The scene: We arrived at Django at about 4:30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. While the restaurant was a relative ghost town, the tables in the bar area were full and the bar stools were half full with diners and drinkers ranging in age from 21 to 60.
Django has always prided itself on offering French food without the intimidation, but when it comes to happy hour, the French facets of Django fade; in their place are upscale specialty drinks and seafood.
What we got: The bartender suggested the ginger spiced mojito, a $5 specialty drink during happy hour.
Made with light rum, ginger-infused syrup, fresh mint and soda, the mojito is typically a popular summer drink, which helped me forget about the late October chill in the air.
My drinking partner tried another $5 specialty drink, the new Frenchie, made with Absolut Vanilla vodka, Chambord, pineapple juice and topped with champagne. The bite of the alcohol was masked with sweetness, making the new Frenchie a dangerous concoction.
Django’s happy hour specials also include food. We opted for the $10 cheese and charcuterie plate. We watched as the cheese and meat selection, which included a house-made pate we dubbed “meat cake,” was sliced behind the bar in front of us. Arby’s would approve of its proximity to the end customer.
We also tried the shrimp cocktail offered at $1 per shrimp; the giant shrimp were a bargain and were served from the centrally located raw bar.
Other specials: In addition to $1 shrimp, Django offers $1 oysters. The happy hour menu also includes $5 gin or vodka martinis, $5 Champagne and a list of $5 specialty drinks.
Worth leaving work early for the: Service. I’m not kidding. Django has tasty, high-quality food and plenty of alcohol to choose from, but it’s the restaurants refusal to hire anyone but the friendliest, most knowledgeable staff that makes this spot easy to love. We were well taken care of by bartender Pete, who was always ready with a suggestion or spot-on description of the beers on tap.
Find it: 210 10th St.
Info: 288-0268; djangodesmoines.com
Happy hour: 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday