Monday, September 22, 2014


Cover Story

2014 Best of Des Moines- CULTURE AND NIGHTLIFE

2/26/2014

For more than 20 years, we have called upon you, our readers, to vote in our annual “Best Of Des Moines” contest. And every year it gets stronger in every way: More categories are added, more networks are joined, and more social media buzz and excitement is stirred. So it’s clear this contest truly means a great deal to our local community and its people — the business owners, professionals and service providers who take pride in their hard work and innovative ideas. It’s also important to local consumers to know their own hard-earned dollars are going to the best and their choices as consumers are informed ones.

Cityview readers cast a record 6,000-plus votes in 2011. Our elation over that number now seems silly, as we counted more than 11,000 votes in this year’s Best Of Des Moines poll — our strongest yet. The Cityview you are holding is typically one of our largest issues in page count each year, and, as such, gives our staff some aching migraines. But we couldn’t be more proud.

Now here are the choices our readers voted as the best in shopping, dining, nightlife, sports and recreation and everything else the Greater Des Moines metro area has to offer. Congratulations to our winners and the runners-up.

EATS

SHOPPING

DM Art Center

NIGHTLIFE/CULTURE

SPORTS/REC

BEST OF THE REST

 

Best Annual Event

Iowa State Fair

For the fourth consecutive year, the biggest event in the state claims the “Best Annual Event” award. The Iowa State Fair, which runs from Aug. 7-17 this year, offers something for everyone as thousands travel to the east side of Des Moines to watch a concert, swig down an overpriced beer, eat their weight in fried food and get ready to enjoy some of the best people watching our state has to offer.

www.iowastatefair.com

Runners-up: Des Moines Art Festival; 80/35 Music Festival

 

Best Annual Tent/Block Party

Bacon Bowl Tailgate

Iowans love bacon, and we make no apologies for it. So it’s not surprising that the Iowa Bacon Bowl was voted the best annual tent/block party in this competitive category. Last year’s winner was Dos Rios’ Cinco de Mayo bash, and Ingersoll Live took the title last year. But voters have deemed this Barnstormers’ tailgating party — and the world’s premier bacon festival — their favorite.

http://blueribbonbaconfestival.com

Runners-up: Beaverdale Fall Festival; Ingersoll Live

 

Best Place to Take Visitors

East Village

Interesting upset in this category this year, as voters picked their favorite place to take visitors as the same place they consider the best place to go shopping. The East Village edges out the culturally exquisite winner of last year, Pappajohn Sculpture Park, and the world-famous Iowa State Fair.

Runners-up: Pappajohn Sculpture Park; Iowa State Fair

 

Best Place To People Watch

Iowa State Fair

Fried food, carnies, animal testicles, fanny packs and East Side Night. It’s the only place on Earth where the men’s jeans are tighter on the rear than the women’s, and the ladies have more chin hairs than the men.

www.iowastatefair.org

Runners-up: Downtown Farmers Market; Jordan Creek Town Center

 

Best Museum

Des Moines Art Center

Was there any question? The Des Moines Art Center once again reigns the favorite when it comes to museums in town, according to Best Of voting. The Art Center presents thought-provoking exhibitions and educational programs, as well as hands-on studio art classes. Its current exhibition, Unearthed: Photographed Landscape from the Art Center’s Permanent Collection, runs through June 1 in the Blank One Gallery.

4700 Grand Ave., 277-4405, www.desmoinesartcenter.org

Runners-up: Science Center of Iowa; Iowa Historical Museum

 

Best Place to Catch a Flick

Fleur Cinema and Café

Another year, another win for what our readers consider to be the coolest theater in town. A strong audience following files into the Fleur Cinema and Café on a weekly basis. From award-winning independents to documentaries and foreign treats, the Fleur Cinema is the only theater that also allows adults to imbibe in a beer or glass of wine while enjoying the show.

