Ever since I’ve been writing a blog about Iowa craft beer, I’ve definitely found my favorite places to get a beer or well in Des Moines. There is an awesome array of drink joints in the greater Des Moines area that can cater to any atmosphere that patrons may desire.
Exile Brewing Company is at 1514 Walnut in Des Moines. Exile has a nice, dimly lit atmosphere for an evening date on the dining side, but is also equipped with a laid back taproom. The beer is great and brewed in house. Exile is probably my favorite microbrewery in the Des Moines area, but another draw to this watering hole is the menu. Exile has an amazing food selection and some great chefs. A personal favorite of mine is their Rarebit burger, an open-faced burger smothered in Exile’s house-made beer cheese. With the combination of the great food, great beer and great atmosphere. Exile has become a definite go-to place for me.
2. El Bait Shop
El Bait Shop is located at 200 SW 2nd Street. It is one of the most eccentric places you may ever grab a beer. Furnished like a fisherman’s cabin from Heaven, El Bait Shop is also stocked with a Mexican-themed menu and an impressive selection of beer. With over 120 beers on tap and over 150 in bottles, Bait Shop is a craft beer lovers dream, but it’s also a great place for the avid Bud Light drinker. The atmosphere is fun and laid back and the menu has everything from Huevos Rancheros to a greasy, diner-style burger. Most importantly, though, are the bacon-wrapped tater tots. They are a must try for anyone’s first time at Bait Shop. It has also been the host to the Little Giant Iowa Beer Summit for the past two years, further proving that it is a beer drinkers paradise.
Vaudeville Mews is nestled just across from Fong’s Pizza at 212 4th Street. It’s a small, dark concert venue with a foot-high stage and little seating. My favorite thing about the Mews is that if their isn’t a concert going on, then the Mews isn’t open. It’s a great place to catch a reasonably priced concert, discover new music or to learn a little bit about the Des Moines music scene. It’s frequented by musicians from the area and music lovers alike. The Mews has the typical Pabst Blue Ribbon and Bud Light, but they also carry a few local craft brews and Midwest brews. It has the perfect atmosphere for a dive venue and never ceases to amaze me with the great talent they bring in.
Sitting at 2920 Ingersoll Avenue, Wellman’s Pub is close and provides a chill place to grab a drink. It’s my favorite spot to watch Sunday football games and have a few drinks with friends. Wellman’s is set up like a traditional Irish pub and has plenty of big screens for sporting events. They also offer 12 dollar bottomless Bloody Marys on Sundays. The staff is extremely nice and talkative with patrons and the breakfast menu is impeccable.
While these are all amazing, they are just the tip of the iceberg. There is a great selection of places to grab a drink. Honorable mention goes to the University Library Cafe on University Avenue. It’s another great place to grab a craft beer and is also equipped with an amazing breakfast and lunch menu. Check it out for brunch with some friends.
Check out any of these places, and I guarantee you’ll have one hell of a time!