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Newer, “higher-end” Cabaret opens in Ankeny


Bartender Cassie Wittenbaugh mixes up her signature Sweet Tart Mimosa, a.k.a. “The Baby Maker,” among the women during Wednesday’s unofficial ladies night.

Most night-lifers are familiar with Cabaret in the West Glen Town Center well enough to have an opinion on whether it’s their kind of night club or not. The West Des Moines club is buzzing with youthful energy, contemporary music, pool on the patio and shots all around on any given night. For that reason, it’s one of Cityview’s favorite places to hold annual events such the Des Moines Sexiest People party. But compared to its newly-opened sister location in north Ankeny, the two Cabarets are as different as whiskey and wine. The sister location in Ankeny is more of a hip “aunt” than a sister to the West Glen spot.                 

“Compared to the club in West Des Moines, it’s like night and day as far as atmosphere and clientele,” said manager Pat Greim. “They (West Cab) are a night club. We’re more about wine and catering to a higher-end crowd,” which is exemplified by many observations throughout the place, including a poster in the restroom advertising Stella Artois’ “holiday special prices” at $4.25 a bottle, an extensive wine selection that prices most glasses at $7 and an elegant décor of brick walls, tiled floors and a marble bar top.                 

“It’s changed a lot from when it was Tonic,” said bartender Cassie Wittenbaugh.                 

For more than four years, Tonic drew a loud crowd of college kids that caused neighbors in the residential development across North Ankeny Boulevard to complain to the city about the noise on the patio. Cabaret Bar & Patio owners plan to change all that, Greim said. Although the new bar still draws a younger crowd later in the night en route home from Ames, Wittenbaugh said most of the patrons belly up for happy hour to talk football, politics and current events.               

Despite the “upper crust” crowd that prefers draft beer and wine over Red Bull bombs and Fireball shots, the Cab’s happy hour prices are surprisingly reasonable, and the drink menu is eclectic enough to make it worth the drive up I-35. The Cab is also still evolving to the tastes of its growing clientele, Greim said. Two wooden shelves full of wine varieties tower on either side of the back bar offering seven whites, eight reds, a couple house wines and even a sparkling variety. Since opening in October, Cabaret has already become known for its wine and held its first of a series of free wine tastings on Dec. 11.                 

Another key difference from the old Tonic and its west side counterpart is that Ankeny’s Cabaret is developing a food menu that currently includes a popular prime rib sandwich and garlic parmesan bread bowls, as well as standard bar appetizers. CV


Cabaret bar & patio

2784 N. Ankeny Boulevard 

(515) 965-5481 

Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 3 p.m.-12 a.m.; Fri. 3 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sat. 12 p.m.-2a.m.; Sun. 12 p.m.-12 a.m. 

Happy Hour: Mon.-Fri. 3-7 p.m. 

Kitchen: Mon.-Fri. 5-9 p.m.; Sat. 12-9 p.m.; Sun. 12-7 p.m. (opening for lunch soon, and appetizers are served any time).

Entertainment: Live, acoustic music throughout week; Live DJ Friday nights.

Capacity: 84

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