Longtime bartender Tressa Fox serves
up shots on the West Port patio during
Hump Day Happy Hour.
By Amber Williams
Remember the old Zip Lock bag commercials?
The Glad Lock guy asks a nerd named Rudy Laslow
which bag of piranhas he’d rather have dropped
into his fish tank filled with Rudy’s “little
friends” — the Zip Lock, with the yellow-and-blue-make-green
seal, or the other brand “that doesn’t have
a seal.” Rudy, being a wise, fish-loving loser,
made the obvious choice.
The Zip Lock, is also a popular choice at West
Port Lounge. The dangerously delicious drink
is the creative concoction of bartender Andrew
Steele who says he was bored one day so he “started
inventing shit.” Why is it named after a sandwich
“Because yellow and blue make green,” he said.
The drink — which he says is a shot, but it’s
served in a rocks glass, minus the rocks, and
filled to the rim so it’s more like a bomb —
is green by the time the mad mixologist slides
it down the bar. It’s made of… well, we don’t
really know what’s in it. We know it’s blue,
then he adds Red Bull, which turns it green.
You just have to trust your bartender that it’s
good and strong. And it’s the perfect fuel for
a Friday night crowd at West Port Lounge in
West Des Moines.
“It’s kind of an off-the-beaten-path, fun bar,”
said owner Kim Hagar. She and her husband, Fred,
also own the Ingersoll veteran sandwich shop
The Manhattan Deli. That means the West Port
is the only bar in the metro where you can get
a tried-and-true Manhattan sandwich as well
as a sweet-and-sinister Zip Lock bomb.
“We bring in different sandwiches — the Grinder
for sure, but also whatever Fred wants to make
— and other things like poppers and pizza,”
The Hagars have owned the Manhattan Deli for
31 years, but the West Port Lounge has been
there for 42. They bought it seven years ago,
and not much has changed over the years, according
to longtime bartender and Valley Junction local
Tressa Fox (whose last name is very fitting,
by the way).
“She gives people trouble, and people love it,”
Hagar said of her sweet and sassy pride and
joy. “And she’s cute, cute, cute. People like
Fox has been giving her regular belly-uppers
a rough time for more than eight years, and
they wouldn’t have it any other way. She works
two other jobs, so slinging drinks to patrons
she considers friends is more of a choice than
it is a necessity, she said.
“The people here are good people, and I love
who I work with; they’re all great people,”
Fox said. “Valley Junction is kind of a little
community. We get a lot of people who like to
be-bop and bar-hop from Charlie’s and Sully’s,
and there’s the farmer’s market crowd and people
who work and live in the area, but a lot of
our regulars come here from all over.”
Patrons can find Fox at West Port Lounge on
Friday nights and Saturdays, or have Steele
mix up the mystery Zip Lock on Sunday, Monday
and Wednesday nights. CV
West Port Lounge
800 First St., West Des Moines
Hours: Mon.-Wed., 12 p.m.-2 a.m.; Thurs.-Sun.,
11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Happy Hour: Mon.-Fri., 3:30-6:30 p.m. and 10