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Belly Up

June 28, 2012
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Cars and darts make Gill T’s a destination

Gill T’s is known for its dart leagues. Owners Tracy and Tony Gill plan to expand their three boards with the addition of a new cyber board where people can play with challengers from around the globe.

By Amber Williams

While no one’s really “innocent” at Gill T’s Bar, at least they all have a good alibi. One old timer finds it a good hiding spot while his wife’s out of town, while another blue collar, Mohawk man they all call “Flash” finds it a cozy perch for happy hour during the week. And that’s just a couple of the regulars you’ll find bellied up during a weeknight.

Then there’s the karaoke crowd that piles in on Friday nights. Saturday draws a herd of purring classics that cruise in for the car show in the parking lot, as well as droves of dart throwers who hail from as far as Nebraska, Sioux City and Cedar Rapids for the weekly tournament. A typical Saturday at Gill T’s is not typical anywhere else.

In fact, there’s not much at Gill T’s that is “typical.” The joint used to be called Scooter and Babs Sports Bar and Grille, but Tracy and Tony Gill bought it last December with change in mind.

“We’ve always talked about owning a bar with my parents,” Tracy said. “Tony and I just saw this place, scoped it out and starting thinking up ways we could make it work. So far, it’s doing a pretty good job.”

Tracy’s parents, Jesse and Jeannette Ashley, run the place by day, bringing with them the Concrete Cruisers classic car club (hence the show on Saturdays). By night, Jason Boggs mans the house like an old pro.

“Jason came with the bar,” Tracy said.

He might have come with the bar, but at 6’4, he hardly fits behind it. Some patrons might find it a fun drinking game taking bets on when he’s going to hit his head on the NASCAR light fixture and ceiling fan above his head or on the doorway to the walk-in cooler. And after more than a decade as a local bartender at various havens throughout Des Moines and as the vocalist and guitarist for local rock band Resurrection Mary, Boggs has stories to entertain all who belly up to his bar — from incriminating confessions of a certain city councilman to the sentimental attachment Boggs has formed with his favorite bottle-opener (the back pocket tool of any seasoned beer slinger).

“I’ve had this bottle-opener for 12 years; I bet I’ve opened over 3,000 bottles of beer with this,” he said, tossing the tarnished, metal opener around in his hand. “It cost $2.50 at Becker Equipment when I bought it. When I own my own bar someday, I’ll retire it.”

Someday. But for now, Boggs is still poppin’ tops for a bar full of friendlies at Gill T’s on the northeast side of the town. CV


Gill T’s

918 E. Euclid Ave.


Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m., Mon.-Sat.; Sun. open seasonally

Happy Hour: 3-6 p.m., Mon.-Fri.

Amenities: Lunch served every day, dinner on Tues. and Thurs.; classic car show starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday; Dart leagues Mon.-Thurs. with a tournament on Sat.; Karaoke at 9 p.m. on Fri.

Capacity: 65, plus patio room

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