The Royal Mile

The Royal MileThe Royal Mile
The Royal MileThe Royal Mile
Bar, Eatery

210 4th St
Des Moines, Iowa, 50309-2206
United States

(515) 280-3771 | map

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Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Rated: 3.83 by slasich from Pennsylvania

May 16, 2020
Rated: 4.24 by craigbelly from Iowa

Nov 06, 2017
Rated: 3.81 by IowaBiertrinker from Iowa

Jul 11, 2016
Rated: 4.34 by YodersBeerEmporium from Iowa

Aug 12, 2015
Rated: 4.01 by Will_Edgar from Iowa

Jul 13, 2015
Rated: 4.25 by afinepilsner from Iowa

Oct 03, 2014
Rated: 4 by bufante from Iowa

Aug 26, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by Bkoop from Iowa

Jun 13, 2014
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Reviewed by RyanPoff from Tennessee

3.54/5  rDev -14.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3 | food: 4.25
The place has a small TV or two and a few ramshackle tables and booths on the side. The bathrooms are disgusting. There's plenty of British decor. There's no smoking, but the place may turn some off. It's a little rough, but homely. This bar does cater to soccer fans.

The beers are a wonderful selection for Iowa. I always get the Fuller's London Pride. There are plenty of other British beers and sometimes something else from Europe on tap, as well as strong Scotch library. However, it is a niche audience. Not everyone will find something agreeable here.

I've always had excellent service here. I worked at a major employer downtown and could walk down the skywalk, stop in for a pint and meal, and be back in under an hour on weekdays. Granted, my "lunch" was at 4:30 PM, so I caught the initial happy hour crowd.

Food selection is primarily British but some standard American food is offered. The kitchen here is vastly underrated. The steak and ale pie is my favorite wonderful comfort food during the cold months, I frequently got this pie and two Fuller's pints and was out of the bar for under $20, tip and all. Other highlights are the shepherd's pie and the pot roast.

I love the Royal Mile and will be making a trip back there as soon as I'm in Des Moines again, which is hopefully soon.
Jan 01, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by wshell1 from Tennessee

Nov 13, 2013
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Reviewed by Herky21 from Iowa

3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5
Atmosphere - The British are coming. There's one of those red london phonebooths, rows of scotch, fun tap handles and nitro taps on the bar, and it is dark. Cool stuff on the walls. It all comes together as a nice British pub.

Quality - clean taps, good selection of European beers, mostly British. There are usually a couple other Countries represented though.

Service - It is usually pretty easy to get a beer. The bar is about average length, with 2 or 3 behind it.

Selection - as mentioned, British. It's nice having Young's Double Chocolate, a lot of Fuller's, a few German Pilsners, and an array of other ales to pick from.

Food - I've heard it is good but greasy, haven't had it yet, despite having been to this bar quie a few times.

Value - pints are reasonable, and they are pints, which I approve of.
Apr 17, 2013
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Reviewed by DCon from Missouri

4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4
The group of us came into the Royal Mile immediately after Fong's Pizza since they offered live music and I've heard of this beer bar from Beer Advocate and other top beer bar sites as well. Walking into a crowded and busy decorated venue, they had more taps for both beer and liquor then I've ever seen before! If it is available from the UK or Europe, they probably have it or could make it for you!

People here made the place! Tons of people at the bar, seated inside, outside on the patio, and then we found our group waiting with many others to enjoy beer outside while the live band was playing. Whatever your style is of comfortability while enjoying beer, you could find it here!

Glassware was up to par, menus updated, and bartenders were glad to pour samples. Great quality place all around!

It was tough to get our first round of beer since it was so packed again. We decided to make our way outside and purchase cans from the vendor outside. Limited availability of beers but nonetheless was much easier.

The selection was just like I thought it would be, very good but nothing I haven't seen before. I asked if they had any rare beers or aged brews and they said my best bet was to check out the bar upstairs called the "Red Monk". I enjoyed one outside with my team and then before the music started, found my way upstairs (my review on the Red Monk will follow this one).

