The adjective "swanky" might not be one you would generally affix to Knoxville, known for being the Sprint Car Capital of the World. However, there is a relatively new hangout on the square, directly across from the historic Marion County Courthouse, that is certainly worthy of the descriptor. Atlantic and Pacific Pub (A & P), which opened in 2016, uses the term "upscale" on their Facebook page. I can certainly also get behind that terminology. Whether you like "upscale" or "swanky" or some other term, it's certainly a place I did not expect to find in this particular town.
On a recent Wednesday night, while traveling back to Des Moines from a funeral visitation in Ottumwa, two friends and I stopped in for a visit. One of my friends received a suggestion to try it out. It's directly across from the beautiful and historic Marion County Courthouse.
Inside, you'll find a space that is very tastefully decorated with high end finishes. It looks like something that might belong more in a large metropolitan city of 750,000 - rather than a town of nearly 7,500.
The exposed brick, decorative ceiling, wood floor, and elaborate lighting gives this place a look and feel that is very chic.
There's a several tables, a couple of booths, and ample seating at the bar.
There is some nice artwork and other decor, too.
They bill themselves largely a cocktail bar although they do have a selection of beer and wine on the menu as well. It's not every day that you find a bar in Iowa with a ladder to reach the upper levels of liquor on display behind the bar. This is a place that takes their cocktails seriously.
My friends and I sat at the bar area with a few other patrons. The two bartenders, Nikki and Matt, where very nice and accomodating.
My friends and I hadn't had dinner that evening so we ordered a charcuterie board and an order of spinich artichoke dip. I don't know if they offer much other than those items as food choices, but they satiated our hunger just fine.
Admittedly, I didn't get a photo of the charcuterie until some of the items in the front were already eaten by my friends. It was indeed a full platter of meats, cheeses, and amazing candied pecans.
I'm not a big fan of spinach and artichoke dip but did try a little of it. My friends seemed to like it.
In addition to food and drink, they also have some branded merchandise for sale.
They have a regular schedule of events, including an upcoming murder mystery event, bingo, and live music, for those looking for an activity to do. Their website says they offer live music during the summer months, so hopefully that will commence again in the near future.
My two friends and I left very impressed. I did not expect to find something like this in Knoxville, but I am glad it is there. One of the fellow patrons noted that Knoxville is making a real effort to improve their downtown and having something like this really is a really great amenity. Knoxville is only 45 minutes from Des Moines and also just a short drive from other communities like Pella, Oskaloosa, and Indianola. If you are looking for an interesting date night spot or somewhere different to gather your group of friends, perhaps it's time to check out the Atlantic & Pacific Pub?
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Marion County or any of the other 98 counties in Iowa. If you would like to host the Iowa Adventurer or have a good idea, please drop me a note through my website.