Friday, January 28, 2022

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Belly Up To...

West Glen’s gone country y’ all


Local country-girls-at-heart find a comfortable spot in one of Shotgun Betty’s corral-style booths.

Local country-girls-at-heart find a comfortable spot in one of Shotgun Betty’s corral-style booths.

Living in the Grand Canyon State lends itself to a whole slew of western saloons for any drinker to choose from. Even though I was young, I can still remember a family trip to the Rusty Spur in Scottsdale, Ariz. My dad sat me and my sister up on the bar — decked out in our cowgirl hats and boots, of course — to listen to an old timer strum his six string and sing a classic country tune, while Mom wrote both mine and my sister’s names on the bar wall instead of her own — an honor patrons receive after successfully downing a shot of tequila and finishing off the live mealworm in the bottom of the glass.

This almost forgotten memory recently reared its head out of the back corners of my mind after a nostalgic visit to West Glen’s new country bar, Shotgun Betty’s. While other bars claim to be country, this one really is. Walking in, it feels as though you’ve just stepped off your horse to wet your whistle after a long ride. Salvaged signs, a vintage motorcycle, animal skulls and, of course, the American flag coat the wooden walls. Every stick is genuine, reclaimed Iowa barn wood. Toby Keith would be proud.

On opening night the bar was packed with honkey-tonkers dressed in their finest plaid, according to bartender Meghan Gallagher. Curious patrons bellied up to the bar, which is covered in old license plates. With a drink in one hand and a handful of peanuts in the other, guests ambled off to find a spot to squat at one of the many high top tables and corral-style booths.

Owner of Wellman’s and Mickey’s downtown, Tom Baldwin brought Shotgun Betty’s to West Glen because there were simply “not enough country bars,” he said. But the bar isn’t quite complete yet. Large overhead garage doors open up to reveal the patio, which is still under construction.


Local photographer Maggie Gulling will also add her special touch to the space by showcasing a large mural on its only remaining vacant wall. Shotgun Betty’s is trying to invent itself through patronage, starting with a $1-off happy hour that starts at 3 p.m.

“We’re trying to see what people want and go from there,” said Gallagher.

If there is one thing that will remain a constant, Baldwin assures it’s that Shotgun Betty’s will be all country and only country as long as its doors are open for business, including the live music on Thursday nights. In no time, regulars of all kinds will boot scoot on over and raise their glasses high to belt out, “I love this bar.”

And being a country girl, so will I. CV           

Caitlyn Ryan is an editorial intern from Iowa State University and a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, the National Honor Society for journalism majors. She will receive her bachelor’s degree at the end of summer after her courses and internship at Cityview are complete.


Shotgun Betty’s
5535 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines
Hours: Mon.-Sun. 3 p.m.-2 a.m.
Happy Hour: 3-7 p.m.
Entertainment: Karaoke on Tues., live music on Thurs., DJ on Fri. and Sat.
Capacity: 200


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