Plenty of beer choices at Jakes in Ankeny. Michael Watson / Special to Juice
Sports bar standards at Jake’s in Ankeny
Published on December 13th, 2013 | by Joe Stych
Generally you’ll see two kinds of bars in suburban Iowa: the “bar and grill,” which, despite it’s name, isn’t really a bar at all, and the sports bar that services townies and impromptu high school reunions (because who can stand their family for a whole holiday weekend?). Jake’s in Ankeny is the latter. But even though I’m not an Iowa native, a few local friends helped me discover the bar’s small-town charm.
9:32 p.m.: Imagine any strip-mall bar that you’ve ever seen, and you have Jake’s. It’s decidedly non-descript, with a small sign over the entryway and a few neon lights in the window. Since the bar is nestled between the Ankeny Dance Performing Arts Academy and a Rent-A-Center, you could consider getting smashed, wandering next door and upgrading to a 60-inch flat-screen TV.
9:38 p.m.: My guests and I enter to the Drake-Iowa basketball game on one TV, and the Big Ten Championship football game between Michigan State and Ohio State on another. Neighborhood sports bar? Check. We snag a table and order a round of Michelob Golden Light, plus a Captain-Coke.
9:49 p.m.: One of the guys I’m with is wearing an Iowa State tee, so naturally the drunkest Cyclone fan in the place comes over to exchange high-fives and become instant best friends.
9:55 p.m.: High-Five Guy decides to return to his drink, apologizing profusely for his sloppy state and leaving us with his catchphrase: “Who’s smashed?” points two thumbs at himself “This guy!”
10:12 p.m.: Sage The Gemini’s “Gas Pedal” starts playing. At least four women scream out “I love this song!” No one heeds the advice to “Wiggle like you tryna make yo ass fall off.” This bar isn’t much for dancing, apparently.
10:29 p.m.: The crowd tonight is split between 20somethings that look like they went to high school here and never left, and the older, more lethargic group that stuck around for prime time football. I’m growing concerned that they might identify me as an outsider.
10:41 p.m.: The Mich-Golden has me feeling light, and we’re cheering with the crowd as Michigan State beats Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes. Take that, successful college football coach!
10:58 p.m.: We’ve identified the “Woo!” girl at this bar, and she’s super in to D4L’s one-hit-wonder “Laffy Taffy.” I haven’t heard this song since sophomore year of high school, which makes me feel old, which calls for more drinks.
11 p.m.: Santa Claus has entered the building, sans hat, beard and sobriety (an extra dose of jolly, though). I might ask him for a case of Bud this Christmas.
11:13 p.m.: The decor is par for the sports bar course: Steelers gear, Chicago Cubs swag, a Christmas wreath and Duck Dynasty poster hanging above a Big Buck Hunter machine. Plus, a flyer by the door that says “Free Sex, just kidding, but now that we have your attention, no drinks outside.” Noted.
11:22 p.m.: Santa delivers gifts in the form of shots to some ladies at the bar. Smooth move, Mr. Claus.
11:36 p.m.: Woo Girl tries to get the party started by booty-bumping with one of the guys in my group. He’s not having it, though, so she moves on to High-Five Guy from before. My vote for couple of the year.
11:49 p.m.: The games are over and as it nears midnight the Jake’s crowd is thinning. Time for us to take our leave, but not without some fond memories of my new favorite strip-mall bar.
Jake’s in Ankeny
Find it: 605 N. Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny
Hours: noon-2 a.m. daily.