Shorty’s Somewhat Fancy Bar celebrates Schlitz12/26/2012
The easy-to-drink flavors of Schlitz have been a staple on the menus of crappy beer night since the beginning of time, and it’s long been wondered if that’s what the Mayans were drinking when they failed to finish their calendar centuries ago. OK, maybe the Wisconsin concoction isn’t that ancient, but it has been around since it was first brewed at the hands of Joseph Schlitz in 1849. Its reputation as one of America’s “crappy beers” is not only celebrated, but at Shorty’s Somewhat Fancy Bar, located in the back alleys of Downtown, Schlitz has been chosen as the centerpiece of the drink menu.
“Schlitz changed the quality of the beer by cutting corners in the ’70s, and it tanked,” earning the beer its “crappy beer status,” according to Shorty’s manager Ernie Shillak.
Now Schlitz has gone back to its original recipe, and Shorty’s is the only bar in Iowa that serves it on tap for $5 a pitcher, $1.75 goblets and in a seven-ounce glass for 75 cents.
“The little glasses makes you feel better about drinking on your lunch break,” laughed bartender Katy Miller.
The fair prices don’t end with the beer, though. Shorty’s also offers food using simple recipes straight from Mama’s kitchen, such as sloppy Joes, green bean casserole and chicken pot pie, making Shorty’s an inexpensive midday rendezvous.
“We just want to get people in here to have a little fun, come hang out and take a half-day off,” Shillak said.
With an old-fashioned ambience of red lighting and dark wood, Shorty’s Somewhat Fancy Bar is what its name claims: “an old-looking, retro bar for young people,” as one lunch-goer put it.
“It’s easily a place you can stumble into, drink a few, and suddenly you’re a regular, back every week making it your own place,” she added.
While most establishments brag about ladies’ night, Shorty’s proudly flexes “Sausage Night” every Thursday, which is more dude-friendly, where a full-blown cop ’stache can earn you a free shot of whiskey while enjoying an assortment of sausages offered from hors d’oeuvre trays (starting at 5 p.m.).
Just as Schlitz has reinvented itself, so has Shorty’s. After the floods of 2008 left a water mark three feet high, the Irish basement pub was forced to close. It went through a transformation from the hole-in-the-wall, six-seater bar to one that has stretched across a room where more than 70 can mingle at one time. When a moveable wall opens up to a party room it shares with the elegant Sbrocco, more than 100 can fill the space comfortably. CV
Shorty’s Somewhat Fancy Bar 208 Court Ave. (alley entrance) (515) 288-2536
www.shortyssomewhatfancybar.comHOURS: Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-midnight; Fri., Sat. 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sun. opens at 11 a.m. KITCHEN: Open until 10 p.m. except Sun. HAPPY HOUR: Mon.-Fri. 4-6 p.m.