Bars in Des Moines

Select Local Merchants

Midwest Black Angus beef, free of hormones or antibiotics, joins with creative ingredients such as A.1. sauce and chipotle aioli to create more than 15 unique burgers at Legends American Grill. These burgers embody a variety and thirst for excitement that radiates throughout each of the grill's central-Iowa locations. There, nestled amid deep-umber booths or brick walls, diners watch sports flicker across flat-screen televisions, rooting on their team and showing disdain for the ref’s decision to wear white pants after Labor Day. But if the score is disheartening, fans can dig into the menu to cheer themselves up. Hand-cut Creekstone Farms steaks offset surf entrees such as salmon in béarnaise sauce or grilled mahi-mahi in a sweet-and-spicy thai sauce. Comfort-food favorites such as meatloaf and fried chicken also make an appearance, pairing with cocktails and beers served by the bottle and pint.

216 Court Ave
Des Moines,
IA
US

A nondescript black-and-white sign hangs outside The Standard Martini Bar, reflecting the understated elegance inside. Bartenders shake and stir 49 different martinis, including 15 modern interpretations with ingredients ranging from Godiva dark-chocolate liqueur to green tea to banana schnapps. These drinks accompany the eclectic, bistro-style menus of paninis and tapas, which draw inspiration from Cajun, Italian, and Mexican cuisines.

The decor echoes this subtle sense of refinement with its stone columns, paintings-lined walls, and caviar-filled saltshakers. The Standard Martini Bar keeps the environment lively, though, by hosting live music, karaoke nights, and trivia contests throughout the week.

208 3rd St
Des Moines,
IA
US

True to its name, Up-Down is filled with the sounds of glasses being raised or placed on tables, and arcade cabinet joysticks clicking to and fro. The combination bar-arcade features more than 40 games and pinball machines, including Dig Dug, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Terminator 2, as well as three skee-ball alleys and Nintendo and Sega console games. To complement its entertainment, the bar serves 20 regional and local craft beers on tap, and cocktails?with names such as Vega's Bomb and Princess Peach Punch?that serve as sippable nods to retro games. The bar also hosts regular events, which include a monthly Wednesday-night pinball tournament.

500 East Locust Street
Des Moines,
IA
US

At Firehouse Lounge, the sheer array of entertainment?from karaoke to pool tables to televisions glowing with the latest games?is only matched by the array of food. The culinary team grills up hearty plates of steak and homemade onion rings, hot beef sandwiches, and zesty jalape?o poppers. Pours from the bar complement the cuisine, and range from pitchers of beer to a customer favorite: UV drinks of all kinds.

1930 SE 6th St
Des Moines,
IA
US

Originally opened in 1927, the Genesee Theatre slowly deteriorated over the course of the century until its closing in 1989. But starting in 2001, a $23 million cash infusion from the city allowed 120 volunteers to restore the theater to its Gilded Age splendor. Its elegant trappings include authentic wall fabrics, an exact replica of the original marquee, and a 2,200-pound chandelier that gently spotlights the grand lobby and every audience member passing underneath to show how everyone is a star if you really think about it.

1501 Woodland Ave
Des Moines,
IA
US

Z's Bar is the kind of neighborhood spot where everyone feels welcome to stop in and relax over a bite or a drink. During the lunch hour, housemade lunch specials add a homestyle feel to your noontime eats. Z's Bar's laid-back, friendly atmosphere is suitable for everything from happy hours and parties to party-planning-committee meetings.

1511 S Union St.
Des Moines,
IA
US