I started my long trek towards this el Bait Shop review over a year ago. I visited a few times and got a feel for the place, and then the menu changed. So, I went back to do more research. I just kept thinking, “One more visit ought to do it.” However, there was always one more thing that I wanted to go back for. That is the perfect way to describe the el Bait Shop experience: every time you leave, you want to come back again…soon.
El Bait Shop Restaurant & Bar (located at 200 SW 2nd Street in Downtown Des Moines) is the perfect meeting place. It has very good food, as well as a hundred and one events to entertain its patrons. With Jimmy Carter Happy Hour, live music, beer education, Craft Brew Nights, and brewer events (like last week’s Bell’s Brewery carnival), el Bait Shop always has something to draw you in. Plus, it is just a short walk from Principal Park before or after an I-Cubs game. El Bait Shop is involved in events off-site, as well—Wing Ding, Brewfest, The Fat Tire Fun Run, Devour Des Moines, and many more.
While I miss some of the items that departed with the menu change a year or so ago, el Bait Shop’s menu is still very user-friendly. There is nothing on their menu of appetizers, sandwiches, salads, and Mexican food that is over $10. The Shrimp Tacos and Baja Fish Tacos are both excellent. Their Sloppy José, Mexican Burger, and Homemade Onion Rings, are also instant favorites.
Let’s be honest, though, much of el Bait Shop’s popularity comes from its beer selection. They have a packed, ever-changing, four-page beer menu. El Bait Shop’s website currently states that they have 105 beers on tap and 100 different bottled beers. Seasonals, all sorts and styles of ales, pilsners, lambics, lagers, bocks, stouts, wheat beers, bitters, fruit beers, porters, hefeweizens, beer cocktails, beer flights—they have it all. Still not satisfied? Check their website for dates of Craft Brew Nights and Home Brew Nights.
[Check out pictures of el Bait Shop’s food and beer selection in the slideshow.]
El Bait Shop’s service is very good considering how packed the place often is, and they do a pretty decent job of keeping the place clean despite the crowds. There will be a few minor service blips here and there when the place is packed, but el Bait Shop’s staff always makes up for any mistakes that are made. There is a nice patio outside and easy access to the High Life Lounge next-door. El Bait Shop Restaurant & Bar is truly a great gathering place that I would recommend to anyone looking for a fun night out.
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