A pub style bar, this one definitely could back up its name. Loud, fun, and cultured would be the three words that best describe this place. Check it out if you have a chance!
Aug 21, 2012
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Reviewed by MarcatGSB from Michigan

3.33/5  rDev -19.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5
Stopped in during a recent trip to Des Moines from Iowa City, and this place came highly recommended. It mirrors the look of a typical British Pub. Lots of things on the wall, and some interesting whisky boxes that I always enjoy reading.
As we walked in, a friend asked the bartender for their whisky list, and was told that she did not have a whisky list, but a scotch list. Well, that put us off right away. My friend does not react well to condescending attitudes. Especially when a scotch IS a whisky. Anyways.
They have a great selection of Irish, Scottish, and English beers. I went with the classic Fullers ESB on tap, and it was wonderful. A great find, anywhere in the U.S. let alone in the middle of the Midwest. Another friend had an Irish Wheat beer that was recommended, and it was terrible. I can't remember the name, I apologize for that.
With so many places close by that have a better beer selection, and friendlier service, unless you are looking for an English Style Pub, and a great whisky selection, I'd say skip this one.
Feb 28, 2011
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Reviewed by LittleDon from Texas

3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5
Came on a Wednesday night when there were only a few people in attendance. Sat outside, since the weather was nice. The inside looked like the typical British pub, dark with lots of brass and wood. Outside had metal patio furniture, not terribly comfortable. Low point: only draft selections were from Great Brittan. Nothing too spectacular, but they did have four nitro taps. High point: very good knowledge of available selections from the bar and wait staff. As the selection didn't do anything for me, I'd be unlikely to come back. But if British beer is your thing, the place is not too bad, particularly in what struck me as a beer deprived state.
Sep 12, 2009
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Reviewed by Jayhawk from Kansas

4.78/5  rDev +16%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5
What a great find in Des Moines, Iowa. Coming from a larger city, I was pleasantly surprised to find this wonderful British pub. The beer selection is very good...and has my favorite beer on tap - Fuller's London Pride. The look is very good - reminds me of pubs I've seen in England, but baseball was on the telly and the music was louder than I'd like for ideal coversation.

Along with the beer selection, the food is fantastic...seriously good English pub food and good American dishes as well. My son rated the burger "as good as the Westport Flea Market" in Kansas City, and my wife and I loved all the trad English dishes we tried (bangers and mash, shepherd's pie, cornish pasty - we ate there 3 times while we were in Des Moines). The cornish pasty was my favorite dish...I've seen searching for a good one since I last bought one from a street vendor in Wales in 1982.
Jun 11, 2009
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Reviewed by BretSikkink from Mexico

4/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4
Smallish, dark, usually crowded. TVs on, lots of chatter. Good Britpub atmosphere. Smoking ban makes a huge difference here.

Generally good beers, though frankly not more than a couple on tap that I care to drink again, since I'm usually cruising for a review. If you're out on the town and like fairly straightforward British ales and lagers with a good range of light to dark, you should find something acceptable. Plenty of bottles, but they're oh-so-much cheaper at the liquor store.

Service is spotty; sometimes great, othertimes very slow. The bar area is usually crowded, making the get-your-own option more difficult.

Nice place to visit with friends and enjoy the atmosphere - not a high end bar by any means but enough different styles to suit everyone's fancy.
Oct 16, 2008
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Reviewed by DesMoinesMike from Iowa

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4
Oh, the Mile, how I love thee.

If you have a hankering for an import brew this is definitely the place. The Mile is set up like an English longhouse, somewhat narrow, but surprisingly spacious. The wood panel walls and black wood beams give it an old-world feel, along with the fireplace and European beer posters.

The food menu has several classics, such as fish-n-chips and bangers and mash. I've never had a meal not fill me up here. Service is usually good, friendly and fast. The beer selection is big, BIG! Some I have trouble pronouncing, most likely Welsh. Their only negative for the beer selection is that they stopped carrying John Courage. WHY?!

Upstairs is the Belgian bar, with even more space to enjoy your meal with friends.

My only major note against them (besides the whole John Courage non-sense) is that they play music W-A-Y too loud during heavy traffic days like Halloween.

Always a pleasure to visit.

Edit 01-21-09
This place is MUCH more enjoyable since the smoking ban. But I miss being able to spend part of the night chomping on a cigar by the fireplace. Oh, the Scotch Egg is a meal by itself.
Apr 10, 2008
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Reviewed by hoffman from Nebraska

3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
Talk about a great place to stop and have a pint....this joint is the epitomy of relaxation. A cool easy vibe radiates from the dark wood and soft music.


