Nightlife in Johnston

Select Local Merchants

As reported by the DesMoinesRegister.com, Pickett's pub could be carved from the timber of an enormous tree, with stacked log walls, a fireplace, and a menagerie of mounted moose heads. Though moderately unobtrusive from the road, diners are greeted to pool tables, video games, darts, and a large horseshoe-shaped bar where mixologists sling beers as well as concoctions of mixers and fruity schnapps. Pickett's also grills up juicy full-pound burgers and daily specials such as jumbo shrimp and full-pound top sirloin steaks.

6014 NW 59th Ct
Johnston,
IA
US

Bombay Bicycle Club, a vintage rock 'n' roll bar, fills up starved stomachs and eardrums alike with its decadent menu and floor-stomping live musical acts. Hum along to an eternally rotating roster of blues, punk, and country artists through a crunchy mouthful of deep-fried pizza dunked in homemade batter ($5) or pickle chips served with chipotle ranch ($3.50). Rhythmically wash down decadent eats with a cascade of one of 30 tap beers ($3–6) or a brown paper bag-clad 40-ounce brew ($8). Nose-ringed nostalgists can relive their mohawked childhoods with the After School Special, a deep-fried peanut butter and jelly ($4), while famished impersonators can use the peanut butter and bananas of the deep-fried Elvis sandwich ($5) to smear gourmet sideburns on their cheeks.

8410 Hickman Rd
Clive,
IA
US

Twenty-three televisions line the wall, and the crack of pool balls colliding resounds while nearby a cheer erupts as a dart hits the bull's-eye. Rookies Sports Bar & Grill is a haven for the sports fan, demonstrated on parts of the menu dubbed “pre-game warm-ups” and “big leagues.” Chefs hand bread their onion rings and stuff sandwiches with blackened chicken and sirloin steak. They flip an octet of all-star burgers including the texas burger, a half-pound patty smothered in chili, cheddar cheese, and grilled onions. In addition to cooking American mainstays such as ribs, the staff presents karaoke and trivia, which ought not be combined into one event, lest someone sings the names of the president to a Boyz II Men melody.

2180 NW 156th St
Clive,
IA
US

The Underground boasted four CityView awards in 2009, including Best Bartender and Best Bar Overall. The laid back subterranean space presents live music most nights, hosting both local and national acts. Hide away from the world and its impossible crossword puzzles with well drink ($3) or draft beer ($3–$4) flanked by helping of Frank's pizza ($8). The bar also offers a wide selection of wines by the glass ($7) and martinis that will leave you shaken, not obliterated ($7). This game-friendly drinkery also features billiard tables and dartboards for pool sharks and target tunas. The Underground is 21 and over after 9 p.m. Most live music shows are free, but there is the occasional cover charge (not covered by the Groupon) so be sure to check the schedule before planning your rock-filled evening.

500 E Locust St
Des Moines,
IA
US

The long stem of a martini glass serves a purpose beyond its elegant appearance—it keeps the concoctions it bears cold without ice, which can dilute even the most potent cocktail. A practiced bartending staff uses these slender glasses to hold the more than 30 martinis that dot Lime Lounge’s drink menu, each of which is infused with premium liquors. Mango purée and a hint of chili pair with Absolut vodka in the Mango Tango, a staff favorite, and classic gin and vodka martinis, prepared to each guests' specifications, contain blue-cheese-stuffed olives or cocktail onions. The Lounge's selection of frozen cocktails don't need a martini glass to stay chilled, instead blending rum or tequila with ultra-fine shaved ice to induce an intoxicating brain freeze. With cocktail in hand, patrons can roam the contemporary interior, taking in the lights-and-sound spectacle and tapping their feet in time to live music or DJ sets.

2706 Ingersoll Ave
Des Moines,
IA
US

The skilled chefs at Carlos O’Kelly’s Mexican Cafe whip up burritos, enchiladas, and sizzling fajitas to fill an extensive menu of south-of-the-border cuisine. Diners push aside still-steaming nacho and quesadilla starters as a waiter approaches, arms meticulously stacked with plates of enchiladas and burritos ($8.99–$9.99 each). Chefs slather spinach and mushroom enchiladas in butter garlic sauce, and the burro en fuego specialty burrito befuddles meat detectors by burying contraband shredded beef and spicy chili sauce deep inside a warm flour tortilla. Diners can also look over a gluten-free menu to bite into enchiladas and fajitas prepared on corn tortillas as, in the kitchen, blenders buzz up pomegranate and strawberry frozen margaritas into salt-rimmed glasses for frozen fruit consumption without fear of stuck tongue.

4371 Merle Hay Rd
Des Moines,
IA
US