Thursday, June 1, 2023

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Belly Up To...

Good times at Gas Lamp


Gas Lamp is an old-school music venue in the Western Gateway portion of downtown that recently finished some redecorating.


Co- owner James G. Wilson said his bar’s success is partially due to the prosperity of the Western Gateway. He also said they provide a safe place for people to party, socialize and enjoy live music. (Photo submitted)

“There are no more nudes,” said Antonio Javier Manilla Rodriguez IIV. “It’s the end of an era.”

Rodriguez is speaking of the iconic Playboy centerfolds that used to line the restroom walls. They’ve been taken down, and he said some customers have jokingly griped about the changes. The bar has maintained the rest of its creative ambiance, though, as the TVs are still silently playing white noise, a cigarette machine is still non-functioning in the back, and the music is still alive and well.

Rodriguez is the behind-the-scenes guy at the Gas Lamp. He makes sure the proverbial trains run on time.

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“I do some of everything, except the booking,” Rodriguez said. “I do the marketing, promoting, the social media, the photos, the videos and now I do the live sound, too.”

He also works the door sometimes and about anything else that is asked of him. On top of that, this isn’t Rodriguez’s only gig; he works two other jobs as well. But nothing compares to the Gas Lamp.

“This is the ‘fun job,’ ” he laughed.

Although Kum & Go purchased the bar’s building when it decided to build a new headquarters across the street, the bar doesn’t have any plans to close.


Irish Gold A simple drink specialized by Deckar Lynch, bartender. 3 ounces of Tullamore Dew 2 ounces of Peach Schnapps, and finish with ginger beer and a splash of orange juice. (Photo by Antonio Rodriguez)

It’s an old building, but Rodriquez thinks it’s a good one, even though some say Gas Lamp is a “dive bar.”

So is it?

“We’re trying to keep it clean and family friendly,” he laughed, adding that he wouldn’t hesitate to take a first date there. “But we’d have to go to one of those low-key shows. Or stay out on the patio all night.” ■



Gas Lamp

1501 Grand Ave., Des Moines


Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday – Saturday, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday hours are yet to be determined

Happy Hour: 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.




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