This only adds to my relaxing dinner and beer experience. The selection is primarily english or western european in stature....more Sam Smiths than I have seen anywhere with a heavy summit and anchor influence and one Rouge tap.

I think it should be a requirement for any bar on BeerFly to have pumper taps...those things are awsome and give the best tap pour ever.

The temp of the beer here is perfect somwhere in the 40-45 deg renge you can actually taste the beer when you drink it.

The food is ok, I had the wings and fries, portion sizes are smaller than advertised..the wings were not all that flavorful...I wish I had tried the english grub but the wings caught my attention. need to stop here before heading upstairs.
Jan 31, 2007
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Reviewed by woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5
This was one of the “Meet the Locals” bars in the area, which were bars with a particular theme that would cater to patrons with an interest in said theme. Here, it was the English/Irish pub theme that was dominant.
The front door featured a stained glass window as part of its design, which was unusual.

Entering, the slightly “L”-shaped bar was directly to the right and featured four (4) cask beer engines (!), eighteen (18) taps, plus approximately one hundred (100) bottles in two coolers which sat along the back bar. Danger, Woody Robinson, Danger! I had not seen a selection like this in a while and I could not decide where to start, let alone when to stop. This was not helped by the very comfortable, deeply-grooved seats at the bar.

The space was not terribly wide, but it was very deep. The washrooms were all of the way aft. The length of the place was adorned on both sides with all sorts of advertising, both current and vintage. My favorite was the “St. James’s Gate: the Home of Guinness” vintage poster which featured its menagerie, including a toucan, a kangaroo, fish, and on and on. Brilliant! They also had a Victory Harvest Ale poster, which made me feel right at home.

About halfway aft, along the left wall, was a flight of steps leading up to the second floor, with the kitchen at the top of the stairs. Turning right and heading to the front of the building, I passed through an arched doorway that lent a medieval feel to the upstairs bar area. Up there were stained-glass renditions of the Chimay, Westmalle, and Orval logos. The back bar was adorned with spent jeroboams of Chouffe, Piraat, and Gulden Drak, among others.
Dec 03, 2006
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Reviewed by manchild from Iowa

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4
This is my favorite bar in all of the great state of Iowa to visit. The slection of imports is second to none and even though they are slightly pricy it is worth it. The selection is hard to beat

The service is good when you can get ahold of a bar keep. They are very busy on the weekends and early evenings when the down town crowd is getting off work. The bartenders do know their beers though and always have great recommendations.

The food is better than the average bar food. The rueben is especially tasty and topped off with a good stout can't be beat.

The indoor and outdoor atmosphere is that of a small local bar where everybody meets to start off the evening.

I strongly recommend visiting this establishment if you are ever in town.
Nov 09, 2006
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Reviewed by hero27 from Minnesota

4/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4
Located on street level, in the same building as the Red Monk that's right upstairs. Good wood accents lend a very authentic "old world" feel.

20+ British offerings on-tap, a greatly extended menu of British ales by bottle, and some other random European offerings. The bartender seemed to know her stuff pretty well, and recommended a few that she personally enjoyed. The service was also pretty quick considering how busy the place was when we were there on a Saturday night. Didn't have a chance to try the food, so I'll have to make a plan to grab dinner there next time I'm in town.

Great to see a fairly authentic British pub in downtown Des Moines. One of the handful of bars in the city that's definitely worth stopping at.
Aug 10, 2006
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Reviewed by isubsmith from Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4
A frequent stop when I am in Des Moines. Downstairs is mostly drinking, upstairs is half restaurant and half bar ("The Red Monk"). Decoration is mostly dark wood trim and dark wooden tables with random English paintings.

Wait staff is always excellent. Most of them know their beer and can suggest things if you mention something they might be out of.

The restaurant has pretty typical "pub food" plus a few more expensive offerings. Choices include fish and chips and shepards pie along with a nice sirloin fillet with stilton (my usual choice).

