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Belly Up

Discover the ‘secret’ of The Flying Moose

1/2/2019

Happy hour, basement party atmosphere are a big draw.

On a Monday night, the Flying Moose in Clive bustled with the after-work crowd looking to start the week off right with two-for-one drinks. But these bargain drink hunters don’t need to leave at 6 o’clock, as this happy hour goes until 8 p.m. every night. And on select nights, hungry patrons can purchase $5 burgers, $2 tacos and $8 steaks.
Owner R.D. Summers was just 26 years old when he bought the place in 2012 and renamed it The Flying Moose. Since 1985, there’s been a bar housed there, including the Fox Lounge, Bogey’s and others. It’s hidden just off Hickman Road, less than a quarter mile west of 86th Street.

R.D. says the happy hour is a big draw. When he first opened the bar, he put together a business plan. His real competition was not Clive bars; it was Des Moines metro area bars.

“We looked to see how we could set ourselves apart from downtown and the West Glen area,” he says. “Nobody else has happy hour until 8, so it’s something we’ve kept going.”

And it works. Even though R.D. could guzzle unlimited drinks himself, he chooses not to and feels that’s part of his business success. He stopped drinking alcohol five months before opening his bar.

“It helps if the owner doesn’t drink,” he says, referring to himself.

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That’s another reason why the Flying Moose offers other options besides just booze. With two pool tables, a dozen big-screen TVs, video games and a new 4-player Pac Man Battle Royale, players can hang out to play, drink and eat.

“If people want to come for just two beers – or stay and party four hours – we treat everyone the same,” he says. “It’s like a basement party all the time.”

Yet it’s also a place to conduct business. Monday evening’s crowd consisted of a networking group and a pair recording a video.

Jacob Repp, who had just finished recording a Facebook Live marketing video, says he meets business contacts frequently at the bar. He’s reluctant to give away the “secret” of the bar’s attraction.

“It’s good for social networking events, especially if I’m buying for clients, because they get two for one drinks and good food. There’s lots of space, and it’s not too loud,” he says.

A select demographic clientele doesn’t frequent the Moose. R.D. says they pride themselves for offering a comfortable atmosphere to hang out by yourself or in a big group.

“We have people from ages 21 to 71,” he says. “It’s a melting pot of everyone, local neighbors, chilling out and having a good time.” ♦

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