This place is a dive -- and not in the good way. It's like drinking in a rundown vet center, with a younger crowd.
This is a great place to hang out out earlier in the evening before the bar rush hits. It's got a cozy, grandpa's basement feeling to it with the shag carpet and wood panel walls. The best part is the selection of crappy beers, from shlitz to hamms to old style to high life. Also, try the tangermeister. The food is really good too. Try the fried egg sandwich and the tots. This place tends to get crowded really quick however and it can be a pain to find a place to sit or even stand at their busiest times.
We have had the worst service of any bar/restuarant in long time at the High Life. The servers were slow and rude. The helpings of food have been lacking flavor as well. Twice we have had a bar tender and server.... add tips and extra things to our tickets. I have had to get management involved by having things removed from my ticket.
I will never go back to the High Life because of this. I have also been telling all of our friends about the bad service. My friends have agreed that the service has been lacking for a bout the last year. The have lost the touch of having good service!
I love the High Life, its my favorite spot to go hang out and chill on a weekend night. Long have I hated the WDM YUPPIE scene, all the flashing lights, loud (c)rap music and meat market atmosphere. When I wanna go chill with the guys for a night, we go to the High Life, because we don't have to yell to hear each other talk, we can wear old jeans and a comfy T-shirt or hoodie, listen to some good classic rock, and drink High Life in small 7 oz glasses like the good lord intended. There are no pretentions at this place, no fake people (except those Yuppies that get lost across the river, but they quickly leave) short story, I love this bar.
Exactly what you should expect from a bar centered around the "Champagne of Beers". High life is a middle to lower class beer that breathes nostalgia. If you're looking for swanky, clean, uppity or Fake, please go back to West Des Moines with your new striped shirt from Express, you'll fit right in (and by fit right in I mean meet 4 other uppity meat heads with the same exact shirt!!)
If you're looking for original, unique, down home and comfortable, The High Life Lounge is your place. It does have that bowling alley atmosphere which makes even the average of Joe's feel right at home. This is what makes it so unique, no dress code, no cover, just comfortable and relaxed!
Service can be slow at times, but this is true of all bars in DM. At least you're not waiting forever for some over-priced swill or getting ignored cause you don't have a $50 bill flashing in the bartenders face.
The High Life Lounge offers you that small town watering hole feel, with a uniqueness all it's own at a reasonable price. Not to mention they have High Life in bottles and on tap, who colud ask for anything more??
The last reviewer is right, this bar sucks. Has anyone else noticed how tough it is to walk around in this place if it's just a little busy? The place is terribly setup and has no flow to it with everyone just huddled around the bar all night long. The service is really slow too, because they seem to be understaffed all the time. I just stay next door at the Bait Shop, it's marginally better.
The staff is always extremely understaffed or otherwise unavailable. The last time I was there will be the last. There were 15 or so people waiting at the bar with only one bartender serving and other staff standing there doing nothing. I waited around 10 minutes and it was finally my turn to order. I didn't see the beer selection but knew it wasn't much, so I asked a quick question "what is the beer selection." The bartender handed me their full menu and went on to the next person. After two seconds I put the menu down and made eye contact to let him know I was ready. He went on to help another three people before going to the back room. Another bartender comes in a few minutes later and starts tending to the opposite end from me. I had to stop a waitress and ask her to place my order because the bartender apparently wasn't going to.
The place really isn't that great, I see little reason why people like it. It may be interesting to see, but after 10 minutes of taking in the atmosphere it becomes boring. The dreary depressing interior adds to the boredom. The staff is not friendly and is not there to make customers happy. The first ten minutes of looking is the only redeeming feature. It's not a "fun bar" at all.
I have been there 4-5 times.
The first time I went there... a girl puked all over the table and the floor!!!! It smelled like vomit and stale beer - they need a better venting system!!!!! Can you imagine the oders that carpet holds night after night???? EWWW
This place is great! Stopped in a couple times in two weeks for lunch. Food was just your plain, simple fare, something you'd get at a small town restaurant, but that's OK - I wasn't looking for a high-end meal, and the price is more than fair. The beer was great - High Life and Grain Belt Premium. The atmosphere - makes you feel like you stepped back in time in Wisconsin or something.
Even if the kitsch wears off, it's still a great place to grab a bite and drink.
I used Des Moines Alive to help research fun places to visit while in Des Moines on a brief trip recently. Without a doubt, my favorite place was the High Life Lounge. It is a rare combination of fun, popular, inexpensive, and cool. I completely loved this place. It reminds me of a late 1960s working class neighborhood bar where husbands and wives might go to chat with friends over beers. What a treat! We met the guy who invented Tachos. With that success on his resume, I am certain he's now working on lasers or something: genius! Thanks Des Moines for producing my favorite tavern in the US!
