Revival House Is A Tropical Paradise Downtown

The Saturn (left) and Baby Mai Tai (right) are two of the drinks at the tropical-themed Revival House downtown.

Writer: Karla Walsh

No need to dig out that passport or study up on the latest travel restrictions. You’ll feel transported to a beachy vacation seconds after stepping inside Revival House (316 Court Ave.)—yes, even though it’s downtown between Blue Sushi Sake Grill and Hessen Haus.

On my first visit, our server clued us in that many of the rapidly growing mini chain of Blue Sushis (there are 16 and counting open or coming soon across the U.S.) now have “pocket bars” next door. Each has a different style, and Des Moines was lucky enough to draw the tiki card.

Open since Dec. 2, 2020, I was wishing I made the “trip” sooner as soon as my friend and I found our corner on the cozy couches. Every detail was chic and charming—definitely one of those places you’d be proud to share with out-of-town guests. Across the room, a vibrant pink neon “Revival” sign hung from the wall as a savvy Instagram photo backdrop. Tropical plants, beachy bamboo chairs and wood carvings adorned the space.

I opted for the Saturn, as I was tempted by the note that it won the 1967 International Bartenders Association World Cocktail Competition and the fact that it featured gin (which I tend to prefer over rum). Served over crushed ice, the mixed drink included Aviation gin, passionfruit purée, homemade orgeat (a creamy and nutty floral syrup found in many tiki beverages), falernum (a warmly spicy, gingery syrup) and plenty of fresh lime. It was uber-refreshing on a humid evening. My pal was very pleased with her classic Baby Mai Tai, a slushy mixture of Bacardi blend, bitter orange Curaçao liqueur, that same homemade orgeat, vanilla and fresh lime.

With a lovely mix of cocktails, creative spirit-free drinks and snacks from Blue Sushi available to order, I can see myself returning with old friends and meeting new ones in the intimate, transportive space.

Revival House is open Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Learn more on and keep up with the latest by following @revivalhouse.dsm on Instagram.

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