caption: Bartender Stephanie Osmond keeps a
cupboard full of board games behind the bar,
such as Jenga, and the tables at the booths
are custom made with Chess and Scrabble boards
built into them, too. She said the PB&J
is one of the most popular drinks: PBR served
with a shot of Jamison for $5.
1030 E. 9th St.
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m., Mon.-Sun.
Happy Hour: 4-8 p.m., Mon.-Fri.
By Jared Curtis
Every bartender thinks he or she makes “the
best damned bloody mary in town,” but none boast
with such conviction as David Clark at the Fremont.
He’s so confident, he’ll challenge anyone to
make a better blend — even the customer.
“It’s my own, special mix,” he said. “People
can make their own if they want to, but nobody
ever does. And they keep coming back for ’em.”
It’s become a Sunday tradition. The “Bloody
Mary Brunch” offers free omelets, biscuits and
gravy, but perhaps more importantly, a bloody
mary bar with all the fixens, including just
about any vegetable you can think to pickle:
“pickled artichokes, ochre, eggs, asparagus…”
Clark rattled on like Bubba Blue from the movie
“There’s a huge selection of vegetarian delights,”
After eight months of the morning tradition,
Sunday Brunch has grown so popular that if you
Google the words “Bloody-Mary-Des-Moines-Iowa,”
The Fremont is the first on the list to pop
up. Clark said it’s always a good turnout, and
the available ingredients change from week to
week, which is what co-owner Kevin Wahlert likes
“A lot of bars do a Bloody Mary Sunday, and
they’re all very similar, but everybody has
their own take on how a bloody mary should taste
and different preferences on the spiciness,”
Indeed, people are different, which is what
has been driving the owners of The Fremont as
they celebrate their one-year anniversary this
month. In the past year, the bar has welcomed
local entertainment of all sorts, from live
music to art shows, and now they’ve brought
back an open mic night on Wednesdays hosted
by acoustic solo-man Mason Jar.
“I’d been to open mic nights there when it was
owned by someone else, and I thought it was
a shame when it stopped,” said Bill Marnin of
Mason Jar. “I like to promote live music period
— especially people who are songwriters, and
this is a good place to bring what I call homegrown
“It’s a great little venue. It’s the Fremont.
It’s my kind of place,” Marnin added.
The locals apparently like it, too. The old
building has been a bar for as long as people
can remember — since 1948, Wahlert said — and
some of the regulars have been bellied up there
just as long.
“We have a lot of neighborhood people still
coming in here who probably always will,” said
bartender Stephanie Osmond. “And we keep getting
new people in, too, which is awesome. We have
regulars who have been coming to this bar since
the ’80s, and they still come in here every
day. We have a very diverse crowd.”
“I think diversity and variety of entertainment
appeals to a larger audience,” Wahlert added.
“We’re trying to capture that by offering more
than just drink specials.” CV