Friday, October 24, 2014


Belly Up

Get laid-over at the Iowa Tap Room

11/27/2013

The Iowa Tap Room, formerly the Capital City Brew Pub, was remodeled a couple years ago to add more seating and an adjoined restaurant, True Burger. One passer-through named Shawn (right) enjoys an IPA draw and a seat with a view during a lay-over to Virginia.

The Iowa Tap Room, formerly the Capital City Brew Pub, was remodeled a couple years ago to add more seating and an adjoined restaurant, True Burger. One passer-through named Shawn (right) enjoys an IPA draw and a seat with a view during a lay-over to Virginia.

Nothing takes your mind off the ridiculous price of airport drinks like… more drinks.

“Another Aviator, sir?” asked waitress Chris Tyler to a refined-looking gentlemen named Shawn.

“What’s an Aviator?” I nosed.

“It’s just an IPA,” he said after a frothy swig. I noticed the hint of a charming southern drawl, which is what led me to learn of his Virginia/Carolina roots. You can uncover a lot about a stranger you’ll never see again at what is probably the safest watering hole in the city. People are interesting. Odd. And comfortable finding a confidant in a stranger, secure behind the veil of anonymity.

DM Art Center

Shawn, for example, thinks Midwestern girls are “too passive aggressive,” a reaching euphemism for what he really wanted to say, but wouldn’t, for fear of offending. He was in Des Moines last week for a building project. By now, he’s in Georgia, and he’s looking to relocate to Seattle, he said.

“When you jump time zones once or twice a week, your body never really catches up.” He took another swig.

Scanning the oddly quiet crowd of preoccupied air-travelers, the lack of face-to-face interaction gave the bar an exceptionally dull vibe. Everyone was plugged in. So, I continued my intrusions, if not for the stories, then for my own amusement.

“Where you from?” I asked a suit who was sitting at the bar, his face wrinkled with an intoxicated grin.

“North Carolina,” he slurred.

“Whatcha do for a living?”

“I trade stocks on Wall Street,” he said.

After he recovered from the shock of my insulting “sounds like you’re a white collar criminal” comment, he smugly explained how he merely — and legally — “moves people’s money from one place to another.”                 

“Betcha don’t know how much money I handle on a daily basis,” he boasted. “$5 billion.”

“Is that a lot?” I said with rolling eyes. Not impressed.

He pretended to take a phone call, and I moved on to my next visiting victim. This could go on all day between bites to eat, beers (no Anheiser-Busch products, to my friend’s grave disappointment), $2 double cocktails and the occasional conversation, all while a wall of windows beckon one’s attention to the display of the commonplace, yet captivating, comings and goings of jet airplanes along the network of runways — a show so charismatic the room had no need for the numerous flat screen TVs.

Each plane begs the curiosities: Who is on board? Where are they going? Where are they coming from? So many stories sardined behind tiny, round windows where people of all sorts just might be reflecting back at the Iowa Tap Room, wondering the same about us — a facetious reporter, a fickle flyer from the south, a tucked-in, buttoned-down “money-mover” en route to Chicago, a friendly waitress from the south side. Stories from around the world infinitely rotating through. Once unplugged, it makes for a unique social experience. Far from boring. CV

Iowa Tap Room
Des Moines International Airport
5800 Fleur Drive
256-5342
HOURS: 5 a.m.-9 p.m. (closes one hour after the last plane leaves)
HAPPY HOUR: N/A, but $2 doubles all day
KITCHEN: Same as operation hours

 

Botanical Garden