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Belly Up To...

Pretend you’re on a swanky vacation at Liberty’s


Walking into Liberty’s, the first thing you’ll notice about the extraordinary hotel lounge is bartender Rodney Lewis’ warm, animated smile that automatically makes you feel comfortable in the upscale atmosphere. Then you’ll notice the marble bar, flat screen TVs and a very modern décor that will trick you into thinking you’re on vacation in a trendy bar in the heart of Chicago.

Bartender Rodeny Lewis shows off the Bakon Vodka used in the bar’s signature Cracked Bell drink. The Cracked Bell costs $10 but is well worth it.

Bartender Rodeny Lewis shows off the Bakon Vodka used in the bar’s signature Cracked Bell drink. The Cracked Bell costs $10 but is well worth it.

The all-new bar matches the high-end remodeling job the hotel received this summer — a far cry from the Doozie’s it used to be.

“Doozie’s reminded me of an old Bennigan’s — dark and gross,” manager Brian Matis said. “It’s not a dungeon, it’s well lit, there’s fresh flowers, snacks on the bar. It’s an upscale bar, but it’s casual.”

Casual and comfortable, actually. The seats are so cozy that it would be easy to lose track of time and chat with Lewis for an hour or two while sampling the bar’s signature drinks. The Cracked Bell is a bloody mary with Absolut Peppar vodka and Bakon vodka and is just as awesome as it sounds. To cure the sweet tooth, there’s the Ultimate Chocolate consisting of Bailey’s, Godiva and Vanilla Svedka topped with a chocolate garnish that ends up tasting like a malty milkshake. If you’re in the mood for a more traditional drink, Liberty’s also has an array of local liquors and craft beers — one of its proudest staples being Templeton Rye, along with River Rose Gin and Millstream pale ale, to name a few.

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“Travelers always ask about Iowa-made drinks,” Matis said.

Liberty’s is more than a place to drink, though. It’s an experience in which one can rub elbows with the rich and famous or belly up with traveling artists and actors from acts at the Civic Center who often stay at the Embassy Suites and let loose at Liberty’s.               

“The Cirque du Soleil people stayed here, and they were really fun,” Rodney said.              

In fact, despite the classy feel, the tasty drinks and an eclectic new menu of great food, Rodney said the clientele is his favorite thing about the bar.             

“The guests are really great, all the time,” he said.                

He loves the fluid demographic of the bar that draws everyone from high-energy 20-somethings to relaxed 40- and 50-year-olds — some of whom are hotel guests, and others are just thirsty for a cocktail or two.                

Liberty’s is an experience like no other in Des Moines or in the world. Every Embassy Suites bar is different and unique to the hotel, with the Des Moines location being exceptionally nice with its recent remodel.                

The best part is there’s plenty of room in the hotel to sleep it off later. CV

Liberty’s – An Iowa Grill
Embassy Suites Downtown Des Moines
101 E. Locust
(515) 244-1700
HOURS: Sun-Thurs: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri, Sat: 11 a.m.-12 a.m. (includes kitchen)

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