EXPLORE: Patio Palooza

By Cyote Williams

The summer weather gives plenty of reasons to go outside, and these bars and restaurants offer you a place to soak it all in while enjoying a drink in hand or a meal with friends.

555 17th St., Des Moines
Big Grove Brewery does have a few other locations, but its Des Moines location is our favorite when it comes to patios. It is big enough to allow plenty of patrons to gather outside and not feel cramped. Add in several fire pits to keep you warm when the sun goes down and TVs to watch the game. Oh, and the food is pretty good, too.

597 Market St., West Des Moines
Wellman’s Pub and Rooftop Ingersoll location is a staple in the area, with great outdoor seating, but the rooftop patio at the West Des Moines location is one of the best in the city. The sports bar has tasty food options and a vibrant atmosphere for those looking to party. It has an extensive cocktail menu featuring mules, margaritas, martinis and some unique specialty drinks.

440 East Grand Ave., Des Moines
Found in the Historic East Village from our Walk N’ Shop section, this bar has one of the more unique indoor atmospheres in the city. But it’s the outside we’re here to talk about. The patio has ample space and seating for those looking to grab a drink after a day of retail therapy in the area. At night, the food truck keeps it simple with cheeseburgers, cheese curds and fries to satiate those late-night munchies.

525 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
Also in the East Village, The Garden has a spacious, welcoming rooftop. The LGBTQ+ bar has plenty of late-night food fare, comfortable seating and great drinks to liven up the night. They also host drag shows and brunches, making it a great place to see a show day or night.

206 Third St., Des Moines
You won’t find food at this Irish pub, but what patrons are almost guaranteed to find is a good time. The patio at Annie’s more than doubles the space of the inside of the establishment. The 360-degree bar makes sure there are short wait times for drinks on most nights. And plenty of booths allow friends to enjoy an evening together. The pub also opens early during the Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market.

1900 Saylor Road, Des Moines
Right off the Des Moines and Neal Smith bike trail, this bar is equipped with an elite patio where events are hosted all summer long. Bike riders make frequent stops at the establishment to refill, enjoy live music performances, and shop at vintage markets — not to mention, partake in great Americana food and drink, all accessible on their patio with a lovely view of the river.

401 S.E. Fifth St., Des Moines
When attendees take a seat on the inviting patio at Rita’s, it’s hard to resist ordering one of the expertly made margarita flights. Rita’s also offers great happy hour deals on food and the aforementioned beverages. We know we already mentioned the margaritas, but don’t sleep on the other specialty cocktails. The establishment has a wide selection of tequilas to make your drink (or marg) a special one.

1235 Thomas Beck Road, Des Moines
We saved Big Grove Brewery, and this one, Confluence Brewing Company, from the drinkeries section because their excellent patios deserve to be mentioned. This brewery, located on the Gray’s Lake bike trail, has plenty of its own signature brews and a warm patio. The spacious seating and friendly atmosphere make it a great place to spend a day or evening making memories.

300 W. Martin Luther King Jr Parkway, Des Moines
It’s literally in the name, and we can see why. The rooftop patio at 300 allows bar goers an incredible view of the Des Moines skyline, and those who are there on a Friday night at the same time the Iowa Cubs are playing get one of the best views of the post-game fireworks to be found outside of the ballpark. The only thing better than the view? The fully stocked bar and even better drinks.

2491 E. First St., Grimes
The spacious and inviting patio at Destination Grille is a great spot to grab a bite, drink or celebrate. Also a great spot for the gluten-free friends and family members in your life, DG has the most comprehensive gluten-free menu in central Iowa. The seating on the patio is plentiful, and there are enough screens scattered around the rooftop to make sure diners and drinkers have a solid view of the game.

710 S.W. Third St., Ankeny
A large shuffleboard playing surface is one item you won’t often find on patios around central Iowa, but TrailSide Tap has avid players covered. The patio has seating at the bar, intimate one-on-one tables and plenty of space to bring your group of friends to have a relaxing evening out. The awning doesn’t provide too much coverage, but the lights dangling down create a vibe and atmosphere that’s hard to match while enjoying a drink or something from their focused menu.

3615 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines
We’d like to shake the hand of whoever designed the patio at The Bartender’s Handshake. Being able to create a backyard feeling at a bar patio is difficult, but this one nailed it, from the furniture to the cozy lighting. The drink menu features cocktails that provide plenty of flavor, and offerings from the area’s best breweries are on tap. A short but sweet menu of snacks is available for those looking for a nibble.