Flash back to 2009. It’s fourth and goal. The Iowa Hawkeye football team is down four points with two seconds left. The team has won 11 straight games going back to the previous season,
but its unbeaten streak is on the line as they line up for one last play in Lansing, Michigan. If you’re a Hawkeye, you know what’s next.
The Spartans blitz, and it’s “Stanzi… to McNutt… TOUCHDOWN!”
The Hawks pulled out the 15-13 victory, and pandemonium erupted among the Iowa faithful across the state. According to The Den owner Chris Mosier, mayhem happened at his bar, too. He says it is the single craziest moment in his watering hole’s history.
“It was like a dog pile in here,” he said. “You would have sworn you were at the game.”
Mosier says it’s that kind of atmosphere that makes the bar a good place to watch sports, especially when local teams are playing.
“Definitely Iowa and Iowa State oriented,” he said of the establishment. “More toward Iowa, but I’ll go for Iowa State as long as they aren’t playing Iowa.”
The Den is located on Merle Hay Road in Des Moines at Hay Market Square and offers the National Football League (NFL) Sunday Ticket and hosts both men’s and women’s fantasy football leagues.
“Then at the end of the year, the winners of each league play each other for a battle of the sexes,” Mosier said.
He said the ladies have been coming out on top lately.
“Most of us guys overthink things,” he said.
The bar has been around about 10 years. One reason for its success is The Den’s famous Crown bombs. Mosier starts with a frozen mug and then adds a shot of Crown Royal. The drink is finished with Red Bull.
Mosier says the frozen mugs are what set The Den’s product apart from similar drinks served elsewhere. What’s his proof? Patrons at the bar consume more than 20 bottles of Crown Royal a week.
“If you get a Crown bomb anywhere else, it won’t be the same,” he said.
There is more than just drinking at The Den. There’s eating, too, with weekly dinner specials, including the best deal in town, at least according to Mosier.
“I think it’s the best steak dinner in all of Des Moines,” Mosier said about his Monday night steak night. “You get a 12-ounce top sirloin, a baked potato along with a salad and garlic bread, all for $10.”
From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the bar also has a weekend $5 breakfast, which is a hot seller.
“We used to (offer it) until noon, but then half our regulars would be here late (from the previous night), come in the next afternoon and say, ‘I wish you served breakfast.’ So we serve breakfast for the late runners.”
The kitchen puts out homemade pizzas with cheese, pepperoni and sausage for $10 and homemade enchiladas with beef or chicken for $3. Mosier said the hottest seller is the grinder sandwich, and his secret weapon is using local Graziano’s sausage.
How would Mosier describe the place to an outsider?
“Crown bombs, good food and good people,” he said. CV
4369 Merle Hay Road, 515-334-0030
HOURS: Monday through Thursday, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Lunch: Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dinner: daily 5:30-9:30 p.m.