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Library Café starting a new chapter with new owners

Photo by Joey Gale

Jostling bodies and jovial laughter fill the room on a crowded scene on a typical Wednesday night at the Library Café. The place is packed as people celebrate the middle of the week with bottles of beer for only $1.50. However, the last month of Wednesdays have been dark and empty for the bar nestled on the corner of 35th Street and University Avenue.

This Thursday, Drake students and townie regulars will get to see what the next scene will look like for the bar.

Full Court Press, owned by Jeff Bruning, will now be in charge of the popular student and neighborhood venue. New ownership comes after former owner, Chip Coil, announced last October that he would be moving to Ohio.

Full Court Press also owns a substantial number of venues in the downtown Des Moines nightlife scene, including El Bait Shop, Fong’s Pizza, High Life Lounge, Hessen Haus, Mullet’s, The Royal Mile, Sbrocco Wine Bar, The Red Monk and Shorty’s.

Bruning said that Full Court Press wanted to keep the traditional feel of the Library while adding a fully revamped menu.

“The Library is a place where people from the neighborhood, Drake alumni and Drake students can all come together for good food and great beer,” Bruning said.

Cleaner than it has been in the past, the location will reopen with newly installed windows and Drake blue paint above the wall paneling. A new heating and cooling system has also been added.

“We have added a new tap system that has 20 tap handles,” Bruning said. “We more or less

left the physical space but have put up new wall coverings and paint.”

Bruning said that the expanded menu will serve customers well. The infamous nachos will come in five varieties. Soups will be made from scratch and burgers will be made of hand-pressed, freshly ground beef.

The café will have drink specials also, which have yet to be determined.

The Library Café will also serve breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings, which will include more traditional menu items as well as breakfast burritos and casseroles.

“We just spruced up the place,” Bruning said. “We refer to it as the Library 2.0.”


Monday – Friday 11am – 2am [kitchen open 11am – 9 pm]

Saturday 8am – 2am [kitchen open 8am – 9pm]

Sunday 8am – midnight [kitchen open 8am – 9pm]


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