The Lift

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by Cedric

Upstage yourself. Try a new bar, something with art on the walls. You might find out that you are trendier than you thought. The Lift can help. They have a martini list longer than my sister's hair extensions. Don't smoke inside, it's rude. Take a couch in back and snuggle with your stylish girlfriend, or hang out at the bar with your friends. Don't be surprised if there is a DJ, and definitely, definitely, have a good time.

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by A-Rog

The Lift was no smoking before no smoking was cool. That is it's number one draw for me.

Great martini list. Diverse beers. Diverse clientele.

It has a lounge in the corner--what's better than having a drink with your friends on a couch and not having to clean up their mess after?

The bartenders are music lovers, so the sounds are always appropriate and terrific.

There are many bar options downtown, but I always pick the Lift.

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by Mikey

I really like the bartenders here. Big ups to Clint. I would rate the bar as good--it would be awesome if the crowd included fewer corporate types.

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by Amanda

The Lift plays host to Drinking Liberally every Thursday at 8 p.m. and we've loved them since we started meeting there last May. John and Brady are wonderful and quick. We also love that it's smoke-free and pints are only $2 on Thursdays! I like the Lift because it offers a different atmosphere from other downtown bars and caters to a more mature (though not old!) audience.

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by Nick L

Honestly, if someone were to challenge me to come up with the absolute dumbest possible floorplan for a bar, I would probably wind up with something very similar to the Lift.

Don't get me wrong. It's a great bar, with a wonderful staff and a very unique vibe, but it loses one and a half stars for the layout alone. What the hell is going on with the massive rail literally 1 foot behind the barstools? I've found myself trapped in the corner behind a herd of drunk people crowded into the aforementioned gap, trying to order a drink. Is this a fire hazard?

But I digress, the drinks are strong, the beerlist is long and varied, the art and decor are aesthetically pleasing, and the barstaff are some of the nicest people to ever make me an extra dirty martini. IPod Monday is always fun, save for the times when I've had to sit through wanky nu-metal playlists (...and I thought that I would have escaped overblown teen angst by the time I was able to frequent 21+ establishments. Who knew?)

Big thanks to the Lift for making downtown, and especially 4th street worth my night.

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by Brent

The Lift, nice bar, clean bar, noticably better atmosphere then most bars/meatmarkets in DSM, but seriously, perhaps hire a bartender that can make a martini in under 5 minutes. Slowest staff ever. and knock out that railing behind the chairs at the bar so someone can move around in there. Other then that, its a quiet, pleasant, SMOKE FREE, bar that I would reccommend, but be patient after you order yer drink, might be awhile.

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by capitalcityguy

The Lift is the best bar in Des Moines. Cool, laid back. No smoking!

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by injekted

When it comes to bars... there are certain elements that I look for: quality of the drinks, prices, enviroment, and staff.

The Lift scores high for me on all of the above, except environment. There isn't much floor space so navigating the bar is often difficult. Also, it can be difficult to get up to the bar for a drink. On the other hand, it's a smoke-free lounge. They have great drinks, with an extensive martini list, and the prices aren't bad. The staff has always been incredibly nice. There's often DJs spinning, sometimes good music... sometimes Roy Orbison.

In any case, you can expect to have a good time when you're at The Lift.

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by mh

The Lift is a downtown martini bar at the end of south 4th Street. Housed just off the lobby of the Kirkwood Hotel, the bar's namesake lives on: the side of the bar is the open elevator cage. The Lift caters to a smokeless crowd with two-for-one martini specials on Wednesdays and after hours deals that aim for the after work crowd. The clientele seems more engaged with local culture than other bar consumers, and the rotating artwork highlights some of the more interesting contributions from the Des Moines area. I'd recommend the martini list and the reasonable selection of beers, both domestic and imported. DJ nights on Saturdays are good, but floor space is limited, so plan on sitting around and enjoying the music.

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Tips for The Lift from foursquare users

Mike H.

Tip your bartenders.

13 people have done this and 1 other wants to

Angela H.

Monday is iPod night. Wednesday is martini night.

8 people have done this

Bridgette B.

Have a Key Lime Martini!

7 people have done this

Dan O.

Thursday is $2 pint night

7 people have done this

Kate T.

Wednesday night=2 for 1 martini night! Try the pango martini-delish

6 people have done this

Aaron P.

Don't be a douchebag

4 people have done this and 1 other wants to

Hillary B.

Don't miss Tim Kasher (of Cursive/The Good Life) at the Mews next Monday, Sept 27. Doors @ 5:30 | All Ages, $10 in advance thru, $12 at the door.

4 people have done this


Congratulations, you've found one of Esquire's Best Bars in America. Order a vodka martini and ask them about the metal dome at the end of the bar.

3 people have done this and 2 others want to


I recommend the Southern Cosmo and the 4th Street Mimosa.

3 people have done this and 2 others want to

Zachary B.

This is my home away from home. Wait, did I just call a bar "my home away from home?"

3 people have done this

Kyle G.

Come to Get Lifted Tuesdays! The Uplift quartet plays every Tuesday! Great live jazz from 9:30-11:30pm.

3 people have done this

Angela H.

Ask T.J. what's cookin.

2 people have done this

Hanna P.

Mango Slut is the best martini.

2 people have done this

Kira H.

Use the four square deal on thursday and get a 1.00 pint! Woo!

2 people have done this


If TJ is the bartender and you're vegan, he'll lecture you and be rude for the rest of the night.

2 people have done this

Amanda B.

Be sure to stop in and say bye to dirty Dan before he hits the Hawaii

2 people have done this

Tony T.

Best place to hang out and grab a drink with friends. I love the Strawberry Shortcake martini.

1 person has done this


Try the S&M or Pineapple Slut

1 person has done this

Justin C.

Gin martini is like a 2 for 1

1 person has done this

The Lift: a great smoke-free lounge, with art on the walls, some couches, and a great atmosphere. This is definitely one of our favorite bars to have a drink, and talk with friends - plus it's on 4th street so there's a lot going on around you.

The bartenders at The Lift can be a bit slow on busy nights, but what do you expect at a martini bar? The staff is all really cool and make great drinks. We recommend the Manhattens, Tanqueray martinis, and many others.

They also have great events going on like iPod Monday, Bring your own Vinyl night, and DJ night. Check out their website for drink specials and photos. Also take a look at

The front of The Lift My martini, a DJ, art, and folks Liquor

View all photos

@dmLift on Twitter

nice to see @WeHateMusicDSM at Jesse Embers. Next time order beef at a steakhouse.

John Huffman rocks the boat on Monday. Come see him and probably the most interesting music.

Ingersoll LIve tonight? Hit it.