Bars and Nightlife

Gay Bars and Clubs  

Blazing Saddle (416 East 5th Ave), If you’re looking for a friendly LGBTQ+ bar in Des Moines, then you’ve found it! The Saddle is open 365 days a year featuring daily Happy Hour, Trivia Night every Tuesday, and monthly charity events for non-profits. Additionally, Latin “Nites” and various types of Drag Shows every Wednesday through Sunday. See the Blazing Saddle Calendar of Events

Buddy's Corral (418 East 5th St) is a mixed, relaxed neighborhood bar with jukebox, karaoke, located next to Blazing Saddle. 

The Garden Restaurant & Show Lounge (525 E Grand Ave) is an LGBT+ owned and operated business that is home to a host of amazing talent with an outstanding legacy. The Garden offers a wide variety of entertainment and a full kitchen menu. 

The Locust Tap (434 E Locust) embodies the term "dive bar" nearly perfectly. Between the years of graffiti on the walls, original tile floor (amongst other things) dating back 60+ years, cheap drinks, and no-frills atmosphere, what you see is what you get. It attracts an incredibly wide variety of clientele. It's truly a gathering spot for an awesome community. 

Welcoming Bars and Clubs  

Bellhop (440 E Grand Ave), is a neighborhood tropical bar in the Historic East Village. It is a high-energy environment with tiki classics and original tropical cocktails being at the forefront of the menu. 

Up-Down (500 E Locust St), Up-Down Des Moines features more than 60 arcade games from the ‘80s and ‘90s, pinball machines, three classic Skee-Ball alleys, Nintendo and Sega console gaming, and life-size Jenga and Connect Four. All games cost just 25 cents. Their drink menu includes an extensive craft beer selection with 20 beers on tap and even more bottles and cans, as well as ‘80s and ‘90s inspired cocktails. 

The BeachWood Lounge (416 E Walnut St), is well known for its great service and friendly staff, that is always ready to help you. Prices at this place claim to be reasonable. You will certainly like the pleasant atmosphere. 

Black Sheep (223 E Walnut St), with unmatched individual identity, Underground/Vinyl and Tequila is this East Village bars’ religion. Goth like The Smiths. Dadaist metaphors. Spread love not judgement. With a focus on Tequila and Mezcal, Black Sheep gathers most of its aesthetic elements from the varying art movements throughout history along with subtle elements of the beauty found in iconic symbolism, underground music, and cinema. 

Earnies Boondock (440 E Grand Ave), features wood accents, a mounted buffalo head, greasy burgers, and cheap beer reminiscent of taverns across small-town Iowa. 

Coa Cantina (425 E Grand Ave), is Des Moines' Finest Tequila Bar. Home of Des Moines' Best Margarita and Best East Village Bar.

503 Cocktail Lab & Tasting Room (503 E Locust St), Whether you’re in the mood for snacks and sips only, are in the mood for a full meal, or are in need of a chic venue for your next private event, you’ve come to the right place. Pull up a chair at the bar or in the Pullman-style dining room for an intimate, one-of-a-kind experience.