AK's is a great place to drink, sing and dance, especially when they have their live piano player taking requests and jamming on the stage!
There are other AK locations around the area, but this is a really fun option right in the middle of Court Avenue. They have shuffleboard on a table, plenty of seats, and enough space to have a great time. They serve both food and drinks, and are in the same building with a few other bars, which gives you nice options!
The Royal Mile is a dark, cozy British pub in the heart of downtown Des Moines' Court Avenue district. It was lauded as one of Esquire magazine's Best Bars in the Country in 2007, and I agree.
The Mile, as it is affectionately known to some, is an unassuming place where you can meet up with friends any night of the week, chat up the friendly bartenders, or treat yourself to some fish n chips or shepherd's pie. It's next to a funky coffee shop and a concert venue, so always has someone interesting hanging out.
The owners decked this place out in British/Irish/Scottish paraphernalia and they monitor the international beers available in the Midwest, to keep the selection strong. Chances are if they don't have your favorite on tap, it's in a bottle in their huge cases behind the bar. This is also a place where bartenders know how to slow-pour their Guinness, and they have a fully stocked bar for scotch lovers and others. Long wooden tables and some smaller pub tables allow all to enjoy, and there's a small outdoor seating area, too. Upstairs is a larger seating area... I'd highly recommend this place - and if Belgian beers are more your style, head upstairs to the Red Monk, which offers even more selection.
I love stopping in at Noodle Zoo... with each order, I typically end up with more than I can eat, but it's delicious. This lunch spot offers a colorful seating area and a casual atmosphere. You order at the counter, and they bring out the food when ready - usually it's fairly quick.
Dishes range from salads (a caesar came on a large plate with wonderful toasted bread to go with it) and sandwiches to - their specialty - noodle bowls, served with focaccia bread and a house salad. I highly recommend them, and whatever you get, you can do under about $9.
Next time you're in the area, most definitely give it a try!
Azalea opened up in the lower level of the old Hotel Kirkwood, and offers everything from portabella fries (yum) to unique sandwiches and steaks. It's a rather upscale dining place, and offers a large bar area, including an area off to the side with couches and overstuffed chairs to lounge in. Azalea has a fantastic wine selection and the bartenders are usually eager to share their favorites with you. The restaurant is open for lunch or dinner, and makes a great spot for a business lunch or a night of relaxation! If you're just up for a drink and bar food, definitely try some of their pizzas or other creative appetizers. Lastly, Azalea has a unique feature I haven't seen elsewhere - a small area for a table (or a few) lofted up above the restaurant, which you can request for yourself or a group. Enjoy!
Shorty's is a dive bar turned nicer, after the flood of 2008. It is located in the basement of Sbrocco, a restaurant and wine bar. You can enter either through the wine shop downstairs, or through a door in the back alley... makes it kind of a fun, hidden little place. Overall, Shorty's is a great little spot to watch a game or grab a beer - it's a smaller bar, and because it's a little more hidden away, is not as packed as others may be. It's nothing too fancy, but the redesign after the flood meant new, comfy leather couches and some nicer tables and bar... they have a nice beer selection and you can also take wine over from the wine shop if you like. If you're in the mood for a smaller, out of the way bar, stop by.
Jasper Winery's owners just moved it from Newton to a new site near Gray's Lake... the new building is modern and sleek, offering a great venue for small or large events, and windows allow visitors to see the winemaking process!
Jasper's tasting room is open every day, and they offer tours, as well. The wine is actually quite good for an Iowa-made wine - my favorites are their Behind the Shed Red and the the crisp white called La Crescent.
We happened to stop out one day when a motorcycle group had rented the place out for a fundraiser for breast cancer, and they had a live band going on - you never know what you're going to get! But it also goes to show you can stop out on your own, or throw an event there and have a smashing good time either way! Stop in.
I had no idea this little art, jewelry and gift shop had a wine bar upstairs that offers live music, but it's a casual little gem in the older part of West Des Moines!
Some coworkers held a toast for my engagement there after work one day, and the staff there put out a few appetizers and opened a few bottles of wine for us - it was fantastic! They also have an outdoor patio upstairs, which I'm sure would be great for sipping wine in the summer. Aside from wine, I believe they also offered other drinks, including a margarita. The first and second floors are a shop, with great jewelry, art, and other fun gift ideas, ranging from ready-to-make food mixes to beautiful handmade wooden bowls. It's a great, casual place to relax or have a drink with a girlfriend!
I was sent to Dr. Rieck through a referral from a friend, and continue to go there because he and his staff are terrific. Even after getting the shock of a lifetime - multiple cavities after college, even though I'd had none before - he was great. (Warning to college kids - floss!) No one wants to get work done on their teeth, but he explained everything, answered questions, and was very patient and gentle so it was relatively painless. Clean office, central location in Des Moines, and the hygienists are great, too. They're friendly and great to work with and I would highly recommend!
Sbrocco opened in 2008 where a downtown grocery store used to be... they renovated the gorgeous wine shop and tasting room downstairs, and upstairs is a very chic and delicious restaurant that is one of our neighborhood favorites. We've never had bad advice from the wine guys there, and they're very helpful. They offer tastings every Thursday evening and on Saturday mornings during the farmer's market. The restaurant offers great food - most is local and it's very fresh. The latest menu featured great soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch and everything from duck to polenta to oysters for dinner. They also have excellent cheeses to try. I would highly recommend this for an evening out!
Proof just opened in Fall 2008 as a Mediterranean lunch spot, M-F, but they also serve a special menu for dinner that changes every Friday night. This food is amazing and tops any lunches I've had in Des Moines, for the quality and price. Last week, I had the veggie flatbread, which was like a sandwich - I don't remember what all was in it, but it was spectacular - and a salad with apples, hunks of swiss cheese and a great dressing - all for about $9 and on the owner's recommendation. My dining partner had a soup and salad and loved it. The owner used to work at Lucca in the East Village, and I expect this place will be a smash hit! Dinners look a little pricey, but you can elect to only have certain courses - the menu changes each week for dinner, and it's online earlier in the week. You must check this place out!