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Liquor license reinstated, Carl's Place stays closed to renovate its floors and main bar


Katie Akin   | Des Moines Register

Iconic Des Moines bar Carl's Place has its liquor license back, but its doors are still closed to the public as it remodels its floor and main bar.

Jimmy Daughenbaugh, owner of Carl's, said he doesn't know exactly when the Sherman Hill bar will reopen, but that he's aiming for sometime next week.

"I’m hoping for a week from Wednesday, but I don’t know for sure," Daughenbaugh said.

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division suspended Carl's liquor license in February following an investigation that found multiple liquor law violations. A fatal 2018 drunk driving accident connected to Carl's spurred the investigation, which also found evidence of illegal sports betting, keeping tabs open for multiple nights in violation of state law, allowing alcohol consumption past 2 a.m. and indoor smoking.

► What to know about liquor licenses in Io: Who needs one, how much they cost, what can lead to a suspension

A spokesperson from the Alcoholic Beverages Division said Carl's did not contest the allegations, instead accepting the two-week suspension of its license and paying a $3,500 penalty to the Alcoholic Beverages Division.

Despite the remodel, some of the shabbiness that makes Carl's a favorite among Des Moines' dive bar fans is here to stay.

When the bar announced its temporary closure on Facebook, commenters asked if it planned to re-do the peeling, beige siding that covers its facade and provides a marked contrast to other, restored structures in the gentrifying neighborhood. The Carl's Place account responded, "Never."

Katie Akin is a retail reporter for the Register. Reach her at kakin@registermedia.com or at 515-284-8041. Follow her on Twitter at @katie_akin.

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