The sexiest new lounge in Des Moines features a must-drink cocktail list that blends in well with the atmosphere of dim lights and cute little seating areas where couples can canoodle. Juniper Moon, the cocktail lounge from Gusto Pizza founders Josh Holderness, Joe McConville and Tony Lemmo along with Daniel Smith, who works the bar nightly, sits just across the drive from Gusto Pizza at 2005 Ingersoll Ave.
Oh, how that dim Edison lighting that surrounds old decanters, those four Egyptian chandeliers and those adorable little Tiffany lamps make this an enclave for romance.
The phone booth in the corner has a working phone with a direct line to Gusto Pizza, which will deliver food. Or order some nibbles such as a charcuterie plate or desserts including a butterscotch bread pudding or a chocolate plate from Chocolaterie Stam.
This cozy little lounge with room for 48 features a patio for 30 that opens when the weather becomes fair. A back bar from Keokuk was made in the 1880s, while two pieces from artist Will Armstrong depict Des Moines in a bygone era. Walk to the restrooms to find old photos of the four owners and celebrities who touched the city.
Games here include checkers and chess, meant to be played on one of three salvaged tables from West End Architectural Salvage, as well as Uno, Sorry, Cards Against Humanity, Scrabble and more. Find them in a little chest on the way to the bathroom.
That oh-so sexy vibe reverberates with the soundtrack, one more old school with the Rat Pack and Ella Fitzgerald mixed in with Radiohead and Miles Davis and another that gets you in the mood with Bill Withers.
Any visit here should start with the Templeton Jam, a drink imported from Lemmo’s Cafe di Scala up the hill. Even if you don’t like whiskey, this heavy-hitter mixes Victoria’s Table cherry jam and Templeton rye with a taste of lemon, simple syrup and Cava brut. You might become addicted to this concoction
The Juniper Moon namesake cocktail takes Junipero gin and mixes it with creme de violette and lemon juice, with a orange wheel for decoration.
And then there’s the Dai, Dai, My Darling, Juniper Moon’s interpretation of a daiquiri, that uses Roskam white Bordeaux, Alagna dry vermouth, Luxardo and lime for a clever new way to drink the cocktail on the rocks. By the way, you should order the Alagna vermouth on its own.
The lounge is open Mondays through Fridays from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Find It: 2005 Ingersoll Ave.