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Belly Up

September 6, 2012
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Mixology Night makes a great adult field trip

The second annual Science Center of Iowa’s Mixology Night kicks off with free admission, a cash bar ($3 beer and wine; $4 imports and craft beer; and $5 cocktails), live music and science displays on Friday, Sept. 7.

By Amber Williams

Any time you see the suffix “ology,” you know it’s “the study of something.” Calling the average bartender a mixologist might be a stretch — or an appreciative euphemism, at best — but, there is one place to belly up in Des Moines where drinks really are a science, and therefore one might loosely consider bartender Chris Haines a true mixologist. We went there on field trips as kids, we took our nieces, nephews and our own children there as adults, and now we get the Science Center of Iowa all to ourselves on the first Friday of the month, September through April.

“We started Mixology Night last year after we noticed our travelling exhibits (Da Vinci - The Genius and Body Works Vital) were bringing in a strong young professional and adult group,” said SCI promotional and events coordinator Kim Blythe. “So we felt there was a need there and wanted to engage adults with a fun night experiencing everything the Science Center has to offer without feeling like they were taking away from the kids.”

The SCI Mixology Night series had growing success in its first year, Blythe said, as Haines saw several of the same faces returning month after month, repeatedly bringing friends along for an alternative, more educational kind of happy hour. Despite the large crowd — an average of 250 in attendance per night last year — he was quick to remember their faces and their poisons, having their drinks ready by the time they made their way back to the bar, Blythe said.

“He’s fun and energetic, and he’s really excited about the event,” Blythe said. “The bar is always busy. Last year we found we had some regulars who came every month, and Chris remembers their drinks, and they think that’s awesome,”

During Mixology Night, SCI offers drinks as interesting as their scientific displays — in fact, each night Haines mixes up a concoction that ties to the theme that night. This Friday he will unveil a creation with an “explosive” flavor to match the fireworks theme.

“We’ll take our normal family fireworks and add some adult elements to it,” which means more explosions, she said, inside the John Deere Adventure Theater. Guests are allowed to roam around with their drinks almost anywhere in the multi-story complex. Along with signature cocktails with science-themed names (like the “Tesla-tini”), new items for this year will include snacks such as walking tacos and pizza by the slice.

The kick-off event on Sept. 7 will feature music from The Snacks and free admission (Events after the kick-off are $5 for general admission and $13 for the traveling exhibition, available for purchase at the door.)

“It’s a great way to come out and experience the Science Center without having kids around,” Blythe said. “It makes for a great date night or a night out with friends; it’s a good way to network or just to come out and have fun.” CV


Science Center of Iowa and Blank IMAX Dome Theater

401 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway


Mixology Night: First Friday, Sept.-April

Hours: 5:30-9 p.m.

Live music: 6-8 p.m.

Live science program: 7-8 p.m.

Capacity: 2,000-plus

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