4545 Fleur Drive, 287-4545, www.fleurcinema.com

Runners-up: Jordan Creek Century 20; Varsity Theater 

 

Best Theatrical Value

Des Moines Playhouse

The Des Moines Playhouse has kept its crown for offering the best shows at the best rates, according to our readers, for the third year running. It may not bring in the big tours, but the Playhouse offers so much more with interesting and intriguing shows ranging from classics to contemporary. Along with the main stage shows, the Playhouse also has the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre, which allows stars of the future to hone their skills in house.

831 42nd St., 277-6261, www.dmplayhouse.com

Runners-up: Des Moines Performing Arts; StageWest

 

Best New Bar

Up-Down

Gas Lamp took over Blues On Grand and was voted “best new bar” in 2012, followed by Exile Brewing Company last year. This year, it’s the Underground’s successor, Up-Down. Owners of the fast-to-fame East Village concert venue, Wooly’s, turned the old dive into a 1980-90s-era game hall, including arcade games, video games and table top games such as extreme Jenga and Connect Four. Our readers think it’s pretty cool — the best new bar, in fact.

500 E. Locust St., 243-4322, www.updowndsm.com

Runners-up: Shotgun Betty’s; The Exchange

 

Best Patio Bar

Wellman’s Pub and Rooftop

The view from the patio draws plenty of people to the west, and the 2012 winner of this category has taken back this title from last year’s favorite, Saints Pub + Patio. It’s one of the only bars in the metro that uses nearly its entire rooftop space for an outdoor patio.

597 Market St., West Des Moines, 222-1100, www.wellmanspub.co

Runners-up: Saints Pub + Patio; Mickey’s Downtown

 

Best Irish Bar

Mickey’s Irish Pub

Mickey’s is a popular hangout whether they’re serving green beer or not, and it’s a staple in this category, holding the title for Best Irish Bar for more than three consecutive years. The fact it hosts live music every weekend at one of its metro locations and throws one of the biggest St. Patrick’s parties in the state also adds to its popularity.

Multiple locations.

www.themickeysirishpub.com

Runners-up: Sully’s Irish Pub; Cooney’s Tavern

 

Best Dive Bar

Toad’s Tavern

The voters have brought back this longtime category winner, Toad’s Tavern. This east-side favorite offers cheap, stiff drinks, darts, pool and a lot of laughter and chatter bouncing off the walls. It’s a come-as-you-are, no judgments kind of hole in the wall where anyone is welcome to hide out.

3002 State Ave., 264-8623, www.toadstavern.net

Runners-up: Carl’s Place; Greenwood Lounge

 

Best Sports Bar

Johnny’s Hall of Fame

A perennial in this category, Johnny’s Hall of Fame handles everything sports-related on Court Avenue with HDTVs everywhere you look, dozens of games and pool tables to enjoy while rooting on your team, and walls covered in sports memorabilia.

302 Court Ave., 280-6679, www.johnnyshalloffame.com

Runners-up: Jethro’s BBQ; Legends

 

Best Bar (Overall)

Joker’s

An upset in this competition, the title for “Best Bar” overall has been handed over to Court Avenue newbie Joker’s after belonging to el Bait Shop for several consecutive years. Joker’s moved into the old Liar’s Club, bringing a stand-up comedy on Friday nights, a sizzling dance floor on the weekends and state-of-the-art DJ services, sounds and lights.

216 Court Ave., 237-5427, www.barmuda/jokersdsm/

Runners-up: Beer Can Alley; El Bait Shop

 

Best Bar District

Court Avenue

Once again the Court Avenue bar district reigns supreme in the eyes of our readers. The downtown area provides a wide variety of bars and restaurants that will appease all, from sports bars, dance clubs and western saloons to breweries, dives, lounges and neighborhood bars. Our readers say it’s the perfect place to start your night with dinner and then finish with last call without leaving the block. 

