In Des Moines, you can catch a rising star in a city that knocks it out of the park. We’ve rounded up the best sports bars and places to watch the big games in Greater Des Moines, as voted by locals. From football to fútbol, Hawks to Clones, we’ve got all the big screens and drink specials that can’t be beat!
With a German-style bier hall layout – think long communal tables, huge ceilings, outdoor beer garden – there's not a better place to enjoy the game with a few hundred of your closest friends. This unique Valley Junction hot spot is in a refurbished 1890s railcar barn and boasts two giant TVs above a bar that has 54 tasty brews on tap. They even have an app that allows you to order all your food and drink right to your table.
Catch this: Live trivia every Thursday with Thursday Night Football on the big screens.
Smash Park in West Des Moines (near Jordan Creek) is home to the largest patio in Iowa, with games like pickleball, shuffleboard, cornhole, bocce ball, and some of the best bar food you’ll ever taste. If you just want to watch the games and not play, they’ve got you covered as well, with more than 80 indoor and outdoor TVs, including a 30-foot TV wall. And they keep the sound ON for the big games.
Catch this: They have NFL Sunday Ticket, and if you wear your NFL gear on Sundays, you get your first draft beer free. And during college football Saturdays, enjoy tons of discounted drinks (including their infamous Sociabowls), Jello shots, and prize giveaways.
Kinship is the new cool kid on the block in Waukee, having already made a name for itself with its tasty and accessible craft beer and legendary patio and dog park. Sip on an Off the Leash Iowa corn lager while you root on the Hawks or Clones (or Panthers!) and enjoy some live music. It’s a scene and we’re here for it.
Catch this: More than just a place to watch sports, Kinship hosts live music throughout the week, along with trivia nights.
1908 Draught House
With four different locations across the metro (Johnston, West Des Moines, Norwalk), along with some of the friendliest staff and best patios in the metro, 1908 Draught House has become the go-to neighborhood spot for sports buffs everywhere. Saddle up to the bar with an Old Style (it is a Cubs bar after all) and a plate of their perfectly executed nachos while you root, root, root for the home team.
Catch this: They have NFL Sunday Ticket and drink specials like $20 buckets of beer and $3.50 Fireball shots during Iowa games.
The Station on Ingersoll
The only place on this list with Crab Rangoon nachos. Not sold yet? How about one of the best tenderloins in town, paired with crinkle-cut fries? Twinkly Christmas lights year-round? Oh yeah, you’re here for the sports, which they have in droves. Enjoy NFL Sunday Ticket and MLB Extra Innings in a comfortable atmosphere that will surely become your new weekend go-to.
Catch this: On gamedays, come for the $4 Bloodys/Mimosas and $5 W.O.W. bombs.
One of the mainstays of the Des Moines bar scene is Wellman’s Pub. Wellman’s has two locations: The original pub on Ingersoll, full of character and shaggy dog charm, and its rowdy rooftop cousin in West Des Moines. If you’re looking for a lively atmosphere where you can high-five strangers while putting down some onion rings and Moscow Mule flights, this is your place.
Catch this: Happy Hour is 3 – 6 p.m. Monday – Friday with $5 margaritas, mules, and appetizers and $1 off draught beers. They have $3 Bud Light during all Hawkeye and Cyclone football games, and NFL Sunday Ticket is also available.
Iowa Taproom in the East Village has 99 taps featuring all Iowa craft beers from more than 35 breweries. It’s a decidedly hip place to catch a game, with dark woods, a Sukup grain bin housing the beer tappers, and elevated bar food like Buffalo Mac and Cheese and Honey Sriracha Chicken Sandwiches.
Catch this: Head downstairs to Ken’s - A Not So Secret Speakeasy to celebrate after the game with one of the most extensive whiskey lists in town.
What goes better with the big game than wings? (That’s a rhetorical question, the answer is obviously ‘nothing’.) Well, the Chicken Coop has the best wings in the metro, with more than a dozen flavors and rubs. And with locations in Urbandale, West Des Moines, and Ankeny, you won’t have to fly far to find your roost. They carry NFL Sunday Ticket, MLB Extra Innings, Comcast Sports, Fox Sports Package, Big Ten Network, Golf Network, and the SEC Network.
