The scene: Le Boi is a gay and lesbian bar that’s not in the East Village. Separated from downtown by a bridge crossing the Des Moines River, Le Boi sits at the end of a T intersection not far from Principal Park.
About half of the main floor is eaten up by a dance floor complete with a pole of the stripper variety, which presumably plays host to the venue’s drag shows. The rest of the décor feels like it was reclaimed from a basement stuck in the 1990s. Even the framed posters on the walls, featuring men in various shades of undress, feel a bit dated.
What I ordered: We saw a sign advertising “Stupid Juice,” a mixed drink served in mini pitchers for $8 and large pitchers for $15. Though tempting, its reputation precedes it and we heard it packs a wallop, so we opted for lighter fare, with Red Stripe and Coors Light bottles for $6.50.
What I saw: Le Boi was a ghost town on a recent Saturday night at 9 p.m. In fact, we walked in to find nobody — literally nobody — in the bar. We waited a few minutes, watching the Cher concert DVD that was playing on the projection screen before the bartender took her nose out of her book, realized we were there and popped up from behind a partition to take our drink orders. We ordered and headed down a hallway, past the man emerging from the women’s bathroom, up the stairs, through a room with a sectional couch, a bar and a few tables before walking out onto the rooftop patio.
Dark clouds threatened to ruin our patio experience and a row of thick trees impeded our view of the recent ‘super moon,’ so we sat listening to the hum of the passing traffic interrupted occasionally by an excitable announcer at Principal Park and the intermittent chug of passing motorcycles, presumably patrons of the nearby Kung Fu Tap & Taco. We watched the Nationwide logo do pirouettes atop the downtown skyline, and were twice joined briefly by employees of Le Boi. Otherwise we were alone in our enjoyment of the elevated patio, which has trellises that appear freshly built as evidenced by the leftover lumber piled behind us. Though quiet on this Saturday night, we imagine the Cinco de Mayo street party in the East Village had hijacked Le Boi’s otherwise flourishing weekend business.
Why you should go: Le Boi is an alternative to the gay and lesbian bars in the East Village, and the patio offers some of the best views in town.
Find it: 509 Indianola Ave.
Hours: 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday and every other Sunday
Patio highlights: A rooftop view of the downtown skyline offers a peaceful alternative to the usual downtown drinking experience. Best for: Drag queen performances outside of the East Village.