The beer choice at the restaurant is among the best in Des Moines. In fact, the only place better is the Red Monk. Unfortunately, for some stupid reason you can't order beer from the Red Monk while eating (at least before 9pm). So the good Belgians are not available. I find this very annoying and very disappointing, especially since the Red Monk decorations are constantly taunting you while eating.. (and before the Red Monk moved in, you could order the Belgians with dinner). Selection score would be higher if I wasn't constantly taunted by the fine(r) beers at the Red Monk.

Downstairs is a bit too smokey for me, but the atmospher is pretty nice.

Worth a stop if you are in downtown Des Moines.
Nov 20, 2005
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Reviewed by babydoc from Kansas

4.44/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4
I had the opportunity to visit the Royal Mile at the Midwest BA gathering. One steps from the bright sidewalk outside into a subdued pub finished with dark woods and English accents and memorabilia. I immediately noticed the 25 taps at the bar to the right (all imports?!), and was equally impressed with the Listing of about 100 imports on the laminated beer menu. Best of all, it was almost impossible to find mention of American macros- a pleasant change from most bars. The wait staff was young, pleasant and very aware and informed of what was availbale- Our waitress knew they were out of my first request but immediately pointed out another beer that she said was not only representative of the style but perhaps one I'd like better!
The place is quiet in the afternoon, getting busy and noisy that night when we returned. Despite the fact that the wait staff hadn't increased much in number, the service was excellent and the glasses kept full.
I didn't sample the food, which was mostly traditional pub fare as well as some more formal dinner offerings in the dining room upstairs.
Jan 15, 2005
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Reviewed by Quaffer from Nevada

4.45/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4
My first visit to The Royal Mile was the night before the Midwest BA gathering. It is located in downtown Des Moines within walking distance of quite a number of hotels.

It's a nice little place with a definite English pub feel to it (not that I have ever been to England). It's long and narrow, reminding me of a few of the bars I've been to in Manhattan. Lots of dark wood and low lighting give it a very cozy feel. There is a long bar and plenty of tables scattered around. When were were first there on a Friday evening, the place was packed. However, it didn't get annoying like many busy bars do. We shared our table with another couple and had a great time. I love places like this that have a friendly enough atmosphere that you can sit with total strangers and not feel uncomfortable.

The beer selection was great, especially for the middle of Iowa. I had no idea that a bar like this would exist in Des Moines. There was quite a line up of taps, and a big list of bottles. Keeping with the theme of the bar, English beers dominated the selection, but there were other choices as well

The service was absolutely great. It was incredibly busy when we were there on the first night, and it only looked like there were only two or three people working the crowd. However, our waitress was amazing. With all these customers, we were never wanting for a brew. She always seemed to be around and always had a smile on her face. Very friendly. Plus, she seemed to know a thing or two about the beers that she was serving. In addition, any dealings that we had with the staff the next day, during and after the gathering, were extremely pleasant.

The food was great. A good variety of English-style fair.

This is the place to go for beer lovers visiting Des Moines.
Dec 04, 2004
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Reviewed by beerlovergirl from Texas

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
I recentally spent a fabulous Friday night at The Royal Mile. Its location in downtown Des Moines was a quick 5 minute (or less) walk from our hotel. The English pub feel is apparent before you get too deep into the Royal Mile. There is quite a bit of English memorabilia on the walls with dark wood furniture and floors. We arrived around 10pm on a Friday and finding a seat was challenging, but we snagged a table fairly quickly.

One look at the beer menu and even this novice beer girl was amazed. I am guessing there were about 20 beers on tap and around 50 bottled varieties. All of my favorites, including some things that I have never heard of or seen in our lovely state of Kansas. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many college kids drinking good beer. I don't recall seeing anyone with a Miller or Coors Lite.

Our waitress was great. The place was packed and I only saw 2 or 3 waitresses, but we never had to flag one down. She was pretty knowledgeable about the beer selection and kept our beer coming.

On Saturday we revisited The Royal Mile for lunch and the menu was wondeful; filled with traditional English dishes at decent prices. I had the Earl of Sandwich and Quaffer had the Bangers and Mash. Both were delicious and the lunch service was just as good as the bar service the night before. There seemed to be a lot of regulars in for lunch, as well as a girl who brought in her very well behaved dog, making for a friendly atmosphere.

