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Barrel House opens in Des Moines’ East Village


The Barrel House recently opened in redeveloped space at 401 E. Court Ave. in Des Moines’s East Village. Photo by Kathy A. Bolten

Barrel House operators knew when the Davenport-based brew pub began expanding several years ago that they wanted a location in Des Moines.

The problem was, they didn’t know where. The Jordan Creek area in West Des Moines? Prairie Trail in Ankeny? The west side of Des Moines’ downtown?

Their dilemma was solved when they toured a building at 401 E. Court Ave. in Des Moines’ Historic East Village district. The one-story building was being remodeled and new tenants were being sought. Street parking was available, as was surface parking and space for an outdoor patio.

“We really fell in love with that East Village location,” said Chris Posey, Barrel House’s director of marketing and franchise sales. “It’s got a really eclectic vibe. There’s other breweries and brewpubs nearby. … East Village is getting revitalized in the Market District. We wanted to be a part of the growth and join that community.”

JR Partners, a group that includes Tim Rypma, Paul Cownie and Jeremy Cortright, purchased the property in 2017. More than $1.6 million in improvements were made to the building in 2021, a review of building permits shows. Other tenants include R. Mane Apothecary and Power Life Yoga Barre Fitness.

The brew pub, which serves American-style bar foods, opened its first location in 2011 in Davenport. It added a second location in Davenport and also has brew pubs in Dubuque, Cedar Rapids and Marion. Its Des Moines location opened in mid-August.

Posey said the Barrel House serves beers from local breweries and offers a variety of cocktails.

The company’s owner, Jimmy Holt, has begun offering Barrel House franchises, Posey said. Its first franchise opened in Bloomington, Ill., in 2021 and the group is working with prospective franchisees in Wisconsin and Texas.

“We’re really hoping to expand and grow nationwide,” Posey said.

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