Catch this: They have domestic pitcher specials on Monday, $3 Tall Boys on Thursdays, and Happy Hour until 6 p.m. during Saturday Iowa college games.
If you get a kick out of soccer, take a shot on Royal Mile, located right downtown. Opening bright and early at 8 a.m. on Saturdays for those Premier League matches, it’s Des Moines’ premier British pub. Featuring an extensive beer and scotch list, perk up with an English breakfast and Irish coffee while you cheer on your club with a bunch of (Iowa nice) hooligans.
Catch this: If you’re there in the evening, head upstairs to The Red Monk for cool cocktails and more than 90 Belgian beers.
Range Restaurant and Cocktail Bar
Tee up the good times at The Range in Urbandale, where fun is par for the course. This is no regular sports bar. Here, you can both watch and play, with six PGA endorsed golf simulators (bring your own clubs or rent them there). If you want a really unique experience, you can reserve one of the 15-foot simulator screens to watch the game.
Catch this: Saturdays are Bottomless Mimosas and brunch starting at 10 a.m. Reservations and tee times are recommended!
The Front Row
The top Iowa Hawkeye bar in all of Greater Des Moines, The Front Row has been fight, fight, fighting for Iowa since 1995 in Clive. With more than 20 high-definition TVs this is the place to be to cheer on the black and gold on a Saturday (or if they’re beating Nebraska, a Friday). Mondays are their infamous Steak Night, with steak, baked potato, salad, and Texas Toast for only $13.
Catch this: On Hawkeye game days, stop in for grilled food each week! The menu changes each game, so keep an eye out on their Facebook for the weekly special!
The Keg Stand
If your allegiance lies with the cardinal and gold instead of the black and gold, check out The Keg Stand in West Des Moines. With more than 80 beers on tap, pool tables, and bar food to fill your belly, it’s a comfortable and fun place to catch a game and grab a beer flight. It’s also the home to Buffalo Bills backers.
Catch this: College game days feature deals like $5 pitchers and $2 draws, and Sundays have five pounds of wings for only $30.
Gilroy’s in West Des Moines is known for its great patio, but it’s also got a burgeoning reputation as the place to watch the big game. You can start your Saturdays with a tailgating style party on their extended patio from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. There, you can watch the game on a 6x11 foot Jumbotron and play tailgating games like bags, washers, giant Jenga, and flippy cup.
Catch this: Check out their specialty game day menu here. This is available after 5 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as after 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays!
Johnny's Hall of Fame
Opening in 1962, Johnny's Hall of Fame is known as Des Moines' first sports bar. In the heart of downtown at the Court Avenue District, Johnny's has been a staple for Des Moines sports fans for decades. They have over 15 different beers on tap, and a menu featuring grilled-to-order burgers and stone oven pizzas. And nothing gets a good base going for game-day libations like their chicken fried steak breakfast platter.
Catch this: Not only do they have NFL Sunday Ticket, but they have all the Monday and Thursday games as well.
Barn Town Brewing- West Des Moines brewery specializing in sours and hazy IPAs and an underrated Bloody Mary.
Francies – Chill and unpretentious local favorite near the airport with the best French Dip in town.
G Mig’s - Valley Junction favorite that has won Best Restaurant in Valley Junction five years running (Cityview) and Best New Food at the Iowa State Fair twice.
Mullets – Catch a game and a killer view of the Des Moines skyline near Principal Park before an I-Cubs game.
Spectator’s Sports Bar & Grill – More than 100 screens and a 220-inch projection screen to catch your eye at this Altoona staple right next to Adventureland.
Waveland Tap – Townie bar that is also the most authentic Cubs bar this side of Chicago.
The Ridgemont – Sports bar in Windsor Heights that has four pool tables, and 2 for 1 Happy Hour specials. Did we mention the Happy Hour goes from Noon – 6 p.m.!
University Library Café - Cozy bar in the Drake Neighborhood with the best nachos (including breakfast nachos) in town.
Gameday - Restaurant, bar, and arcade in Merle Hay Mall, perfect for catching a game. They have all the steaming services, including Peacock!
Truman’s KC Pizza Tavern – KC Chiefs bar in the East Village with creative pizzas like The Mahomes and The French Dip.