Get ready for a Viking-inspired pub opening in Des Moines' East Village
Three Des Moines' Chefs talk about trusting their staff's and earning that trust in return. Des Moines Register
Odin is sending smiles from Valhalla over the opening of this new pub in East Village.
Des Moines’ first Nordic-inspired bar is set to open its doors to the public on at 11 a.m. July 31. SKØL, located at 401 SE 5th Street in Des Moines, is the next concept of Full Court Press, Inc. in its "saga" of thematic and restaurants and bars in the greater Des Moines area.
Touted as a “pub of pure imagination,” SKØL is located on the corner of Southeast 5th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. The walls are adorned with shields and antlers to pay homage to Eikþyrnir, the stag that guards the Great Hall of Valhalla in Asgard.
The cozy, low-lit pub will be open seven days a week and can seat 66 inside and 40 on the patio. And although SKØL isn't deliberately meant to inspire a tie to the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, restaurant ownership isn't naive — they can envision it becoming a purple-and-gold hangout on fall Sundays.
“Our menu will feature roasted meats, Viking tacos, burgers, wings, and salads,” said Jeff Bruning, owner of SKØL. “Come out to try our pork belly burnt end tacos, smoked salmon spread or Mo’ Rub BBQ dry rub wings. We will also showcase daily roasted meat specials packed with savory flavors.”
In addition, SKØL will feature an extensive bourbon menu, 175 bottles of liquor and 26 beers, wines and meads on tap, with another 50 beers in cans.
The SKØL food menu is broken up into appetizers, wings, salads, sides, tacos, burgers, sandwiches and daily roasted meat specials. Tacos are served on lefse, or Norwegian flatbread. Here are a few highlights:
- Housemade beef jerky — Thick-cut pieces of sirloin, lightly smoked and seasoned ($7.99; also available in sweet and spicy flavor)
- Mo'Rub pork rinds — Pork rinds seasoned with Mo'Rub ($5.99; as a side, $2.99)
- Wings - A pound of smoked wings tossed in a choice of sauce such as SKØL Viking Funeral (hot), harissa honey, Jamaican jerk dry rub and jalapeño-lime ($9.99)
- Chili Colorado Taco — Sliced beef in a savory red chili sauce, served on Norwegian flatbread topped with pico de gallo and cotija cheese with lime wedge and sliced radishes ($2.49 each)
- SKØL! Tacos — A 1970's "mom's version" of tacos made with seasoned ground beef in a crispy shell with cheese, lettuce and tomato (2 for $3.49)
- Pork burger — Fresh ground pork, bacon and pork rinds, grilled and topped with Dijon mayo, pepper jack cheese, onion, lettuce and tomato ($10.99)
Daily SKOL Roasted Meat Specials:
Roasted meats are served with one side and a roll ($9.99-$11.99; double meat, $4.99 extra).
- Monday — Rum Ham, flavored with brown sugar, pineapple and spices
- Tuesday — Pork Loin Roast
- Wednesday — Marinated Chicken, a choice of white or dark meat
- Thursday — Viking Bacon Loaf, made with Graziano's Italian sausage and crumbled bacon, brushed with barbecue sauce
- Friday — Smoked Salmon, marinated in housemade brown sugar, spices and barbecue sauce
- Saturday — Porchetta, pork belly rolled up with herbs and spices
- Sunday — Prime Rib
A toast to Scandinavia
A variety of complex, bold and unique beers make both the draft and canned beer lists. SKØL will introduce beers and bourbons that rarely make their way to Iowa — and pair with the marinades and spices of the food menu.
Not only will SKØL showcase an extensive bourbon and other brown spirits collection, but the cocktail menu contains tried-and-true drinks such as Manhattans, using either Templeton Rye or Cedar Ridge Bourbon, along with Italian Sweet Vermouth on tap and garnished with Luxardo cherries.
"With Viking influence and a nod to Scandinavian culture, SKØL features bourbon, whiskey, rum, cider, mead, wine and beer,” Bruning said. “We are venturing out into the world looking for world-class producers and are bringing back liquid gold for you to discover at SKØL.”
One unique and refreshing drink is the Finnish Long Drink, first made for attendees of the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics.
A history of SKØL
In the early 800’s, many Vikings earned a living through agriculture or fishing along the coast.
"Skål" (Danish and Swedish spelling) originated as a Scandanavian battle cry and has since evolved into a salute for good health or for use in a toast.
With the new SKØL pub, Full Court Press, Inc. wanted to emulate the Norse mythology, mead-hall feel with aspects akin to the Great Hall of Lejre, Heorot from Beowulf, and Meduseld from J.R.R. Tolkien’s "Lord of the Rings" universe.
“With the popularity of 'Game of Thrones,' 'Lord of the Rings,' History Channel’s 'Vikings,' 'Harry Potter' and the like, we thought it would be fun to have a space that would transport you into one of those tales,” Bruning said.
Full Court Press, Inc. also owns and operates Buzzard Billy’s, el Bait Shop, Fong’s Pizza, Hessen Haus, High Life Lounge, The Chicken, The Iowa Taproom, The Library Café, The Royal Mile, The Red Monk and Truman’s Pizza Tavern.
Location: 401 SE 5th St., Des Moines
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-12 a.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.