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Take a Spring Break at Beer Bucket and Burgers


Modern Generations karaoke DJ (on Saturday nights), Todyanna Frakes, rocks out at Beer Bucket and Burgers.

Modern Generations karaoke DJ (on Saturday nights), Todyanna Frakes, rocks out at Beer Bucket and Burgers.

It may not be as pump priming as Panama City, and it’s certainly colder than Cancun, but Spring Break means things are heating up at Beer Bucket and Burgers on Des Moines’ northeast side. Whether students are back home from school looking to take their minds off of the fact they couldn’t afford a Spring Break getaway, or out-of-state students are returning to the metro from vacation hot spots looking for a watering hole before starting a new term next week, college “kids” abound at this Hull Avenue hub. Why? It’s in the name: Beer — buckets of beer — and burgers — and all for a price that a college student’s budget can reasonably swing.

“We pride ourselves on having the lowest drink prices in Des Moines,” said co-owner Kenneth Huisman before rattling off a list of them all priced under $3. “Our wells are $2.50, but a lot of times we have drink specials where calls, like Captain and Coke or Jack and Coke, are only $2.50, too.”

Sometimes that deal drops even more, such as during the Saturday special when domestic beers, calls and shots are priced at two bucks.

“And if you show your college ID, it’s buy-one-get-one on your first round,” added co-owner Jenny Hanson. “If you buy one of our T-shirts or wear one of our T-shirts in, your first drink is on us. If you ride your bike (motorcycle) here, your first drink is on us.”

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Hanson and Huisman have nailed down the college-poor-cheap theme for Beer Bucket and Burgers since taking over ownership in January, but many things are still in the planning phases. Hanson said they hope to add bike nights on Wednesdays this spring, live music outside and even bikini nights (for women AND men) and Jello wrestling events featuring “touring professionals” as well as ambitious local amateurs — just about anything their customers command.

“If they want something, and it’s something we can do, we’ll start doing it,” Huisman said. “It’s very important to us that we meet every customer, talk to them and cater to their needs. That’s why there is always at least one owner here, and most of the time we’re both here.”

In fact, Hanson is not only half-owner, she’s also head cook. And the food menu is just about as easy on the wallet as the drink menu, featuring two tacos for $2 on Taco Tuesday and “family-style” dinners such as meatloaf, spaghetti, gumbo and other comfort foods for $5.50 a plate.

“We’re a family neighborhood bar,” Hanson said. “That’s why we want to keep our prices low enough for everybody to enjoy.”

Even the educated poor and the poorly educated. Cheers to that. CV

Beer Bucket and Burgers
910 Hull Ave.
HOURS: Tuesday-Thursday 4 p.m.-close; Friday-Sunday noon-2 a.m.
HAPPY HOUR: Every day all day
KITCHEN HOURS: Whenever the bar is open, so is the kitchen
ENTERTAINMENT: Modern Generations Karaoke on Thursday and Saturday


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