, I was in the restaurant and bar industry.” 

After working in a grocery store throughout high school, Krone says, she transitioned to working in restaurants after graduating from Hallsville High School and beginning college at Mizzou. She worked as a server until she turned 21 then began bartending, too. After a brief stint in restaurant management at Isle of Capri Casino in Boonville following college graduation, Krone made the leap to business ownership.

Karen Krone pouring a beer

Snappers Bar

With an occupancy of 50, Snappers is a cozy but lively spot serving beer and alcohol.

“It’s kind of known as the Jell-O shot bar, and we are known for dollar Jell-O shots,” Krone says. “We’ve been doing that from day one.”  

Krone says patrons purchase Jell-O shots by the tray to share with their friends on home football game days, graduation weekends, and other special occasions. Since regulations changed during COVID-19, Snappers can now sell Jell-O shots, prepared in two-ounce to-go cups with a lid. 

“It’s a quick, inexpensive social thing — a shot that everyone enjoys,” Krone says.

For those who choose to drink inside, Snappers offers a pool table, darts, a putt-putt golf game, and a buck hunter game for entertainment. Because of its proximity to campus, Snappers enjoys some foot traffic and some of the college crowd.

Welcome to Klik's sign
Kliks - Wall of neon signs

KLiK’s Deli & Bar 

With Snappers up and running and a reliable team of employees by her side, Krone set her sights on the next project. 

“At the time it seemed like the next step,” Krone says. “With Snappers being such a small place, it wouldn’t have been a full-time job to run it. Things had started going well, I could hire a couple bartenders and not be there as much. It seemed like the next logical step if I was going to stay in the business was to have a second business.” 

With the help of her dad and a group of handy and helpful friends, Krone says they worked off blueprints drawn by an architect and engineer, completing as much of the painting, tile work, and renovations as they could handle themselves.

KLiK’s Deli & Bar at 205 N. Tenth St. opened in October 2006, and one month later, Krone gave birth to a daughter.

“I have a 16-year-old bar and a 16-year-old kid,” she says. “It was very scary opening KLiK’s. It was a race to the finish because of the pregnancy, but KLiK’s opened before I had a baby in November.” 

With an occupancy of 136, KLiK’s has a small kitchen and a patio. Known primarily for beer and alcohol — and also for its casual environment — Krone says KLiK’s caters to a post-college crowd. 

“We consider ourselves an industry bar because we have a lot of regulars who work at other bars and restaurants,” Krone says. “When they get off, they want to get away from those crowds and relax at KLiK’s.” She describes the bar as “a local, inexpensive little getaway for local people and other people who work in the food, restaurant, and bar business.” 

While KLiK’s now has an established clientele, Krone says that the first year or two was slow and challenging, as is the case for most new businesses. She relied heavily on word-of-mouth advertising to counter a lack of foot traffic. 

“It’s been a long-term effort,” she says. “There were several very slow years before the word got out. We were one of the first businesses north of Broadway, besides Mojo’s,” (now Rose Music Hall). The area has “boomed” in the past five to eight years, Krone says, noting the drastic change from 17 years ago when she rented the empty spot that is now KLiK’s. 

Portrait of Karen Krone at KLiK's bar

The 5th Down Bar & Grill

Though she wasn’t looking for a third location, an opportunity presented itself when the owners of The 5th Down Bar & Grill approached Krone about buying their business. The spot had been open for two years when she purchased it in October 2011. 

“I pulled the trigger and went ahead and bought it,” Krone says. “It was different because it was already established and had a clientele when they approached me to buy it.” 

With a full kitchen and grill, a large patio, large screens for watching sporting events — and plenty of games, from shuffleboard and pool to Golden Tee and Pop-A-Shot — The 5th Down Bar & Grill has a sports bar vibe and a menu filled with appetizers, wings, burgers, sandwiches, and salads.

Each bar has different games to pass the time.

Backed by a Solid Team

Krone continues to be the sole owner of each bar, but over the years, she has built strong relationships with employees who have eased the burden of small business ownership in a time-consuming and demanding industry. Her staff numbers between 25 and 30 at any given time. Several have been her employees for 10 or 15 years.

“I’m the sole owner,” she explains, “but at the same time I have good employees who have become friends and family who help me when I need it.” 

Though she has no plans to add another business to her portfolio, Krone also says she doesn’t foresee slowing down anytime soon. And, as a business owner in a tight-knit community like Columbia, Krone says she is committed to giving back to the community that has supported her. 

She adds, “I’m always willing to help an event or donate to local charities and local fundraisers.”

Snappers Bar 
12 S. Seventh St.

KLiK’s Deli & Bar 
205 N. Tenth St.

The 5th Down Bar & Grill 
912 Rain Forest Parkway, Suite D

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