Small, dark and churchy, The Red Monk is a Belgian bar nestled upstairs from The Royal Mile, a downtown Des Moines English pub.
They have about six taps, all Belgian styles. One of these is the locally-brewed John’s Generations White Ale, which I’ve found is a worthy and refreshing wit. In the cooler, they boast around 75 bottles, heavily focused on Belgians, with only a smattering of beers from other genealogies.
I loved the dark wood and stained glass atmosphere of this cozy upstairs bar. Coupled with an extensive lineup of the Belgian liquid, it makes for a nice place to unwind. I’ve heard that this place can get a little smoky, but that wasn’t the case on our visit. This could be attributed to the more rambunctious gathering down the street. We were one of only three restrained parties in the whole bar.
Our bartender was friendly and helpful, but seemed used to novice Belgian drinkers or a little restrained in his knowledge. Paying attention to his conversations, I think it was a little of both.
This place is high on my list of places to frequent in Des Moines, however, I’ll have to make effort to get there. They don’t open until 8pm, which puts a dent on a plan to stop in for a quick one while passing through. And as I recall from a previous attempt at visiting, they are not open on Sundays.
Yes, that’s my complaint: they need to expand their hours. I need more.
The Red Monk
210 4th Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
Wanna check it out? Here’s a map.