Friday, July 29, 2016


Posted May 18, 2016in Belly Up

Jelly beans, grandfather clocks and German castles

  What do jellybeans, grandfather clocks and German castles have in common? A lady sitting at Des Moines’ east side Maingate Bar knows. Chrystal Smith alternates between sips from of a glass of Southern Comfort on her left and a Coca-Cola she keeps on her right. She’s brought in a

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Posted May 11, 2016in Belly Up

Noce couples first-class jazz with classic-style cocktails

It’s Tuesday night at Des Moines’ hopping jazz joint, Noce. The three-piece band on stage mixes a cello’s deep bass with the sound of a brass horn and a piano.The dimly-lit ambiance pulses with energy. The music’s volume is low enough for conversation, but loud enough you can still feel

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Posted May 04, 2016in Belly Up

Crown warfare

    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

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Posted April 27, 2016in Belly Up

B&G Bar — ‘a good place to relax’

  B&G Bar is an upbeat place where people go to relax. But it isn’t boring, at least not according to bar regulars Haris Zuljevic and Semir Dzankovic. “The craziest thing I’ve ever seen was three bartenders dancing on the bar,” Zuljevic said. European music plays in the background, and

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Posted April 20, 2016in Belly Up

Kung Fu Tap & Taco

  Have you ever wondered how Kung Fu Tap & Taco received its name? Brad “Fatty” Smith is the co-owner and bartender, and he said his partner first thought of idea. “My partner said, ‘What if we called it, Kung Fu?’ ” Smith said. They both laughed, but they didn’t

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Posted April 13, 2016in Belly Up

Beechwood — a great dive bar without the ‘dive’

  Before the building was the Beechwood Lounge, at various times it was a bank, a federal prison and even an LGBT bar, at least according to longtime bartender Nic Bell. “There used to be a poll and dance stage right here,” Bell motions to the rear area of the

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Posted April 06, 2016in Belly Up, Cover Story

Granite City puts new spin on Sunday brunch

Granite City has been a staple restaurant and brewery in Clive for 15 years, especially as the spot for one of the best brunches in Des Moines. In those 15 years, Granite City’s buffet-style brunch has seen little change, until now. “We’ve had one of the more successful brunches in

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Posted April 01, 2016in Belly Up

LCI Church to serve alcohol

Churches around the country and the metro are consistently looking for ways to make attendance easier, more convenient and more entertaining. Most offer coffee, allow casual dress and provide childcare. But one downtown church is raising eyebrows while pushing this concept to a whole new level. According to city documents,

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Posted March 23, 2016in Belly Up

Superman bought a Schlitz

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope. It’s Superman and Batman arguing about Tanya Tucker and Reba McEntire while sipping on bottles of Schlitz. Welcome to All in the Family Lounge. “It’s a neighborhood bar,” said Manager Deb Fisher, when asked what makes the place special. She’s worked

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Posted March 16, 2016in Belly Up

Stan and his old-school bar

“Everybody calls it a dive,” said Candice Crane, the bartender at Stan’s Place on Second Avenue. She goes on to say they’re also known for doing “free pours,” which means they don’t measure how much alcohol goes in each drink. “That’s kind of rare,” she said. The sign out front

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