Runners-up: East Village; Ingersoll

 

Best Downtown Bar

Beer Can Alley

Wrangling away the title from el Bait Shop comes Court Avenue District’s version of a country bar, Beer Can Alley. If not for the live country and southern rock music, the stiff whiskey drinks and cold beer, then come here for the view. It’s always bubbling over with blonde beauties, which may be part of why our readers say it’s the best downtown bar.

216 Court Ave., 554-2606

Runners-up: el Bait Shop; The Exchange

 

Best West Side Bar

Wellman’s Pub and Rooftop

A repeat winner year after year, Wellman’s Pub and Rooftop is once again the favorite of our readers. With a massive rooftop patio, the bar has become a favorite of west side dwellers. Stop out and see the crowds of beautiful people who flock to the patio tables.

597 Market St., West Des Moines, 222-1100, www.wellmanspub.co

Runners-up: Cabaret West Glen; Saints Pub + Patio

 

Best Central Bar

Star Bar

For the fourth year in a row, Star Bar takes the title of the Best Central Bar. Ever-popular with the after-work crowd, Star Bar has grown to be just as favored by the late night carousers and brunch-time belly-uppers. The small but comfortable patio overlooking the hustle and bustle of Ingersoll Avenue is always brimming with people on warm days and nights.

2811 Ingersoll Ave., 244-0790, www.starbardsm.com

Runners-up: Wellman’s Pub – Ingersoll; Carl’s Place

 

Best North Bar

Longtime Derry’s Lounge patron Derik Doherty bought the establishment in 2012. It won “Best North Side Bar” this year.

Longtime Derry’s Lounge patron Derik Doherty bought the establishment in 2012. It won “Best North Side Bar” this year.

Derry’s Lounge

New ownership hasn’t changed a thing at this north side favorite. Tucked away into the backside of Days Inn on Merle Hay Road, Derry’s Lounge offers a hospitality unmatched, where even new people are treated like family.

B, 4845 Merle Hay Road, 278-2810

Runners-up: Yankee Clipper; Cooney’s Tavern

 

Best East Bar

Toad’s Tavern

Aaron Forney is a favorite bartender at Toad’s Tavern, which won “Best East Bar” and “Best Dive Bar” this year.

Aaron Forney is a favorite bartender at Toad’s Tavern, which won “Best East Bar” and “Best Dive Bar” this year.

Last year’s best east side bar remains this year, according to our vote count. Toad’s Tavern has one of the most loyal followings of any old bar in town. The bartenders are friendly, and the patrons are peaceful. You don’t have to be from the east side to belly up here and have good time in the wee hours.

3002 State Ave., 264-8623, www.toadstavern.net

Runners-up: Blazing Saddle; The Hull Avenue Tavern

 

Best South Bar

Francie’s

Although several have battled over this title in years past, Francie’s has been voted as the best south-side bar four consecutive years. The friendly neighborhood bar/restaurant vibe keeps our readers coming back, making them feel at home with the cozy wood paneling and “everybody knows your name” rapport. It’s a great place to stop in for a drink, food or both. This place is a true south side destination.

2100 Wakonda View Drive, 285-5207

Runners-up: Le Boi Bar; Kung Fu Tap and Taco

 

Best Beer Selection

el Bait Shop

For years, el bait Shop has been the Des Moines destination for beer lovers. With more than 100 beers on tap and more than 100 more in the bottle, it has an ale for whatever ails you. Adding to the great selection is the Jimmy Carter Happy Hour on Thursdays, where patrons can sample homebrews they won’t find anywhere else. Meanwhile, Keg Stand is closing the gap, gaining ground and popularity with Cityview readers. 

200 S.W. Second St., 284-1970.

Runners-up: Keg Stand; The Royal Mile

 

Best Place to Get Drunk for Cheap

The Blazing Saddle

Not only can you catch a buzz for cheap at this East Village staple — holding the title in this category for so long we can’t remember how many years it’s been — but it won’t take long to do it as The Saddle pours some of the strongest drinks in town. Happy Hour prices and interactive specials including pull-tabs and beer busts prove that The Saddle is easy on the wallet.

