food & drink

Belly Up

By Jared Curtis


Manning’s Pour House
Rock your socks off at this southside gem

Bars open and close faster than the seasons change. With so many choices, newer bars have a tall task in trying to bring in new clientele. But then there are the bars that have been open for five, 10 or even 20 years and beyond. The success always comes back to a strong customer base, and Chris Manning knows this to be true. His bar, Manning’s Pour House, is celebrating its seventh anniversary this month.

“I bartended on Ingersoll Avenue for years, and I was ready to do my own thing,” he said. “The opportunity arose for me to get my own place, so I had to take it.”

Manning knew exactly what side of town he wanted his new bar venture.

“I’m a southsider, so I wanted to open a place in my community,” he says. “The location had been a bar for more than 40 years, so I knew it was a good spot.”

Manning’s Pour House may look small from the outside, but once you stroll through the doors it’s bigger than expected and never feels cramped. A large patio, which patrons can smoke and drink on, overlooks Indianola Avenue and is a great place to watch the world go by.

Happy Hour runs daily from 4-6 p.m., and patrons can enjoy $2 bottles, $3 wells and $4 bombs. The bar’s most popular specials are two cans of Busch Light for $3 and 24 oz. Tallboys for $4.

“The Busch Light deal is a big seller and is available all day, every day,” he said. “We also have Virgo Moon Wine (northeast Iowa winery) by the glass ($5) and bottle ($16).”

This month is Manning’s seventh anniversary, a feat for bars still in their infancy phase.

“People were skeptical when I first opened up, but I’m still here, and I don’t plan on going anywhere any time soon,” he said.

Manning’s was named Cityview’s “Best New Bar” in 2003 and has been a runner-up for the “Best South Bar” the last few years. On March 17, Manning’s holds its annual St. Paddy’s Day bash. The bar opens at 6 a.m. and offers green beer, drink and shot specials, and corn beef and cabbage.

“It’s a great time and not a lot of bars on the southside go all out for St. Paddy’s Day like we do,” he said.

Stopping in, patrons will be mesmerized by the amount of dollar bills that have been signed and stapled all over the walls and ceiling. Between the dollars are pictures of outlaws like Johnny Cash, John Wayne and Willie Nelson.

“I heard sailors would sign dollar bills for good luck. And once it started, the walls became covered,” he said. “I think there is more than 3,000 bills signed.”

Manning knows the bar business is tough but is proud of how his “dive bar” has continued to build new clientele.

“We have an outstanding staff, the music is always rocking and everyone is welcome,” he said. “We’re one of the best dive bars in town. And no matter when you stop in, you’re bound to have good time.” CV


Caption: Owner Chris Manning pours shots at Manning’s Pour House, 2102 Indianola Ave. Hours are noon to 2 a.m., daily. 288-0030

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