Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Here’s your guide to sifting through all the mullets, midriffs and man-buns the Iowa State Fair offers to find a spot where you can forget frugality and buy fair-priced versions of your favorite local brews or a “Super Chill Beer” to break the heat.

CELEBRATE LIKE A LOCAL

The Depot

FIND IT: On Grand Avenue at the west end of Varied Industries

WHEN CAN YOU PARTY? 8 a.m. to midnight

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Beers from $5 to $10; margaritas, daiquiris and wine coolers are $5

WHAT’S THE VIBE? Set down your deep-fried-whatever to flaunt your Elvis-inspired dance moves on the checkered floor of this rock ‘n’ roll spot, which features tried and true domestic beer favorites. If dancing isn’t your style, the bar has shady patios facing the grand concourse for your people-watching entertainment.

Stockman’s Inn

FIND IT: At the southwest corner of the Cattle Barn

WHEN CAN YOU PARTY? 9 a.m. to midnight

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Beers from $6 to $8 and food under $10

WHAT’S THE VIBE? A true “regulars” place, Stockman’s Inn is an out-of-the-way spot to gather with friends for a meal and a drink. They feature live country, rock and bluegrass music every night of the fair – except for the last Sunday – from 7 to 11:30 p.m. If you’ve broken away from your friends for just long enough to grab a drink, then drop by their cowboy-hatted “treehouse” stand.

LET LOOSE LIKE AN EAST-SIDER

The Bud Light Tent

FIND IT: The corner of 33rd and Grand Avenue across from the Agricultural Building

WHEN CAN YOU PARTY? 8 a.m. to midnight

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Beers from $5 to $10

WHAT’S THE VIBE? The veritable epicenter of east-side night, find yourself here for the rowdiest and proudest first Friday of the fair. The tent remains a raucous good-time throughout the whole week, and is the spot where you’re most likely to run into your old high school friends.

PARTY LIKE A ROCKSTAR

The MidAmerican Energy Stage

FIND IT: Southeast of the Agriculture Building

WHEN CAN YOU PARTY? From 12 p.m. on; the last acts go on between 8 and 9 every night. Check the state fair website for more details.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Free

WHAT’S THE VIBE? Dodge the leashed children on your way over to the newest stage at the fair to break out your sloppy choreography for the Village People on Aug. 18 and get nostalgic while singing the once-again culturally relevant “Baby Got Back” with Sir Mix-A-Lot on Aug. 20.

Susan Knapp Amphitheater

FIND IT: Next to the Animal Learning Center

WHEN CAN YOU PARTY? Shows every night at 8, except on the 21st, which has a show at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Check the state fair website for line-ups.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Free

WHAT’S THE VIBE? If you and your boys are often found “‘round here, drinking ice cold beer,” then join the country crowd at the fair’s largest free stage. This year’s line-up features Chris Lane and Jamie Lynn Spears, the little sister of everyone’s favorite early aughts singer.

WHEN A BUD LIGHT JUST WON’T DO

Iowa Craft Beer Tent

FIND IT: On Rock Island Avenue west of the Giant Slide

WHEN CAN YOU PARTY? 8 a.m. to midnight

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Pints are $7 and a six-sample flight is $20; beer package specials are also available

WHAT’S THE VIBE? You’re not likely to see a tramp stamp or a novelty beer cup here as you hang out alongside Des Moines’ hippest crowd with 48 beers on tap from 18 Iowa breweries. Drop by at 2:30 every afternoon to have all of your artisanal, small-batch, home brewing beer questions answered during a seminar, then grab a “real” beer for the live music that starts up at 8 p.m.

Top of the Vine

FIND IT: Next to Grandfather’s Barn, east of the Cultural Center

WHEN CAN YOU PARTY? 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Wine by the glass, bottle or flight is available for varying prices

WHAT’S THE VIBE? If you’re looking to escape the double-fisting carbohydrate crowd, head to the hill where you can sample a bevy of Iowa’s finest wines. Stop by during the day to learn from entertaining speakers and stomp some grapes, then sit back with a glass in hand to enjoy the nightly live music while overlooking what is arguably the best view of the fair.

DAY DRINKING

Steer n Stein

FIND IT: On Grand Avenue between the Grandstand and the Midway.

WHEN CAN YOU PARTY? 9 a.m. to midnight

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Beers run $6 to $13

WHAT’S THE VIBE? When the day starts heating up, find your way out of the sweaty, underdressed masses on the concourse to try the fair’s newest intoxicating attraction. Owner Stan Kranovich has engineered a way to serve your beer at a freezing cold 27 degrees Fahrenheit, earning it the “super chill” name.

Master Jack's Margarita Bar

FIND IT: On Grand Avenue, west of the Varied Industries Building

WHEN CAN YOU PARTY? 10 a.m. to midnight

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $7 to $10 for margaritas and daiquiris and $6 to $10 beers

WHAT’S THE VIBE? Convince your friends that a margarita-siesta is a better way to spend the afternoon than riding the sketchy midway rides (which won’t seem so sketchy after the margaritas). The brightly colored yellow and green tents shading this festive bar peek out above the crowd on Grand Avenue, offering live music and a lighthearted atmosphere.

IN SEARCH OF A HANGOVER CURE

Diamond Jack’s

FIND IT: On Rock Island across from the Livestock Pavilion

WHEN CAN YOU PARTY? 10 a.m. to midnight

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $10 Bloody Mary’s and $5 to $10 beers; $11 and under for food.

WHAT’S THE VIBE? Find morning-after solace in a Bloody Mary and an ultimate bacon pork tenderloin. Laze away the afternoon above the crowd on the breezy balcony, then gear up to let loose for round two with their house band, which starts playing at 7 p.m.

Jalapeno Pete’s

FIND IT: On Grand Avenue in front of the Midway

WHEN CAN YOU PARTY? 9 a.m. to midnight

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Most drinks are $6

WHAT’S THE VIBE? Stave off your hangover with a carb-laden dream: fried nacho balls, one of the newest culinary additions to the fair this year. The concoction is made up of seasoned ground beef, jalapenos, and cheddar cheese coated in a Nacho Cheese Dorito crust (because why not?). Wash it down with a beer to straighten yourself out.

MORE: Follow The Des Moines Register's State Fair page

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://dmreg.co/1TvnN9o