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American Outlaws — taking time to get it right


Opening a bar has never been the easiest thing for owners. There’s music, drinks, new customers and hundreds of other preparations and purchases that need to be made before the big opening day.

Jason Smithson renovated Kamoto Club into American Outlaws.

Jason Smithson renovated Kamoto Club into American Outlaws.

American Outlaws opened as a newly renovated bar on Oct. 23 after Kamodo Club closed there for good in 2015. Owner Jason Smithson restored the entire facility in seven months, and it’s now two floors instead of one. The bar is virtually unrecognizable for anyone who has been to there in the past.

Two new bars, dance floors and a new second floor are just a few of the additions to the now country-rock bar.

“Jason had been in a club atmosphere for quite some time, so he decided he wanted to do something different,” said Pamala Smithson. She explained that, after closing Kamodo Club, he decided a country-rock bar was next in his plans.

Prep Iowa

Completely new floors, stairs and tables are also new additions since October. The bar features new drink menus, a free pool table, arcade games and a playlist featuring country music with a rock twist. American Outlaws even has a great twist on the classic Moscow Mule — logically named the Outlaw Mule.

American Outlaws has been open for a little more than three months, and Smithson said business has been great. Not only does the bar feature daily happy hour deals, it doesn’t have a cover charge, no matter the event. From $3 tallboys to 9-ounce glasses filled with the cocktails of your choice, no matter the day, there’s always a great deal.

Many changes have been made, but the improvements won’t stop there. American Outlaws plans to keep growing and changing.

“We’re going to do shuttles this summer to Principal Park and Wells Fargo and back,” said Smithson, who said he not only wants to help Des Moines traffic on game days or weekend events at Wells Fargo, but wants to draw in a new crowd to the downtown bars.

Smithson said American Outlaws is a clean, classy bar for everyone to enjoy, not just the downtown bar-goers, and it is a step up in quality, bartenders and drinks.

She also noted the importance of downtown and working together with other businesses instead of trying to steal their customers.

“We’re just worried about what we can do to make our bar outstanding. We’re not trying to take anyone away from Court Avenue,” said Smithson.

As of now, American Outlaws is open Wednesday through Sunday, but that could be changing in the future. With renovations and changes still in the works, Smithson is taking the time to get it right.

“We want to stay healthy for downtown,” said Smithson. CV

American Outlaws

214 Third St. • 778.6348
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 5 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Happy hour: 5-9 p.m.

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