El Bait Shop

El Bait ShopEl Bait Shop
El Bait ShopEl Bait Shop
Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

200 SW 2nd St
Des Moines, Iowa, 50309-4706
United States

(515) 284-1970 | map

Notes: Open Everyday: 11 am to 2 am
View: Place Reviews
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Photo of Redrover
Reviewed by Redrover from Wisconsin

4.44/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4
This was my stop on my last trip to Des Moines. It is super easy to spot due to the great signage. Love the Cubs marquis from Wrigley Field.

I sat in the bar area which is to your right as you enter. It has a combination of bar and high-top seating. I didn't venture into the other area. There are some TVs so you can catch the game. Friendly crowd.

What a selection of beers! Lots of local IA beers, major crafts from the Midwest and around the country.

The beer menu is well designed and it is easy to figure out what's on tap.

I had service from two of the bartenders, one was fantastic and one was not, so the score is a combination of the two.

I thought the food was fine, I will try some different items when I'm back in a few months. Maybe by then it will be warm enough to sit on their patio.

This is a must stop if you are in this part of Iowa.
Feb 17, 2021
Rated: 5 by eawolff99 from Minnesota

Dec 17, 2020
Photo of NCSapiens
Reviewed by NCSapiens from Indiana

4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5
This place is a 10/10. It has 300 taps. Let that sink in. Well, in the time of coronavirus it has more like 220 active taps. But still. I found myself in Des Moines randomly. Decided to stop in this place that looks interesting. Ask to have a stout. Reply: we have 33 on tap. WTF??Turns out stout list is world class. Really, really cool place.
Jul 30, 2020
Rated: 4.35 by slasich from Pennsylvania

May 16, 2020
Rated: 4.59 by YvesB from Belgium

Dec 13, 2019
Rated: 4.8 by ECOBOOSTINST from Iowa

Jan 25, 2019
Photo of Mason_Whitham
Reviewed by Mason_Whitham from Iowa

4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5
Love this place. Can't go wrong considering it's the largest selection of beers I've ever seen. Great bartenders and awesome fishing vibe. My favorite place to drink in my hometown city Des Moines.
Dec 29, 2018
Photo of zeff80
Reviewed by zeff80 from Missouri

4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75
It totally looks like a dive bar on the outside and it delivers on the inside. It was actually too hot on the inside. Great Iowa beers and all other beers available in the state. Service was slow. They appeared understaffed even though the owner was there and chatting with beer reps. Didn't have any food.
Jul 10, 2018
Photo of Foxman27
Reviewed by Foxman27 from Iowa

4.61/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 5
I’ve been here a few times and can give a fair review now. It all starts and ends with the 220+ beers. They have a good mix of styles, and the bartenders knew most of them. It can get busy, but that is to be expected. It is the best beer bar in Des Moines and I’ll be back for sure.
Mar 28, 2018
Photo of Harrison8
Reviewed by Harrison8 from Missouri

4.59/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4
Vibe: El Bait Shop side of the house is focused on beer, with simple natural-colored wood walls, and concrete floor. The walls are absolutely covered in craft beer signage, with loads of craft beer stickers all around. There are several tables, both low and high top, but most of them are for family or a family plus one or two. We had a little trouble finding space for our group of 10.

Quality: Very well kept. Only problem is there is not a lot of open floor space except right around the bar. Due to this, there was a large crowd blocking access to the bar. Finding a place to shift these people, or making a defined ordering space may help.

Service: Fast, even when it was packed. They were efficient and helpful, without ever been condescending.

Selection: With 212 taps, and some bottles and cans, selection here is top notch. There are some great things on tap to sip and savor, followed by some things to chug. There was a good mix of styles, with a little more focus on the hoppy styles on our late November visit. The menu breaks down beers by overall taste (i.e. light and refreshing; dark, caramel, rich; hoppy; etc.), which helps expedite the process of picking which beer to have out of 212+.

Food: Food menu is the same as the High Life Bar next door (shares the same building, and alcohol can move between the two spaces). The food was good. Tasty, and it complimented the beers nicely.
Nov 20, 2017
Rated: 4.65 by Toynk from Illinois

May 19, 2017
Photo of stevens3mo
Rated by stevens3mo from Texas

4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4
Wow! Really impressed with the selection. Drove over two and a half hours to get there and was not disappointed. Get the peanut butter burger!
Apr 20, 2017
Photo of Flachs
Reviewed by Flachs from Illinois

4.74/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75
We heard about this place and the beer selection was great. 225 taps! The service still the bar was slow but they were busy. The food was so so not great not the worst. Will try again when in Des Moines.
Feb 20, 2017
Rated: 4.64 by craigbelly from Iowa

Jan 23, 2017
Photo of SD-Alefan
Reviewed by SD-Alefan from South Dakota

4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4
Funky, slightly run down look with beer stickers and signs covering nearly every available inch of wall space. And then you see all those taps! Great selection of Iowa and regional beers as well as world-class stuff. The service was top-notch both nights I was there. The food was mainly American diner classics and it's very good and affordable. A great experience.
Oct 15, 2016
Photo of coldriver
Reviewed by coldriver from Texas

4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25
This place makes me want to move to Des Moines! 180 taps with a great diversity of styles including many Iowa locals, great share plate appetizers (mmm, bacon wrapped tater tots), and a wonderful vibe with cool people. Not much to complain about here!
Jul 09, 2016
Rated: 4.7 by lupercmda from North Carolina

May 08, 2016
Rated: 4.39 by fooferjw from Florida

Apr 30, 2016
Photo of emerge077
Reviewed by emerge077 from Illinois

4.42/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5
Cool eclectic atmosphere, definitely a beer destination if you're spending any amount of time in Des Moines. Feels like a cross between a roadhouse and desert oasis/beachbum paradise. Beer-itaville? Inside on the right, the bar kind of meanders along it's own path, with table seating further in and towards the back. Standing room only beer "shelf" running around the perimeter of the place. Wood beams and paneling, covered in all manner of beer swag.

