Peace Tree Brewing Company takes its name from the ancient sycamore tree that currently peeks its head through the watery surface of Lake Red Rock. Legend has it before the tree was half submerged in water, it served as a meeting place for negotiations between natives and traders. Above all, the tree stood as a symbol of neighborly conversation, friendship, and agreement—aspects of life that Peace Tree Brewing Company hopes to facilitate with their frosty beers and neighborhood atmosphere.
Inside Peace Tree’s taproom, which is open Wednesday through Sunday, visitors can gather for tours of the brewery or sit and enjoy its year-round beers on draft. Sippers can introduce their taste buds to the malty flavor of Red Rambler or prepare themselves for the blend of American and English hops in the Hop Wrangler. Occasionally, guests might find seasonal brews available for taste, such as Cornucopia, an ale brewed with Iowa sweet corn, or the heavy and malty Imperial stout. Since the taproom has taken a vow of hunger, it doesn’t serve food, but it does have a bundle of local takeout menus that visitors can use to order food they can enjoy alongside their drinks and the occasional performance of local live music.
Premiere Bowling thrills pin smashers and beam blasters of all ages with a variety of family-friendly games and activities. Each bowling lane is equipped with its own seating area and 32-inch LCD TV for computerized tallying, and optional automatic bumpers keep pint-size alley sharks from gutter-ball unglory ($1–$3.50 per game; shoe rental $2–$3.50 per player). During Friday and Saturday evenings the lights are dimmed to make way for lazer bowl ($5 per game), featuring black lights, fog, and futuristic lasers, as the latest popular tunes and Benedictine hymns are pumped through the alley's sound system. Next door to the house of pin punishment, Extreme Lazer Tag houses more than 2,200 square feet of playing area shrouded in foggy darkness, perfect for living out video-game-hero dreams, working out tensions with your roommate, or living out your fantasy of starting a ragtag militia of space marines with Mark from accounting ($6 per person for a 7.5-minute bout).
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.
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.
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.