Sidebar Set to Open

By Wini Moranville
A casual European-style cafe, Sidebar will offer coffee, cocktails
and a limited menu.

I’ve always loved the casual European cafe and wondered why we don’t have similar venues here. I’m not talking about coffeehouses, and I’m not talking about cocktail or wine bars. I’m talking about one place where you can have both, all day long.

Opening this week in Capital Square, Sidebar will be exactly that. Stop in for a pastry or breakfast sandwich and an espresso drink in the morning; come in for afternoon tea or coffee, with pastries or cookies. After work, have them shake up a craft cocktail. Or, after a show at the Civic Center, get some gelato imported from Italy, or, better yet, a gelato cocktail, designed by Chef Mike Holman (who oversees Dos Rios, Big City Burgers and Catering DSM) and team.
On a recent soft-opening visit, I was particularly impressed by the sleek, modern feel, with plenty of natural light from the expansive windows. The cocktails take inspiration from the classic libations enjoyed in the era of heavy-drinking journalist-authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, John Steinbeck and Dorothy Parker. You’ll find whiskey sours, old fashioneds, gimlets and the like.
The venue’s name–“Sidebar”–is a nod to the fact that the editorial offices of The Des Moines Register occupy the floors above. Indeed, whether you visit for a midmorning or midafternoon work meeting, or head there for cocktails before or after a show, this coffeehouse/cocktail bar may not be the main reason that you’re downtown–but it will be a great side-note to your time there.
Sidebar is at 400 Locust St.; 508-0829. As of press time, spokesperson Liz Rodgers Adelman said the venue should be open by the end of the month, but the exact date is still to be determined. Watch Sidebar’s Facebook page for an announcement.

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