Service was quick and friendly. I'm sure they're used to people hemming and hawing over the huge beer selection, and were patient as I navigated the uniquely designed beer menu. They helpfully pointed out that Iowa beers were in bold, and from there we were off to the races. Enjoyed beers from 515, Alluvial, and Turner Alley, new Iowa breweries I wasn't able to try elsewhere. When the bartender saw we were from out of town, he handed us a fistful of beer swag.

Selection overall is unparalleled for the area. Cellar Peanut is probably a close 2nd for a multi-tap bar in the surrounding area, and Sanctuary in Iowa City. That's based only on my limited experience though. El Bait Shop did not disappoint.
Apr 05, 2016
Rated: 4.75 by tdmccarthy from Illinois

Mar 30, 2016
Rated: 4.69 by StoutSnob40 from California

Feb 26, 2016
Rated: 4.58 by Averwo from Iowa

Jan 09, 2016
Photo of rodbeermunch
Reviewed by rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5
Cool place not where you'd expect it in Des Moines. They really do or are supposed to have 100 taps. A lot of stuff was out when we were there, but I bet they still had 60-70 beers on tap.

Most of them were good, there was about 25 stinkers. Good friendly service, it was kind of dead the night we were in town. Selection was wide and varied, no complaints there other than they were out of a lot of stuff.
Dec 28, 2015
Rated: 4.38 by SomewhereInTheMiddle from Indiana

Dec 23, 2015
Photo of NickTheGreat
Reviewed by NickTheGreat from Iowa

4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4
I should have reviewed this sooner. But EBS is probably the best beer bar I've ever been to. Check that, it IS the best beer bar I've been to. I only live 15 miles away, and it's a shame I don't spend a couple days a week here!

Over 180 taps of quality "craft" beer. No Bud, Miller, Coors to be seen. Local brews or brews around the country. If you're looking for something they probably have it.

Now I'm the type of guy who knows more about TV's than the kid at Best Buy. Knows more about trucks than the guy at the Chevy dealer. Knows more about power tools than the old man at Home Depot. But the staff at EBS knows their beer. Are able to tell you about the beer, answer questions, and recommend things. Aren't shy to offer you a little sample if you want.

The food is okay. I mean, some of the stuff is kinda creative or interesting. It's good enough, but like someone else said, you'll not come to EBS just for the food. But if you're drinking beer, and there anyways, the food is good enough.
Dec 04, 2015
Rated: 4.78 by helengus from Iowa

Nov 17, 2015
Rated: 4.63 by boogerisu from Iowa

Oct 14, 2015
Rated: 4.3 by Travitten from Iowa

Sep 20, 2015
Rated: 4.29 by GTJayG from Georgia

Sep 05, 2015
Rated: 5 by Sprague67 from Iowa

Aug 18, 2015
Rated: 4.5 by Will_Edgar from Iowa

Jul 13, 2015
Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
Reviewed by YodersBeerEmporium from Iowa

4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4
This is my favorite local hangout! Something like 180 taps now and they rotate stuff in daily! Good place for the occasional bottle share as well if you know the owner and bartenders well enough.
Jun 03, 2015
Rated: 5 by y2kpa

Apr 15, 2015
Rated: 4.51 by XmnwildX12 from Minnesota

Feb 24, 2015
Rated: 4.93 by PeterHolmgren from Iowa

Feb 10, 2015
Rated: 4.53 by Nomadorable from Iowa

Feb 08, 2015
Photo of Norvelljeff
Rated by Norvelljeff from Iowa

4.98/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5
PLACE IS BOMB. Many beers available. Fantastic place that Des Moines should be proud of. Which we are!
Jan 29, 2015
Rated: 4.51 by Irishace9 from Illinois

Jan 19, 2015
Photo of neckbeardnation22
Reviewed by neckbeardnation22 from Maryland

1.01/5  rDev -77.4%
Stopped in Des Moines on the way to visit TG in Decorah... I was looking forward to this as much as the TG brewery as they had a very good selection of beers I cant get in Omaha listed online. Needless to say this a MAJOR letdown. Worst service I have had in a very long time, multiple beers listed available were actually tapped out and food was room temp when it arrived. Over priced and extremely rude staff. DO NOT RECOMMEND
Nov 17, 2014
Photo of Kegger37
Rated by Kegger37 from Iowa

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
Amazing place, a true must see!
Oct 23, 2014
El Bait Shop in Des Moines, IA
Place rating: 4.47 out of 5 with 97 ratings