With its country décor, Kitty’s is a bar in which you would expect a specific sound and style, but you would be wrong. Oh, there’s country, but there’s so much more. Top 40 pop, hip hop and even salsa music mix with the steel guitars and line dancing.
On a Thursday night we wandered in to spend some time taking in the sights at Kitty’s.
8:45 p.m.: I walk in to find three older couples dancing to country music on the dance floor. There’s a guy sitting on the bar, chatting with two friends. I walk up and order a $1.75 Coors draw and take a seat so I can watch the evening unfold.
8:51 p.m: Two more couples make their way to the dance floor, with the men twirling their partners to Eric Clapton’s version of “Cocaine.”
8:52 p.m: I check out the walls. The first thing that catches my eye is the “2P” and downward arrow pointing to the restrooms. The walls are lined with airbrushed illustrations of various pop and country acts, though I can’t quite make out who some of them are. The cross-eyed Brittany Spears jumps out thanks to a KFed tattoo. Eminem is instantly recognizable. Another is either Prince or latter-era Bob Dylan.
8:55 p.m.: There are multiple couples on the dance floor, but no one seems to be dancing to the same song. There’s some line dancing, slow dancing and random spinning going on.
8:58 p.m: I notice there doesn’t seem to be a single cowboy hat in the bar. I think I spot one, but upon closer inspection it seems to be a Panama hat.
9:03 p.m.: Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” comes on and a legit cowboy hat appears from out of nowhere and ambles toward the bar.
9:10 p.m.: I chat with the bartender, who tells me Salsa Night starts at 10 p.m. She’s not sure what the crowd will be like, since it’s the first night of the Iowa State Fair.
9:25 p.m.: Two more couples walk to the dance floor and start dancing to George Jones’ “C.C. Waterback.” I could be wrong, but I could swear it’s the second time the song has played in half an hour.
9:30 p.m.: A couple consisting of an older gentleman and a muuuuch younger woman make their way to the dance floor. Maybe it’s father/daughter night. Or maybe line dancers are studs.
9:45 p.m.: A rap song comes on and a couple keeps dancing exactly the way they were for the George Jones song.
9:47 p.m.: “The Electric Slide” starts and the man dancing earlier leaves the floor. He’ll country dance to a hip-hop song, but not this? His wife breaks into the slide, no problem.
10:01 p.m.: Five couples take to the floor and start salsa dancing. Salsa Night has officially begun.
10:05 p.m.: Wait, there’s a power struggle for the dance floor as some country twirlers reemerge!
10:07 p.m.: More couples fill the floor. One couple is stomping their feet so hard that it sounds like they’re wearing clogs.
10:10 p.m.: No one seems to stay on the dance floor for more than a song, but there is always a steady stream of new dancers to replace them.
10:12 p.m: All the cowboy hats are officially gone.
10:13 p.m.: The dance floor seems to be divided into five sections: the four corners and center. A couple occupies each space, until a second couple tries to crowd into one of the corners. It’s dance floor chaos!
10:14 p.m: The dance floor again empties, and new dancers rush out to take their spaces. Still unsure of how the couples synchronize their exits, I decide it’s time to make my own.
Where: 8800 Swanson Blvd., Clive.
Hours: 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Wednesday through Friday. 7 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday.
Info: Go to kittysusa.com.