416 E. 5th St., 246-1299, www.theblazingsaddle.com  

Runners-up: Toad’s Tavern; Sully’s Irish Pub

 

Best Cold Beer

Twin Peaks

The beer is so cold at this West Des Moines chain restaurant that the hot waitresses get goosebumps as they set the mugs down on the table. Plus, there’s a temperature gauge mounted on the wall behind the bar that shows the almost-freezing level the kegs are kept at, so each draft is sure to be frothy and frosty.

4570 University Ave., West Des Moines, 528-8294, www.twinpeaksrestaurant.com

Runners-up: el Bait Shop; Jethro’s BBQ

 

Best Moscow Mule

Court Avenue Brewing Co.

Friday night is $4 Classic Mule Night from 4 p.m. to close at Court Avenue Brewing Co., which is likely why voters are confident enough in the recipe to say it’s the best. The Moscow Mule has been a classic cocktail since 1941, but CABCo takes the recipe one step further by using hand-crafted Wertzberger’s Ginger Beer.

Runners-up: Toad’s Tavern; Alpine Tap

 

Best Place for the Strongest Drink

Blazing Saddle

Once again the Blazing Saddle takes home the Strongest Drink award with voters. Don’t be a wuss. If you want a strong drink, look no further than this East Village staple, voted the best in this category year after year.

Runners-up: Toad’s Tavern; Sully’s Irish Pub

 

Best Bar to Play Games

Up-Down

No surprise that our readers’ favorite new bar is also their pick for best game bar. That’s what this place is all about. It’s a basement funhouse offering a wide variety of games for from arcades, to skee ball, to old-school videogames, extreme Jenga and Connect Four and so much more — all from the 1980s and 1990s era. Sweet.

500 E. Locust St., 243-4322, www.updowndsm.com

Runners-up: Breck’s; Toad’s Tavern

 

Best Place to Hook Up

Le Boi Bar

Boy, oh boy, once again, it’s Le Boi that our readers say is sure to get you hooked up at the end of the night. The gay/lesbian bar sees the crowds pouring in even as last call approaches. Don’t forget to pack that cherry chap-stick.

508 Indianola Ave. 953-0473.

Runners-up: Beer Can Alley; Wellman’s Pub and Rooftop 

 

Best Place to See Beautiful People

Wellman’s Pub and Rooftop

Whether packed into the pub for winter or sippin’ on fufu drinks on the rooftop patio, our readers say it’s always hot at Wellman’s in West Glen, voted the best place to see beautiful people most every year.

597 Market St., West Des Moines, 222-1100, www.wellmanspub.com

Runners-up: The Exchange; Le Boi Bar 

 

Best Happy Hour

Americana

For two years in a row, voters have picked Americana for having the best happy hour in the metro. Most likely that’s because the food is priced around $5 during daily happy hours — and we’re talking some fine cuisine, including bruschetta, shrimp cocktail, fried cheese ravioli… you get the point.

1312 Locust St., 243-1397, www.americanadsm.com

Runners-up: Django; Blazing Saddle

 

Best Bartender

Bryan Smith – Blazing Saddle

The Blazing Saddle’s Bryan “Stinky” Smith (left) was voted 2014’s “Best Bartender.”

The Blazing Saddle’s Bryan “Stinky” Smith (left) was voted 2014’s “Best Bartender.”

Somebody finally beat Noah O’Toole, Lime Lounge’s title-holder for years in this category, and readers say it’s Bryan Smith who is the best bartender in Des Moines. He is always quick to get the joke and to share one, and he knows how to pour ’em in true Saddle style. Smith is an all-people kind of person, the way bartenders should be.

Runners-up: Michelle Yager – Lime Lounge; Joe Wells – The Exchange

 

Best Martini Menu

The Standard

A well-deserved upset, readers have replaced The Lift as their favorite for a martini with the new Standard downtown. The martini menu at The Standard ranges from the classics to the contemporary, the latter including flavors such as the Mango Tango, Fudge Pop, Tiki Beach and lots more. Stop in during happy hour and enjoy one for $5 along with live music.