I am an out-of-towner in Des Moines on business. I just got back from lunch, and while I want to fall asleep after the meal I ate, I felt compelled to google the bar and review it to anyone who would listen.
GO TO THIS BAR. It's great. If you like warm food and cold beer, there is no better place. Sure, you won't find microbrews and fancy stuff, but it seems like every other place in Des Moines is a micro-pub of some sort. Enough, I don't want pumpkin in my beer. Go to this place for friendly people, cold beer, and warm food. And you can save a buck.....
I take an Omega-3 and a baby aspirin before every trip to the lounge to prevent the imminent heart attack from an onslaught of fried spam Spam and tachos. Wednesdays is Soul Night...32oz High Life bottles--complete with brown paper bag--for $4. If I ever grow a porn stache and start bowling professionally, this is where my entourage will hang.
I think this place is great for what it is. The food is good too and cheap. I had tachos the other day (tater tots drenched in nacho cheese). Granted, I'd be a blimp if I ate there often, but still I think it's good. Cool place to hit up before an I-cubs game. The staff is pretty good. They need to get some kind of patio going.
As one can already tell, this place had High Life on tap. 6 of them to be exact. It's quite the interesting place. Supposedly it was an old bowling alley though I can't confirm that as of yet. The interior brings on the feelings of a bowling alley lounge for sure. The beer is average. If you come here expecting many different beers then you're an idiot. Look at the name, they have more than High Life but not much more. The usual suspects of Silver Strike bowling and other gaming agendas. As I was walking in, guy in a wheelchair had to be helped up the steps. He laughed about it but I don't think it wasn't just a cover up. He said he wished he could get in alot easier. They serve food but I wasn't there soon enough to sample anything other than the sloppy joe's. It's a bar, it serves food and booze. It feels like a townie bar just like most of the others downtown. I just wish the wait staff wasn't so busy making out with someone and could have gotten me a beer.
Bacon-Wrapped Tater Tots are awesome! Get a High Life, or grab a beer from El Bait Shop next door.
Congratulations, you've found one of Esquire's Best Bars in America. Get a Tangermeister, a beguiling combo of Tang and Jagermeister. Or a High Life. That's good, too.
Cheeseburger basket or fried pickles? Tough choice. . .
Warm up with the chicken pot pie on a cold day.
Great place for Highlife beer... the champagne of beers!
The High Life Man is a must try.
Try the crispy pressure-fried chicken and bacon-wrapped tater tots, both of which were featured on Man v. Food, a show that explores the biggest & best eats across the nation.
Bacon wrapped smokies are addicting
I love the retro atmosphere of High Life...takes you back to your "Old Uncles Basement"
Musts: Cheeseburger (-onions) and tots. And tangermeister shots
I love this place!! Best place for comfort food!!!
Attend the Groundhog Day celebration for free High Life, a weather forecast and good times.
Can't go wrong with a cheese burger basket with tots. Wash it down with a Grain Belt.
Cheese balls! Get it!!!!
Love the wood paneling.
The Bacon Bacon Cheese (BBC) is the best!!!!
Friday's all-you-can-eat fish fry is superior.
This is a requirement for all Americans. Come early for a meal in a uniform color range topped off with a High Life.
The bacon-wrapped tots are my favorites. Ride your bike & enjoy the patio!
Come join us for UNO on Wednesday nights. Yes, the card game. #UNOnight on Twitter.
Best crappy beer around town!! Yeehaw!
Monday tater tot casserole is awesome
This place is probably of my favorite bars. Nothing else needed to say
The Tangermeister (Tang + Jaegermeister) is surprisingly good! If you like Italian bitter orange soda, you'll go w00t over this.
The broasted chicken as take-out makes for a great excuse to stop by on the way home from work!
When you have a bar named after the Champagne of Beers, you know it's probably going to be a dive in some way. The High Life Lounge is exactly that. With all late 60s/early 70s styling, you'll see carpet floors, wood panel walls, various miller signs and lots of bowling photos. That said, the atmosphere is a good part of the entertainment at High Life - but if you need more, there's a digital jukebox, a pool table, a couple video games, and about 5 TVs.
Due to it's location only a couple blocks from Principal Park, it's a great place to hit up before or after a ball game. In fact, when an I-Cubs game is getting out, expect very very little walking room. But also expect a good time.
Despite the name of the bar, there IS beer other than Miller High Life here, but not much. Luckily it's all pretty cheap... however mixed drinks are still the standard mixed drink price.
Check it out. It's a great place to get yourself a cheap beer and some Tachos (tater tot nachos).
Correction. @manvfood us on Travel Channel, not Food Network. Still 7:30.
The Des Moines episode of @manvfood is on Food Network tonight at 7:30. Check it out if you haven't seen it.
Just a reminder, we are definitely open tomorrow. Normal hours, 11 AM to 2 AM, with food until 10 PM. Come see us!