Mar 26, 2021 - News
The top 10 patios for drinking outside in Des Moines
The patio at El Guapo's
Photo courtesy of El Guapo’s

Linh's favorite nice-weather Midwest activity: Chilling on patios.

Below are some places I enjoy and why.

  • Note: I am very partial to bikable locations and good food.
Bartender's Handshake
The patio at Bartender's Handshake in Des Moines. Photo courtesy of Bartender's Handshake.
Photo courtesy of Bartender's Handshake

This Ingersoll bar became one of my favorites during the pandemic. The food and drinks are fun + creative. There's heaters and you can roast s'mores over a fire.

  • Plus: It's a very COVID-conscious space that takes RSVPs.

What I'm eating: Mint-pesto cold noodles (so good.)

Open: 2pm-12am Mon-Fri; 11am-12am Sat-Sun; 3615 Ingersoll Ave.

Captain Roy's
Captain Roy's in Des Moines. Outside at Captain Roy's in Des Moines. Photo courtesy of Captain Roy's.
Photo courtesy of Captain Roy's

This is as close as you're going to get to a beachside bar in Des Moines. Captain Roy's is a lively stop if you want a beer, some food and a nearby bike trail.

  • Plus: Birdland Marina is overhauling into a "resort-like" location, including a new look for Captain Roy's.

What I'm eating: Bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers

Open: 11am to 9pm Tues-Thurs; 11am to 10pm Fri-Sat; 10am to 5pm Sun; 1900 Saylor Rd.

Confluence
The patio at Confluence Brewing Company in Des Moines. Photo courtesy of Confluence.
Photo courtesy of Confluence

If you like bikes + beers — this is a must stop. Confluence is a classic Des Moines brewery that most beer fiends have visited, but the patio is also a convenient stop right off Gray's Lake.

What I'm drinking: The Wizard on draft

Open: 4-9pm Mon-Thurs; noon to 9pm Fri-Sat; noon to 6pm Sun; 1235 Thomas Beck Road.

El Guapo's Tequila + Tacos
El Guapo's Tequila + Tacos in West Des Moines.
Photo courtesy of El Guapo’s

If you're looking for a fun outdoor hangout and tacos — this is your place.

  • There are almost 100 tequila choices to warm you up, but if you're cold, there's also a heated patio.

What I'm drinking: A house margarita

Open: 3-9pm Tues-Thurs; 1-10pm Fri; 11am-10pm Sat; 8950 University Ave. # 105, West Des Moines

Exile
A past picture of the patio at Exile.
Photo courtesy of Exile

Not only does Exile serve great beer, but the food is bomb as well. I also appreciate its close proximity to downtown.

  • Plus, I am obsessed with the truffle fries.

What I'm drinking: A classic Ruthie

Open: 11am-9pm Tues-Thurs; 11am-10pm Fri-Sat; 11am-9pm Sun; 1514 Walnut St.

Lua Brewing
A photo of Lua Brewing
Photo: Chad Stephenson; courtesy of Lua Brewing

This new-ish brewery opened near the beginning of the pandemic, but it acclimated quickly by installing heat lamps and converting its parking lot into a patio.

  • It has good beer + food and it's in walking distance to my favorite last-stop bar — Carl's.

What I'm eating: The fries are a perfect bar snack, especially with Lua sauce

Open: 3-10pm Tues-Thurs; 11am-11pm Fri-Sat; 11am-8pm Sun; 1525 High St.

Triangle Tap
The Triangle Tap storefront.
Photo courtesy of Triangle Tap

This biker-centric patio is where you'll find me on Wednesdays — aka porkchop night. (It's so much food.)

  • Located just off Euclid Avenue and the inter-urban trail — this stop is always a fun time.

What I'm drinking: PBR and jello shots

Open: 9am-2am Mon-Sat; 10am-2am Sun; 2506 Post St.

Uptown Garage
The patio outside Uptown Garage.
Photo courtesy of Uptown Garage

Uptown Garage has a nice selection of Iowa beers from breweries like SingleSpeed, Big Grove and West O Beer. It's also next to other great local businesses in Uptown Ankeny.

  • I brought over food from Leaning Tower of Pizza and it was the perfect combo.

What I'm drinking: Pseudo Sue from Toppling Goliath

Open: 4-9pm Mon-Wed; 3-9pm Thurs; noon to 11pm Fri; 10am-11pm Sat; 10am-8pm Sun; 305 SW Walnut St, Ankeny

Other patios I love: Malo for brunch downtown and Brightside Aleworks in Altoona.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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