Monday, May 16, 2022

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Norm’s Pub


A Waukee bar where you can bank on having a good time.

Bartenders Amber and Shannon mix drinks for bar patrons at Norm’s Pub in Waukee.

A 100-plus-year-old fixture located in the heart of downtown Waukee was formerly a bank, and, most recently, a bar called “Chops.” It was shuttered after the owner’s death. Today, the bar has reopened as Norm’s Pub — an ode to the character on the classic television show “Cheers.”

Local residents are happy for the reopening and the renovations. On a snowy evening, patrons sat at the bar, chatting about how it has changed. Most say the pub looks brighter with its marbled bar and new gray and red bar stools.

The pool table, formerly located in the center, moved to the patio in the back, freeing up room for more tables. The enclosed, heated patio contains video games, big-screen TVs and foosball. Behind the patio is an outdoor pickle ball court. Ryan Lathrop, co-owner with his uncle Brad, explains why he installed it.

“When Smash Park opened, I was playing pickle ball, and I got tired of paying for courts all the time,” he says.

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There is no draft beer, but no worries. There are more than 50 available bottles and cans, including $3 imports on Fridays. There are three different happy hours on Sundays through Thursdays. Daily specials include call liquor. For example, Smirnoff’s, Jim Beam and Captain Morgan are $3.50 on Tuesdays.

Food options include free hotdogs during happy hour, free biscuits and gravy on weekends, or you can order a Heggies Pizza.

With Norm’s Pub housed in an old bank, there’s still a vault in the basement. The patrons murmured stories about it being haunted, so I had to check it out. Amber the bartender and I walked down the wooden, dark staircase. Sadly, no ghosts or stacks of cash appeared, and the dwelling resembled an old farmhouse basement. However, the vault may be resurrected at some point.

“We haven’t cleaned it up yet,” says Ryan, “but it’s a cool part to keep the bank feel alive.”

With two other neighboring bars, The Kee and Kenny’s Garage, the place is a sweet spot for barhopping party buses. Ryan says his family grew up a few blocks away, and he likes the nice, clean neighborhood bar.

“It’s someplace you can feel at home. It’s not too cliquish. Whether you are a regular who has come in for years, or brand new, you want people to feel good, with good prices, bartending and atmosphere,” he says. ♦

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