Monday, August 8, 2022

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Take a break from the chaos at the Stuffed Olive and Voodoo Lounge


The Stuffed Olive and Voodoo Lounge opened recently at 208 Third St. in Des Moines.

The Stuffed Olive and Voodoo Lounge opened recently at 208 Third St. in Des Moines.

Fans of the old Standard Martini Bar might be disappointed to see the sign has been taken down and replaced by one with a new name, but the long list of martinis is still present at the Stuffed Olive.

Under the new management of Barmuda Companies, the Stuffed Olive and its upstairs counterpart Voodoo Lounge have an updated restaurant featuring tapas, martinis and an array of top-shelf liquors.

Both areas have been upgraded from their former establishments, but the new Voodoo Lounge is significantly different from the dance club vibe it had when it used to be Image Nightclub.

“Voodoo is about the people, the music and the atmosphere, as well as the ability to enjoy friends in a setting that’s conducive to conversation,” said Darin Beck, CEO of Barmuda.

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Without the dance floor, it’s now a trendy hangout suitable for groups big and small. Low lighting and even lower couch seating makes it an appealing place for an intimate gathering with a circle of close friends. Two pool tables and open space for standing — and maybe a little dancing — add some liveliness to the ambiance.

The prices are typical for a competitive, upscale establishment in the metro, with martinis all hovering around the $9 mark. Instead of happy hour, you can find nightly specials like Wine Wednesdays, where drinks are half-price all night.

The Stuffed Olive’s drink menu is pretty impressive, with eight pages of different martinis. And if that doesn’t seem like enough variety, they also allow you to pick your favorite gin or vodka in many of them — they were nice enough to put a list of all the top-shelf liquors served there in the front of the menu so you can always get exactly what you want.

It looks like these swanky lounges might just be the next big thing in the Des Moines area’s developing entertainment scene. The chill atmosphere of such hangouts is a nice contrast to other bars that line the Court Avenue District.

“We’re hoping to bring yet another layer of evening and late-night fun to what is already the premier party district in the metro,” said Beck.

Due to the slightly higher prices, it may not be an everyday retreat for college students and young professionals who are still thinking about student loans. But everyone needs a night out, and the Stuffed Olive and Voodoo Lounge are the perfect settings for an elegant meal and a fun night — grownup style.

There comes a time when barhopping and boot chugging seem like more of a hassle than a good time. You’ll know that’s happened to you when you find yourself yelling, “I can’t hear you; why is this music so loud?” to the person next to you as you watch all the “crazy people” on the dance floor.

It’s not that you’re getting old; you’ve just been craving a calmer setting where you can kick back, enjoy a fancy drink and share some really good appetizers.

And downtown’s newest duo has all three. CV

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