There has been a bar operating at 834 Hull Ave. since Prohibition was repealed in 1933. Earlier this month the location suffered a short drought when Hull Avenue Tavern shut its doors, albeit temporarily. The Hull underwent some renovations and reopened Jan. 17 with a new look for one of the city’s oldest bar.
The biggest change is to the Hull’s bar. Owner Tom Morris tore out the old bar, which ran along the length of the wall just inside the door, and replaced it with a more square-shaped bar. (The old bar was only about 20 years old, nothing historic about it.)
Morris said the change was largely due to the length of the old bar, which made things inconvenient. Taps were at one end and the beer cooler was at the other. Bartenders had to put in a lot of leg work going back and forth between the two. Now things are much more centrally located.
Over the last few months, Morris has been making big and small changes to the Hull. The bar has a new stage and backing behind it, featuring large prints of retro pin-up girls. Morris put in a new floor, redid the ceiling and put in wood trim. He also got rid of the plethora of red and black paint previously splashed around the room, which he described as “not good colors for a bar.”
“I’ve been wanting to do this for a while; this should make the bar feel a little more welcoming,” Morris said. “I wanted to make it look like the oldest bar, so I pretty much changed everything.”
The Hull has hosted some interesting characters over the years in terms of patrons, but with Morris’ changes, the bar itself has shed its drab look and has more character itself.
You can view the stage from almost everywhere in the new bar, allowing for a better experience at the Hull’s regular live concerts.
The Hull Avenue Tavern is a piece of Des Moines history, and the new changes let it be a dive without being a hole in the wall. With the customer loyalty the bar maintains, it could easily last another 80 years.
Hull Avenue Tavern
Find it: 834 Hull Ave.
Hours: 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Friday, noon-2 a.m Saturday and Sunday