208 Third St., 243-4456, www.thestandardsm.com

Runners-up: The Lift; Lime Lounge

 

Best Margarita

Dos Rios

With six years of domination, Dos Rios is solidifying its claim of offering the best margaritas in town. Besides, you can’t call yourself a “Cantina and Tequila Lounge” unless you make some damn fine margaritas. Our readers love Dos Rios’ margaritas, because they are created with fresh fruit and agave nectar.

316 Court Ave., 282-2995, www.dosriosrestaurant.com

Runners-up: Mi Mexico; El Rodeo

 

Best Gay/Lesbian Hangout

Blazing Saddle

For the fifth year in a row, Blazing Saddle earned the “Best Gay/Lesbian Hangout” from our readers, yet again staving off the competition. Many gay/lesbian hangouts in the metro have come and gone over the years, but Blazing Saddle has 30 years in the East Village — a birthday it recently celebrated — thanks to  fun crowds, strong drinks and a prime location.

112 S.E. Fourth St., 243-3965, www.theblazingsaddle.com

Runners-up: Le Boi Bar, The Garden

 

Best Live Music Venue

Wooly’s

Last year’s newbie is likely to become the title-holder in this category long into the future, as voters decide again that none can compete with the seemingly infinite concert line-up at this East Village venue, where shows often are all-ages and touring headliners mingle backstage with local talents almost nightly.

504 E. Locust, 244-0550, www.woolysdm.com

Runners-up: Gas Lamp; Vaudeville Mews

 

Best Dance Club

The Garden Nightclub

If you’re looking for a place to shake your booty, look no further than The Garden. The repeat winner features multiple levels and dance floors that are always packed. Get down and shake what your momma gave you at The Garden, our readers’ pick yet again for the best dance club in town.

112 S.E. Fourth St., 243-3965, www.grdn.com

Runners-up: Joker’s; Le Boi Bar

 

Best Local Artist

Felicia Coe

D. Ryan Allen was finally succeeded in this category, and readers say it’s aerial artist Felicia Coe who is the metro’s best artist. Along with aerial silks, she’s also mastered lyra, trapeze and horizontal rails, and she’s happy to teach what she knows to those interested in learning the art form. She’s young. She’s beautiful. And she’s the epitome and grace and poise.

www.iowaflygirl.com

Runners-up: James Anthony Bearden; Alex Carter

 

Best Strip Club

The Lumberyard

Their slogan says it all, “Where real men go for wood.” The Lumberyard repeats as the “Best Strip Club” in town and for good reason — the bar offers a number of specials throughout the week including two-for-one private dances, cheap admission, amateur night for local ladies who need to make rent and a ladies’ night. With some of the hottest bodies in town, The Lumberyard is our readers’ favorite place to stuff dollar bills. 1504 N.E. 54th Ave., 265-1019,

www.iwantwood.com

Runners-up: Beach Girls, Big Earl’s Goldmine

 

Best Drag Queen

Tyona Diamond

For years it was Champagne Showers who held the tiara in this category. Then, in 2012, Tyona Diamond nudged herself into the shadows and has held the spotlight with our readers ever since. She’s the queen to beat with a loyal following thanks to her Lady Gaga performances. See Tyona Diamond perform her routines at Le Boi Bar among other places.

Runners-up: Kata Klysmic; Vanessa Taylor

 

Best Local Band

Dead Horse Trauma

These metalheads will be hard to dethrone. Our readers love Dead Horse Trauma, which has been deemed Des Moines’ “Best Local Band” now for its third consecutive year. See them open for numerous touring acts stopping through town in the months to come at a variety of locations.

www.deadhorsetrauma.com

Runners-up: The Snacks; The Nadas

 

Best Local Musician

Bonne Finken

Bonne, Bonne, Bonne. We love you, and so do our readers. This wild woman with pipes that would put a church organ to shame is a hard-working collaborative singer, who can be found on stage with her band The Collective on any given night in any given venue.

