A titillating tequila bar
Black Sheep in the East Village is unlike any other bar in Iowa, and that’s the way Frankie Farrell, the bar’s owner, designed it.
“Des Moines wants to be hip so bad, yet there are really not a lot of hip things going on in nightlife, and people just go with it. It wasn’t something I wanted to live in or with anymore when I started designing this content,” Farrell says.
For the uninitiated, Black Sheep is located in a basement in the East Village. Its entrance features a neon red double cross above the black door, lit only when the bar is open. Inside the bar, religious candles are lit in a dark room, with more red neon signs casting light on other art and occult-like decor. One popular social media-ready sign reads, “Tint their hearts with dark,” but Farrell is not concerned with this popularity.
“I wouldn’t have put some bullshit cheesy quote from a Kerouac book up in neon. That’s not me, I’m not ripping shit that I feel will gain mass appeal,” he says. “I wanted to be a shepherd for lost sheep, people who were lost in the sea of wolves, and guide them to a greater nightlife experience.”
Complimented by the unique setting is the bar’s unique drink menu, which focuses on tequila. Not since the days of Dos Rios has the city seen a tequila menu this well rounded and expansive.
“Tequila is such a beautiful liquor — natural, filled with so many notes and so many different flavors and feelings attached, if drank correctly, it induces a happy euphoric inebriation for me,” he says.
His favorites are Hussong’s, Vida Mezcal and 1921, but Farrell says the bar also stocks Patron and Jose Cuervo for the “gringos.”
The 900-square-foot space also hosts nightly DJs — including Sid Wilson of Slipknot — who primarily spin vinyl and aim to play genres, like beach goth, that other bars shy away from.
As for Halloween, Farrell doesn’t believe in the seasonal novelty of it all, not at his bar.
“I’m sure Court Avenue will have some cool parties with bloody sheets and skanky costumes,” he says. ♦