food & drink

Belly Up

April 28, 2011 |

By Jared Curtis


The Blazing Saddle


Always a double, never a cover


The longest running gay/lesbian bar in Des Moines, The Blazing Saddle, has been open since 1983. Sure, there were a number of gay/lesbian bars before that, but only The Saddle has stood the test of time, providing a fun and laid back party for gay people, straight people and everyone in between.

" I guess you could say we're a gay bar that's straight friendly," said Bryan Smith, general manager. "We're a friendly neighborhood bar where people can sit back and relax while enjoying a drink."

Being located in the East Village, The Saddle has seen the neighborhood change for the better.

" I've been here 17 years and seen plenty of improvements. We used to have bars on our windows, so yeah, it's a little better neighborhood now," Smith laughed.

The Saddle offers Happy Hour from 2 to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. Patrons can enjoy $3.25 wells and $1.75 drafts. Also during Friday's Happy Hour, enjoy $4 martinis. They also offer a number of specials throughout the week (after 8 p.m.). On Tuesday, stop in for "Tear It Up Tuesday" and enjoy $1 draws and $3 wells. Wednesday night is Pull Tab, night, where patrons receive a pull-tab with every drink, and once you open it, you can win numerous drink specials. Thursday is "Latin Night," where patrons can enjoy $2 bottles. On Sunday, stop in for the weekly charity Beer Bust. For $7, patrons can drink until the keg is tapped, and all the proceeds go to charity.

" We have some great specials throughout the week," Smith said.

Walking through the door, patrons will notice the large amount of Cityview "Best Of" Awards on display.

" We have won a lot of awards over the years, and we do serve the strongest drink in town," Smith said.

The bar hosts numerous events throughout the moth including drag shows, charity events and benefits. Also, if the East Village is throwing a party, chances are The Saddle is in on the fun.

" We're always partnering up with the East Village any time they have some type of celebration going on," Smith said.

On Saturday, April 30 and Saturday, May 14, The Saddle will host its raucous Bingo Night. Patrons can play BINGO for free while enjoying drink specials, food and the chance to win numerous prizes.

" It's a great time and lots of fun. It gets pretty packed in here and is one of our most popular nights," Smith said. "Plus, it's for charity."

Although there are numerous places to grab a drink, you won't find a more outgoing and friendlier group of partiers than the crowd at The Saddle.

" We're a comfortable, laid back place where you can have fun and be free," Smith said. "We throw together a pretty good drink and roll with punches, so stop in and have some fun." CV


caption: Bartender Chris Pullen pours shots at The Blazing Saddle, 416 E. 5th St. Hours are 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Friday and noon to 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information including upcoming performances call 246-1299, friend them on facebook or visit