I loved this place for lunch and the night crowd. I will definitely make it a stop on my next trip to Des Moines!
Nov 08, 2004
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Reviewed by bditty187 from Nebraska

4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
I had an unexpectedly difficult time finding The Royal Mile; I didn’t have an address with me but I knew it was on 4th street near Court Avenue. But the main reason why I had a hard time locating this place was the fact there is a tree right in front of the sign! What the hell? I couldn’t see the sign until I was on foot. It turned out it was worth the trouble.

It is a small place with a rectangular first floor. The bar is to the right as you walk in the door, it had about a dozen stools. In the rest of the first floor were about fifteen tables; it wasn’t very cramped even though it is a limited space. There is worn dark wood used throughout for both the floors and tables, which added to the pub feel. The walls are filled with stuff, English memorabilia and some beer signs. It is a little cluttered but I’ve seen much worse, at least it has good British theme. Plus there are two TVs above the bar, and, of course, darts, and Golden Tee golf.

I visited here about 1:30 pm on a Wednesday; the lunch rush had just ended and we were the only people in the joint by the time we got our food. So the service was good, the bartender/waiter was very friendly.

The beer menu is pretty impressive, most of the beer is imports (English and German varieties), and on-tap was Fuller’s London Pride, Porter, IPA, and ESB plus there were around another eight beers on draft, I found them less exiting. The bottled beer list is impressive, there was good range with an eye to quality, and they had Adnams to Hitachino and Chimay to Samuel Smith. I thought there was a great variety, slim on domestic micros and there were few hoppy beers but no big deal. The food menu (at least for lunch) was fairly limited, I had the Bangers & Mash (really good) and my girlfriend had the Guinness Stew (very good as well). The menu does a good job sticking to mostly English pub grub.

I noticed there was more seating upstairs when I walked up there to see the Red Monk.

Bottom line, this place seems like it would be a great local hangout. Recommended.
Oct 09, 2004
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Reviewed by Ave from Iowa

4.08/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
This place is to become my home away from home. I have never been there and had anything but very friendly & knowledgeable service. If the person serving you doesn’t know something about a beer, they will ask someone who does. & often that seem to be as likely a customer as a fellow employee.

The atmosphere is dim & pubish. No giant inflatable Coors light toys here.

The food is generally great, though I hear they are about to redo the whole menu. For a place that is dead set on being as authentic an English pub as it can be, its menu now strays to interesting areas. But again I hear it’s all going to be changing soon, so there ya go.

The beer selection is if not as big as you want; it certainly is done with an eye to quality. Very few American macro's, & about an equal range of American & import craft beer. I would guess that they have close to 50 bottles available, & maybe a dozen taps.

All in all, it’s the only place you need to go in Des Moines, except up the stairs.... but more on that latter.

Aug 03, 2004
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Reviewed by BuckeyeNation from Iowa

4/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
The Royal Mile is an authentic (I guess) British Pub located in downtown Des Moines in the heart of the "Court Avenue" entertainment district. It's on a side street just a stone's throw from Court Avenue with a handy, but small, parking lot across the street. The interior is dimly lit downstairs and sunlight bright upstairs. There's plenty of dark wood with hunting prints and medieval shields adorning the walls. Also comes with the requisite dart board.

My wife and I ate there for lunch and the menu has quite a selection of British pub grub. She had Bangers & Mash and I had the Earl of Sandwich sandwich. Other offerings were Guinness Stew, Cheshire Cheese & Onion Soup, Cornish Pastry, Shepherd's Pie and Steak & Guinness Pie. Almost everything looked good. Dinner entrees go for $12-16.

The beer selection was pretty impressive. They have 22 beers on tap, every one of them from the British Isles if I remember correctly. Fuller's ESB, IPA, London Porter and London Pride, Boddington's, Wexford, Murphy's, you name it and they had it on tap. They also had 63 bottled beers available, 45-50 from Britain with a few from Belgium and a few from Germany. As a nod to the uninitiated, they offered just three American macros (Miller High Life, Miller Lite and Coors Light) which made me smile.

If you ever get the chance, pay a visit to the Royal Mile. You'll enjoy the food, and I guarantee that you'll enjoy some of Britain's finest beer.
Apr 19, 2004
The Royal Mile in Des Moines, IA
Place rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 29 ratings