200 SW 2nd St.
Des Moines Iowa 50309United States
The 1970s comes to life in this fun, shag-carpeted dive bar.
Newbies who go to High Life for the first time are stunned that the place is only a few years old, because the 1970s decor is so authentic. Most people would say this place looks just like their parents' basement during the 1970s, complete with the ugly green shag carpeting, the ripped Naugahyde booths with the yellow foam exposed, the wood-paneled walls, the lit-up, slowly rotating beer signs, the tiny black and white TV behind the bar, the signs on the wall for Jimmy Carter and the Led Zeppelin concert footage. It's totally cool, man, and it's fun.As for the menu--the food is fine, and the prices are cheap. High Life doesn't serve any beer manufactured after 1970, so you get all of the oldie but goodie brands here, including Schlitz and Pabst Blue Ribbon, for around $3.50 a bottle. A cheeseburger basket runs $3.75, including fries. (But you could sub the fries for onion rings or tater tots.) The appetizers include a couple of new ideas, like Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls, but try the Velvet Elvis dip, which you would expect to see on an episode of One Day at a Time (sausage floating in a thick cheese sauce). Standout entrees include the goulash, the chicken pot pie and the meat loaf, all for around $6.25. Wash it down with a Shasta -- when was the last time you saw that on a menu? The service is prompt and friendly, even when it's packed, which at lunch and dinner time, it is, especially when the Iowa Cubs are in town (the ballpark is kitty corner across the street). The lunchtime crowd is mostly professionals, while the evening sees a more diverse crowd.High Life connects via a doorway to the El Bait Shop restaurant next door, which is owned by the same folks and offers a fun Key West-y kind of flavor and some Mexican options, along with some of the sandwiches that also appear on the High Life menu.