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The West End Lounge closes its doors in Des Moines Drake area

This sign has been a land mark for Drake Students for over 30 years
This sign has been a land mark for Drake Students for over 30 years
photo courtesy of Cal Davis

To some it may seem like the end of an era. The historic West End Lounge closed its doors last weekend, unable to keep up with costs. It was rumored that the now former student bar tenders gave too much alcohol away to friends without charging. For the Drake alums like me, an event like this is heartbreaking. Former Phi Delta Theta member and West End bartender Cal Davis said this on a recent Facebook post:

Dear West End -For all those times when i got blacked out, made AMAZING friends, where my freshman floor went for the first time , a place where a couple years ago a smoke while drinking inside was commonplace, all the monumentous games of darts, eating dollar burgers on your patio...OH THE PATIO, cig-burning a girl's cleavage, shaving a guys head, the song "TIME WARP", the song "West End Girls", West End breakfast, Street painting, letting me become a bartender, the shots- home grown and magic water, for being open on Sundays for only one year, the late night after two AM shenanigans that happened every now and then, for the wonderful dirty rush venue, the nights when all my Phi Delt brothers were together, for taking care of your friends when they get too drunk, for being taken care of by your friends when you get too drunk, for those puke and rally nights, for being the best place to celebrate ANYTHING, for celebrating 4 of my birthdays there, the lovely birthday shot, for knowing that if you were going to walk into west end you would probably know more then 3/4 of the people there, the comfortable "home" feeling, playing nude photo hunt, always the first and last stop of a booze cruise, for all the amazing deals, and for all the unforgettable memories made...we will miss you for now.

This was a bar everyone loved at some point in their lives. It's where I myself turned 21, and it's where my own parents drank as newlyweds. Apparently the building and the name are to be bought and sold as one entity, so if and when it reopens, it will still be our West End.


  • Gina D 5 years ago

    I know! I don't even want to do our annual homecoming to the Drake Relays if I can't be at West End most of the time!