Cattoors on Grand is as much known for its karaoke prowess as it is for its drink specials. Buy-one get-one drinks are offered from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3 to 7 p.m. on Friday. The free drink comes in the form of a token that can be used then or saved for a later date. We headed to Cattoors on the evening of the rivalry game between the Iowa and Iowa State football teams to see what this neighborhood bar has to offer.
8 p.m. We arrive at Cattoors and upon opening the door to the front entrance are greeted with Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” on the jukebox. In September. This must be the reason department stores start selling Christmas goods before Halloween even hits.
8:05 p.m. We head up to the L-shaped bar and order beers. Our domestic bottles are a thrifty $3.25 apiece.
8:07 p.m. We find a table on the petite covered patio. The other four tables are full of rowdy Hawkeye fans drinking away hard feelings from the afternoon’s intrastate rivalry; only a couple of Cyclone fans are present.
8:23 p.m. We spot a guy with socks peeking out of the bottom of his pants. We normally wouldn’t think twice about this, but the socks have bowling pins on them. Where does one acquire these?
8:27 p.m. Strangely enough, a different table of drinkers ups and leaves to go bowling. By now half of the patio has cleared. The football fans are either changing scenery or heading home.
8:44 p.m. Two guys in matching cargo khakis are giggling and saying “ermahgerd” to each other. One is wearing black plastic frames. Just frames. No lenses. A third guy in plaid shorts charges one of the cargo khaki guys like a bull, head-butting him in the gut. What is it about an intrstate rivalry game that brings out the fraternity brother in grown men?
8:49 p.m. “Ermahgerd.” They’re still at it, and still giggling as if it’s the first time they’ve heard it.
8:59 p.m. A girl in a yellow V-neck shirt approaches two others sitting at a table. She bends over and shakes her booty, singing, “But you say he’s just a friend” on repeat two or three times. She then bends and shimmies her chest. One of the others says, “Make that money, honey. Make that money, honey.”
9:22 p.m. “Ermahgerd.”
9:25 p.m. Walk inside only to hear Boyz II Men’s “Motown Philly.” For those counting at home, that makes two nostalgic entrances into Cattoors thanks to interesting musical choices.
9:35 p.m. The song of the summer, Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe” comes on over the speakers and has apparently not lost its appeal with the Cattoors crowd despite its incessant presence on the radio. In an interesting display of support, Frames is all flailing arms like one of those flailing inflatable tube men. The girls in the room sing along, but only during the repetitive chorus.
9:42 p.m. I venture off to the women’s restroom, tentatively testing the doorway, since it’s sans sign. Two women are perched in front of the mirror, one reapplying her makeup, as they have a conversation that tiptoes between a heart-to-heart and an attempt to one-up each other for the World’s Crappiest Day.
9:46 p.m. Karaoke kicks off. Three blonde Hawkeye fans serenade the crowd with their rendition of Salt-n-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk about Sex.” After, they spin a wheel and win free shots.
9:53 p.m. Friends of Frames are complaining because he turned in a Backstreet Boys tune for karaoke instead of ’N Sync. The blonde Hawkeye fans are back up there, though, this time attempting to sing a Dixie Chicks song. I inadvertently make eye contact with a 20- something at the table next to mine, and we share an unspoken look of abhorrence that’s near universal among those who find themselves at karaoke bars involuntarily.
10:04 p.m. One of the blonde Hawkeyes gives her dude a lap dance. For the entire song. Near the end, the guy reaches up, makes duckbills with his hands and honks her chest. She’s not phased, but I’m reminded of a meme that features a photo of a Victorian- Era woman saying, “I love it when you honk my boobs, said no woman ever.”
10:06 p.m. Frames and his cargo khaki-shorted friend sing their Backstreet Boys song, which they seem to not know very well. As it concludes, they, too, spin the wheel and procure a round of free shots.
10:30 p.m. The karaoke tunes seem to be rotating between a couple different groups, and in between we’re treated to quirky song selections like “Kung Fu Fighting” and “I’m on a Boat.” We decide we’ve had our share, and head out to the streets of West Des Moines.
Cattoors on Grand
Find it: 1306 Grand Ave., West Des Moines
Hours: 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Friday; Noon-2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday