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Whiskey Barrel Saloon opens at Waukee triangle


Sara Edrozo isn’t afraid to play cowgirl after a few shots at the Whiskey Barrel Saloon, as she carouses the bars on Sixth Street at the Waukee triangle.

Sara Edrozo isn’t afraid to play cowgirl after a few shots at the Whiskey Barrel Saloon, as she carouses the bars on Sixth Street at the Waukee triangle.

Taverns are great places to hear a good story — especially tales of the tall variety, stories about the biggest catch, the bloodiest brawls and the rarest white-tail bucks bagged. The Whiskey Barrel Saloon, the Waukee triangle’s newest addition to the three-bar crawl down Sixth Street, is no exception to the rule. A first-timer in the western-style saloon might be too timid to climb up on the horse saddle straddling a whiskey barrel at the door, “but after a couple Sam Hill Hooker shots, the ladies’ll climb up there with a cowboy hat and get their pictures taken — they’re all over our Facebook page,” laughed new owner Andrew Hanshaw.

The story Hanshaw tells (with moderate confidence in its veracity) is that Sam Hill was a Civil War General for the Union Army who would take a shot of whiskey and chase it with pickle juice to hide the smell of liquor on his breath before marching into battle. Old Sam Hill may have been a whiskey drinker, and he may very well have enjoyed the pickle juice chaser, but the back story is questionable. True or not, it’s a good story. And it’s a good way to take a shot.

“The key is you slam it — don’t smell it first — and wham bam, no in between. It’s the house shot, and it’s only two bucks,” he added, pouring another round for the bar. 

When they first opened in October, Hanshaw had a surplus of Ten High whiskey, so upon the advice of a seasoned bar-owning friend, Chop (of Chop’s Old Bank across the street), he decided to give all first-timers at the saloon a free Sam Hill Hooker. It’s no wonder the saloon has gone through 15 gallons of Ten High whiskey and 10 gallons of pickle juice since. (Reckon Hanshaw was wise when naming the place the Whiskey Barrel.)                

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His friend Chop has done more than just come up with a good way to sell cheap whiskey. He’s actually the one who sold the building to Hanshaw this past fall, along with the former Mama Chop’s restaurant, which is attached to the quaint, dimly-lit saloon. The antique décor has been replaced with cowboy western paintings and paraphernalia, such as the aforementioned saddle, old rancher tools and even an oak sign with the word “saloon” engraved that Hanshaw says is on loan from Troy Trostel (of Trostel’s Greenbriar Restaurant and Bar in Johnston).                

“It hung in the Colorado Feed and Grain on Ingersoll for years,” Hanshaw said.                

To fit the theme, all bar drinks are served in Mason jars — 16-ounce singles and 32-ounce doubles. If that’s not enough to burn your biscuit, stop in on Trash Can Tuesdays and try Hanshaw’s signature Trash Can bomb: vodka, rum, gin, triple sec, peach schnapps and Blue Curacao with a full can of Red Bull plopped upside down into the jar.              

“It’s like a Long Island Iced Tea with Red Bull and drank like a bomb,” Hanshaw said.                

Thanks for the warning. CV

Whiskey Barrel Saloon
360 Sixth St., Waukee
(515) 987-2245
Hours: 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day
Happy Hour: 2-6 p.m. every day; and late night daily specials after 8 p.m.
Kitchen Hours: 6-11 a.m. breakfast; 11 a.m.-1 p.m. lunch; Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; breakfast all day on Sun.
Entertainment: Live acoustic music Thurs. nights.

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