We didn't get food while we were there but we sure did get drinks! I was a bit overwhelmed but also excited by all the draft beer choices. I knew I wanted to try something new, so I was leaning towards the Exile Hannah because it's local to Des Moines. However, I randomly asked to try one that had a fox for its handle because I'm obsessed with foxes (aka Wrigley), and it turned out to be a pear cider! AND IT WAS DELICIOUS! It ended up being Crispin's Pear Cider, and it was so refreshing. The perfect choice for a spring night. Caleb did end up getting an Exile Hannah, but he also tried a horsehead, which is ginger beer and bourbon. He liked it, but loved the Exile beer the most. We didn't get food this time because we ate dinner elsewhere, but everything that was coming out of the kitchen smelled and looked super yummy!
Ambience + Atmosphere
El Bait Shop is super cool. That's the best way I can describe it. It's a big tropical shack filled with fun people. It's a little loud, but you can still have a conversation...which is a nice thing to say about a bar if you ask me! The bar area is crowded, so you need to be patient about getting a drink, but once you finally have one in your hand and you can move away you're good. It's definitely a casual bar and a great place to spend your Saturday night with friends.
Parking is hard to come by near El Bait Shop but if you drive around a little bit you'll eventually find something. I've heard biking there is a big thing. I'm not familiar with the DART (Des Moines bus system), but I believe there are stops near the bar. It's located in downtown Des Moines and is near a lot of other really great restaurants and bars.
Extras + Details
If you want to sit while you're at El Bait Shop, just stalk a table. Turn around seems pretty decent so if you're patient you can get a table. From there you're golden, because they do have servers that walk around and will continue to take your order. There is no cover charge to get in, which will always have me going back. They have over 100 beers on tap, so you'll never get bored (hopefully) with the selection they have! You can also try as many as you want, which is so helpful with that many beers to choose from.
I absolutely loved this bar. It was so much fun and different. We hung out as a big group at a high top table before heading to a comedy show and it was the perfect pregame spot. My cider was exactly what I needed after a long day of driving and exploring. We met some really friendly people there, too. I'm not sure if that's a great reflection on the bar or Des Moines in general, but it's nice to know there's a bar you can go to that you can make new friends at. I can't wait to head back to Des Moines later this month and hit this place up again!
Make sure you follow along on Instagram for day to day adventures!