Runner-up: James Biehn; Andrew Fleming

 

Best DJ

Pri Yon Joni

By persistent and raucous demand, we’ve added Best DJ to the mix of competition this year, and why not? It’s a popular musical display at nightclubs and parties all across the metro. And debuting in this category is showcase DJ and producer Pri Yon Joni, the DJ voters deemed. This West Des Moines resident and Detroit native is a professional in the field, with more than 19 years of music, performance and production experience in the craft and artistry of mixing, he has taken the booth at more than 90 nightclubs across North America.

http://priyonjoni.com

Runner-up: DJ XAN; DJ Coach G

 

Best Place to Karaoke

Billy Joe’s Lounge

Billy Joe’s holds contests year-round that get people on stage singing like they’re in the shower with no one around to hear. It’s become a hot spot for karaoke lovers, and our readers say, despite the growing trend metro-wide, it’s still the best place to sing badly in public again this year. Unfortunately, though, this will be Billy Joe’s final Best Of award, as the West Des Moines legacy closed after serving one last final Sunday brunch on Feb. 23.

1701 25th St., West Des Moines, 223-9944, www.billyjoes.com

Runners-up: Buddy’s Coral; Jeannie’s Bottle

 

Best Place to Gamble

Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino

One of Altoona’s biggest draws is two for two in this category, garnering the most votes for best place to gamble. When our readers pursue that proverbial American dream, this is where they say they go. It’s a lively date spot, an exciting after-hours and a good way to accidentally spend money and time into the wee hours of the morning… and through lunch… and then dinner. With slots, tables, live music, live horse racing and much more, Prairie Meadows has all the action and the opportunities to get rich quick.

1 Prairie Meadows Drive, Altoona, 967-1000, www.prairiemeadows.com

Runners-up: Meskwaki; Lakeside Casino

 

Best Place for a Wedding Reception

Holiday Inn Mercy Campus

Its central location is just one of many reasons why our readers choose the Holiday Inn downtown for wedding receptions — located just off Interstate 235, near the hub of downtown activities and the hospital in case of emergencies. The newly updated facility includes 251 guestrooms, an indoor pool and a fitness facility, a restaurant a beautifully renovated bar/lounge — something for every guest at any type of event.

1050 Sixth Ave., Des Moines, 283-0151, www.holidayinn.com

Runners-up: Masonic Temple For Performing Arts; Hy-Vee Conference Center

 

Best Place to Hold a Corporate Event/Party

Holiday Inn Mercy Campus

Winning over voters this year, Holiday Inn succeeds last year’s choice, Big City Burgers and Greens, as the place to hold a business gathering. Guests appreciate the hub location, free high-speed, wireless Internet access and a complimentary business center that makes it easy to stay productive. Add in free parking and airport shuttle service, and it’s to understand how this no-fuss route is what’s preferred by Cityview reaers.

1050 Sixth Ave., Des Moines, 283-0151, www.holidayinn.com

Runners-up: Hy-Vee Conference Center; Science Center of Iowa

 

Best Haunted House

Linn’s Supermarket

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this Halloween, the Highland Park grocery story garnered the most votes by readers as putting on the best haunted house during scare season. The old supermarket is professionally transformed into a labyrinth of creepy creatures, spooky lighting, screaming teenagers and surprising around every corner.

