Strawberry Jammer and the chicken skewers from the happy hour menu at The Standard.
Happy hour: Martini menu and apps at The Standard
Published on July 15th, 2013 | by Annie Preston
The scene: As we walked into The Standard at about 6 p.m. on a Friday evening the classic Destiny’s Child song “Jumpin’ Jumpin’” was playing. Despite Beyonce imploring the ladies to leave their men at home and party with her, The Standard was completely empty. Just one other patron sat at the bar, and he soon stepped onto a small stage to replace Destiny’s Child as the evening’s musical entertainment. On such a beautiful July night, The Standard may have been at a disadvantage to its neighbors with patios. Still, as the only two customers, my companion and I got exceptional service and a personal concert from the singer/guitar player.
What we got: Happy hour runs from 4 to 6 p.m. on Mondays and from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. The Standard has an impressive selection of martinis, and during happy hour, all the menu martinis are only $5. The Standard also offers a selection of beers — including several craft beers — for $5 during happy hour. Along with drinks, four different appetizers are available for $5 each.
While perusing the martini list, I was intrigued by the fruit loopy, which comes with a Fruit Loops cereal rim. However, I decided to go with something a little more adult and chose the grapefruit martini. The pale pink drink definitely had a kick, and the sugar rim added just a touch of sweetness. It tasted just like a spiked slice of grapefruit with a bit of sugar sprinkled on top.
My companion chose the strawberry jammer, which is made with gin, strawberry vodka, Frangellico, grenadine, lemonade and a splash of cranberry juice. Despite containing both gin and vodka, the drink was sweet and barely tasted of alcohol. It was like a delicious strawberry punch.
We decided to split two appetizers — the bruchetta and the chicken skewers. Bruchetta is one of my favorites, but this one was not anything special. With mediocre tomatoes and not enough basil, it was fine, but not outstanding. The chicken skewers were more impressive. The four pieces of grilled chicken were just spicy enough, and the garlic aioli sauce was a cool, creamy complement to the dish.
Beyond happy hour: Our waitress informed us that the bar really comes to life later in the evening. On Friday and Saturday nights, the second floor opens up into more of a nightclub with a DJ. The Standard also regularly hosts local bands. As far as drinks, along with the martinis, the menu is full of creations that sound interesting, including a selection of champagne cocktails that would be worth trying.
Other specials: On Monday nights, martinis drop even lower to $4. The bar also does a martini tour, so if you try them all (not in one night), you earn a free martini glass.
The musician playing the night we visited was not just a fluke. The Standard has live musical acts every evening during happy hour. On our visit, the singer/guitar player performed low-key covers of songs like the Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights.”
Worth leaving work early for: It’s hard to beat $5 martinis, especially when there is such a wide selection. From creative flavors like the banana grahams to more traditional offerings like the lemon drop, the martinis at The Standard are the stars of happy hour.
Find it: 208 Third St., Des Moines
Happy hour: 4-6 p.m. Monday; 4-7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday