El Bait Shop

BA SCORE
95
world-class

88 Ratings
El Bait ShopEl Bait Shop
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

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

(515) 284-1970 | map
elbaitshop.com

Notes:
Open Everyday: 11 am to 2 am

Added by bditty187 on 04-22-2006

PLACE STATS
Score:
95
Ratings:
88
Reviews:
45
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
10.14%
 
 
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 88 |  Reviews: 45
Reviews by MarcatGSB:
Photo of MarcatGSB
4.6/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Well hell. I read the tap list. I read the reviews. I've talked to people that say "Go to El Bait Shop, they have 100+ taps". Well we finally made it, and it was worth the 2 hour drive from Iowa City. I have driven through Des Moines at least a dozen times in my life on my here, on my way there, and if I had only known about this place earlier, who knows where I would be today.

Our man focus upon venturing to El Bait Shop was "Bells Wild One", which is one of their first if not their first Belgian Sour. I had read some reviews of people that had it at Bells Eccentric Cafe, and I just had to get my hands on it. Also, they still have the Boulevard Smokestack #5, the Saison Brett.

The Bells Wild One was fantastic. I really enjoyed it. Nice barrel brett character. The Saison Brett was okay, nothing special, but it was $12 for a 750 ml, which is close to store pricing, so why not.

The atmosphere was great. People intrigued and wanting to learn and try new things. It's good to be around people that you know love beer. Not as big of a place as I would have thought, but the selection is very impressive, and well thought out, not only on tap but in bottles as well. I will be back. I recommend you stop in to see for yourself.

 1,240 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Toynk
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Photo of stevens3mo
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
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!

143 characters

Photo of Flachs
4.74/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

 204 characters

Photo of craigbelly
4.64/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

 366 characters

Photo of coldriver
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
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!

 253 characters

Photo of lupercmda
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

Photo of fooferjw
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3

Photo of emerge077
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | 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. Inside, the bar kind of meanders around on it's own path, with table seating in the middle and towards the back. Standing room only beer shelf 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 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 my limited experience though. El Bait Shop did not disappoint.

 1,115 characters

Photo of atlbravsrno1
4/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of tdmccarthy
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of dwagner003
4.69/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of Averwo
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of rodbeermunch
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

 413 characters

Photo of SomewhereInTheMiddle
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Photo of NickTheGreat
4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

 1,020 characters

Photo of helengus
4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Photo of boogerisu
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Travitten
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75

Photo of GTJayG
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Photo of Sprague67
5/5  rDev +15.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of Will_Edgar
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

 197 characters

Photo of y2kpa
5/5  rDev +15.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

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El Bait Shop in Des Moines, IA
4.34 out of 5 based on 88 ratings.
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