3805 Sixth Ave., 282-6318

Runners-up: Slaughterhouse; Sleepy Hollow Scare Park

 

Best Car Show

Good Guys Heartland Nationals

Another win two years running, Good Guys isn’t just good. It’s the best, according to our readers, featuring literally thousands of hotrods,customs, classics, muscle cars and trucks and more, this is one event that gets folks flocking to the Iowa State Fairgrounds at each event. The Good Guys 23rd Heartland Nationals is coming up in July.

www.good-guys.com

Runners-up: Salisbury House; Madrid

 

Best New Year’s Eve Event/Party

The Bash – Des Moines Social Club

A lot of exciting things are happening at the Des Moines Social Club these days. Having moved into its new permanent location at the old Firehouse downtown affords it the ability, resources and space to offer a plethora of outside-the-box types of activities, performance, classes, etc. One showcase of this is its annual The Bash NYE party. Like a trip back in time to the swing days, the period from which social clubs were spawned. Dress up, put on a pair of dancing shoes and find someone to kiss, because our readers recommend attending The Bash on the big night above all others. (The Grand Opening of the DMSC is slated for May 10.)

900 Mulberry St., 369-3673, www.desmoinessocialclub.org

Runners-up: Science Center of Iowa’s Noon NYE; Gatsby Party – The Venue

 

Best Public Transportation

Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART)

Although many central Iowans prefer their bicycles, motorcycles and personal vehicles for travel, this is Iowa, and sometimes streets are practically impassible. Cityview readers hop the DART bus in such cases. DART is the largest public transit agency in Iowa, serving 19 cities in and around Polk County, and with new routes developed this year, the reach is even greater.

620 Cherry St., 283-8100, www.ridedart.com

Runners-up: Metro Transit Authority; D-Line

 

Best Event Décor Company

InnovativEvents

Whether it’s a corporate event or meeting, a tradeshow, a wedding or receptions, themed party or non-profit gala, InnovativEvents is the best place to trust with handling all the décor needs, sans the stress and pressure, according to our readers. This is an inaugural category this year, and InnovativEvents is its first champion.

4007 S.E. 34th St., 287-2887, www.innovativevents.com

Runners-up: Bella Flora; One Source Events

 

Best Party Event Transportation

Absolute Transportation

Cityview readers have voted Absolute Transportation as the best party bus option in town for three years running. In fact, it’s the only winner in this fairly new category so far. Whether you need a party bus, limo or trolley, Absolute has you covered. Let the professionals handle the driving while everyone else parties and has all the fun.

9610 N.W. Beaver Drive, 210-5149, www.absolutepartybus.com

Runners-up: Majestic Limo; NPI Limo

 

Best Paint and Sip Art Studio

Glazed Expressions

Cityview readers love Glazed Expressions. It’s taken several Best Of wins this year and is also the first to win “Best Paint and Sip Art Studio” in this inaugural category. For as long as three hours, guests can enjoy a painting and class-fusion project and a bottle (or two or more) of wine or a few beers as well as a potluck or picnic of food. This is for the women and men who might want to try something different for a night out, who have reached that point in their lives where the people they really want to spend time with are also the ones you don’t want to lose in a crowd. So paint, sip and enjoy creating a work of art together.

8826 Swanson Blvd., Clive, 224-4700, www.glazedexpressions.com

Runners-up: Social Canvas; Wine and Canvas

 

Best Place to Call for a Sober Ride

Drivers On Call

Drivers On Call continues to keep control of this category year after year. Our readers trust it as the service to pick you up when you’re falling down. It offers one of the best deals, too. Depending on the location (usually around $30), Drivers On Call will pick up clients wherever they are and drive their vehicle home for them. Although it costs a little more than a cab ride, our readers say it’s worth it.

609 N.E. Sixth St., 778-9007

Runners-up: Yellow Cab; Capital Cab

 

Best Bail Bondsman

Kenny’s Bail Bonds

For those times when you, a family member or friend gets caught having too much fun, Cityview readers trust bail bonds company Kenny’s as the best in the Des Moines metro. With 17 years of experience, owner Kenny Nulph has a reputation with his clients as being professional and trustworthy, understanding that “bad things happen to good people.”

2051 E. Euclid Ave., 707.5000, www.kennysbailbonds.com

Runners-up: Lederman Bail Bonds; Absolute Bail Bonds CV

Botanical Garden