food & drink

Belly Up

By Jared Curtis


Castaways Bar & Grill
Take a trip to paradise without leaving Des Moines

There is no denying that this winter has been awful. Iowans have braved snowstorms and freezing temperatures in hopes that spring will soon arrive. But if you have the cold weather blues, Castaways Bar & Grill inside the Ramada Tropics Resort and Conference Center has the cure — a Tiki Bar.

“Castaways offers the best of both worlds,” said Jeff Russell, food and beverage director for Ramada Tropics Resort and Conference Center. “We have the bar and grill part, which is more a relaxed and relaxed environment. And the Tiki Bar offers more of a fun, tropical-filled environment.”

Castaways Bar & Grill has the classic look and feel of an upscale neighborhood establishment. But step through the doors into the Tiki Bar, where the weather is warmer, and the party begins.

“We keep the tropical resort around 80 to 85 degrees, so customers could come right now in shorts and a T-shirt and feel great,” Russell said. “It’s like going to a tropical beach without leaving Iowa.”

Other than the adjacent waterpark (which can only be used by hotel guests), everything including Castaways, the Tiki Bar, arcade room and the NASCAR driving simulator, can be enjoyed.

“We have a wide variety of video games and ticket games in our arcade, and our NASCAR simulator is also very popular. It’s the only place you can drink and legally drive,” laughed Russell.

Happy Hour runs Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m., and patrons can enjoy $2.25 domestic draws and a number of appetizers for under $6 including 50-cent wings. If you can’t make Happy Hour, Castaways offers a plethora of nightly specials throughout the week. Stop in for “Rum Drink Monday” and enjoy $2.75 Captain and Cokes, $1 off all specialty rum drinks, $9 pitchers of Daiquiris or Pina Coladas and $11 buckets (five bottles) of Coors/Coors Light. “Tequila Tuesday” offers $1 off all specialty Tequila drinks, $9 pitchers of Margaritas and $11 buckets of Bud/Bud Light. “Vodka Wednesday” provides $1 off all specialty, call or premium Vodka drinks, $9 pitchers of UV Vodka and lemonade and $11 buckets of Miller/Miller Lite. “2Fer Thursdays” offers two-for-one on single pour cocktails and wine. And start your weekend off right with “Pitcher Me Friday,” when patrons can enjoy $9 pitchers of any of the specials offered through the week and $11 buckets of beer.

The bar offers 14 different beers on tap, more than 30 different bottles, more than 60 different liquors (including Templeton Rye), 15 different wines by the glass ($4.50-$7) and bottle ($17-$29) and more than 12 different house cocktails and margaritas.

“Our specialty is our ‘Tikirita,’ which adds a tropical twist to a margarita,” Russell said. “It’s a sweeter drink, but margarita fans will love it.”

With temperatures dropping single digits, there is not a better place to beat the cold than the Tiki Bar at Castaways Bar & Grill.

“We offer a unique, family friendly environment unlike anywhere else in the city,” Russell said. “So get out of your winter shell and take a short trip to paradise without leaving Des Moines.” CV


Caption: Bartender Amanda Millard mixes a “Pink Pussycat” at the Castaways Bar & Grill Tiki Bar inside the Ramada Tropics Resort and Conference Center, 5000 Merle Hay Road. Hours are 6:30 a.m. to close, daily (The Tiki Bar opens at 5 p.m.). 278-0271.


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