Sunday, February 18, 2018

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Belly Up

Honors Lounge offers unique change to Clive staple


“Oh great. It’s a cop bar.” That was my friend’s first reaction when I invited him to belly up with me at the new Honors Lounge in Clive. And to be honest, it was my first notion, too, after a quick creep on Honors’ Facebook page turned up the bar’s slogan: “Honor For All: Family, Community, Country, Military, Police, Fire, Rescue.” But how unfair of me to let my own inherent guilty conscience hover over the word “police” to form otherwise uninformed inferences about the bar before having even stepped foot inside. So when my presumption concluded in myself looking like that proverbial “ass,” it was well-deserved.

Bartender Stacy Chapman pours one of Honors Lounge’s many signature martinis on a Wednesday happy hour. Look for a grand opening featuring live music from Final Mix coming later this month.

Bartender Stacy Chapman pours one of Honors Lounge’s many signature martinis on a Wednesday happy hour. Look for a grand opening featuring live music from Final Mix coming later this month.

“So are you a retired cop or something?” I asked one of the bar’s three owners, Harri Calhoun.

Shocked, “What? No! Do I look like a cop?” he asked, straightening his back and putting his hands into the pockets of his slacks.

“Kind of,” I reluctantly answered.


“For the past 28 years, I was the Iowa marketing manager for Burger King,” he laughed before accepting my apology graciously.

“I always wanted to be my own owner — my own boss,” he explained. “So I and two friends decided to go into business together and see how it went.”

The two friends are Danny Swisher and Scott Alford — also not cops. Swisher moved to Iowa from Las Vegas, where he was a hospital food and nutrition supervisor, and Alford is a California man who has been an owner/operator in other local restaurant projects. “Not cops. Definitely not cops,” they assured.

The three hope to shed the plights of the building’s recent history as The Point and, before that, the Bombay Bicycle Club, and bring something new and unique to Clive, including: an impressive signature martini list, lunch and dinner menus featuring what might be one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, a significant row of beers on tap, reasonably priced wine and more.

Remaining true to the traditions of its predecessors, Honors Lounge will offer two live music acts per month with ambitions for filling the stage weekly and adding amateur comedy nights and karaoke. The popular patio will be available for private rentals. Foosball is gone, but pool and darts remain. A red-white-and-blue-themed décor, low-table- and booth-seating and a buffet make the joint feel more like a ’50s diner than a seedy music hall.

The change is cool, and folks in the neighborhood who filed in for happy hour martinis seemed happy to have it back. Barely a month old, Honors is still in flux, and a lot of changes are yet to come. Even as we discussed its future, the owners decided to offer a 20 percent discount to anyone with a valid military ID, for example. But it’s not a cop bar. Definitely not a cop bar.

“It’s just about honoring people,” Calhoun said. “That’s what the red, white and blue is all about.” CV

Honors Lounge
8410 Hickman Road, Clive
HOURS: Sun., Mon. 3 p.m.-12 a.m.; Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-12 a.m.; Fri., Sat. 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
HAPPY HOUR: Mon.-Fri. 3-7 p.m.
KITCHEN HOURS: Open-close (tentatively)
ENTERTAINMENT: Live music twice a month — Whiskey Biscuit plays on Saturday, March 8, 9 p.m. Karaoke Wednesday, 6-10 p.m., Friday 6 p.m.-1 a.m.

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