The scene: Jethro’s BBQ is a Drake neighborhood bar that was named the “manliest” restaurant in the Midwest by the Travel Channel. The interior has an abundance of exposed, unfinished wood beams and an inordinate number of stuffed pigs. The large patio forms an L around the front exterior of the building facing Forest Avenue, and about three-fourths of this outdoor space is covered by a roof. The patio can be closed off in inclement weather, and the heat lamps hanging from the underside of the roof keep the outdoor space comfortable even when temperatures become cooler.
What I ordered: We visited during a busy and rainy Saturday dinner service, and the dining room and patio were full of families; the wait was estimated at 30 to 40 minutes, so we squeezed ourselves into a few open spaces at the bar. The Saturday drink special in April was a $7 specialty cocktail mug, essentially a Mason jar filled with a mixed drink.
I tried the Lemon Pineapple Kicker, made with citrus vodka, lemonade and pineapple juice, a tangy and dangerously tasty concoction that veils its alcohol flavor. My drinking partner tried the Lynchburg Lemonade, made with whiskey, peach schnapps, sweet ’n’ sour mix and a splash of cola. It packed more of a wallop than mine, but both were perfect choices for patio drinking.
What I saw: Because we visited during a rainy dinner service, the patrons were primarily families who were eating meals, though we anticipate the focus shifts from barbecue to booze as the hours pass.
Why you should go: Jethro’s is a great choice for slow-cooked barbecued meats, including smoked- then-flash-fried chicken wings. It also has a great patio and plenty of drink options, with 22 tap beers and many bottled brews.
Find it: 3100 Forest Ave.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday- Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday
Info: 279-3300; www.jethrosdesmoines.com
A covered patio with an inclement weather enclosure and heat lamps mean the patio can be used year- round.
Best for: Barbecue, of course, but also the views of the hustle of the Drake University campus.