This post is as much of a restaurant/bar review as it is a celebratory article on the success of craft brew in Iowa. Just a couple years back, I would “hate on” a place like this because the beer selection was terrible and it was popular. And most places that would have fit the criteria of that kind of establishment wouldn’t have cared that people like me thought the place sucked because they don’t need my money; they do just fine on their own.
I would have thought Wellman’s to fit directly into that category and for awhile I’d say they did. But the last few times I’ve been there I’ve noticed some changes; namely, a fine tap selection for a place that I would normally consider somewhat of a swanky nightclub. So it turns out I’m wrong, my jaw nearly hit the floor when I happened upon this place around midnight on a Friday, scratch that, early Saturday morning and saw that Tallgrass Zombie Monkey was on tap.
Wellman’s is clearly trying to improve their restaurant by catering to all types of individuals. In this case, they’ve reached out to the craft beer fan. They feature fine beers from the likes of New Belgium, Boulevard, Deschutes, Peace Tree, and they even have bottles of Rogue (Dead Guy). Only the most snobbish of beer snobs would turn their nose up at such a selection offered by a place that mostly caters to the bud light/cran-vodka type of crowd…or this guy.
The rest of the restaurant speaks for itself. The interior is expansive and modern. There’s an enjoyable lower level patio that is complete with its own bar. The rooftop is what it’s most known for. It is the biggest rooftop bar in all of Des Moines and you can make a solid argument that it’s the best outdoor hangout in the metro on a stunning summer evening. They keep it heated in the winter but regardless of the conditions, you’ll have to venture downstairs if you want a good beer as the craft selection is only offered at the main bar. A small price to pay in order to enjoy a good beer amongst the rest of the crowd who more interested in “getting their drink on”
I don’t have a lot to say about the food. I’ve only eaten there a couple of times but I remember their nachos being good. The foods not going to blow you away but wing night (Thursday) is worth checking out. It’s definitely passable for a place that’s not known for its food.
In closing, Wellman’s is a hot-spot that I don’t mind going to. Even though I’m not all about the ambiance that the music/decor creates there, being able to enjoy a great tasting beer makes it very tolerable. The staff here works hard and is managed very well. If you find yourself in the Jordan Creek area, resist the urge to stop at one of the legions of chain restaurants and visit Wellman’s. You’ll be glad you chose a restaurant that has more character and caters to a much larger crowd than a typical chain.