2 Dogs Pub in Iowa City
Last night, we decided to try out a new beer/food joint in town before heading to the grocery store (who wants to shop on an empty stomach?), so we headed over to 2 Dogs Pub on 1st Avenue in Iowa City. They bill themselves as having a sports-pub theme, but as not being a full-blown sports bar, so my expectations weren’t super high. I was pleasantly surprised.
A few weeks ago, we decided to walk downtown from our house to have beer-dinner at a local sports bar, The Vine, since it was closest to our house and has a semi-okay beer selection. The Vine in Iowa City is a pretty good illustration of that type of place: basement atmosphere, dark wood, dark paint, lots of tvs, a couple of non-Budweiseresque beer choices on tap, and passable food. I used to love the place a lot when I still ate meat, since their wings are city-wide famous, and back when I didn’t have very good taste in beer, but my palate has since matured.
This new joint was nothing like that! Bright and airy, with a sort of divider between the back bar area and the front, which probably makes the front more family-friendly. They have a great fucking beer selection (24 taps for draft beer), with plenty of microbrews and a nice representation of Iowa-brewed beer.
We seated ourselves and were served promptly. I picked a pint of Empyrean Dark Side Vanilla Porter, a favorite of mine, while Kevin chose some Iowa beer that neither of us can recall now. We both decided on chipotle-black bean burgers with fries: I had mine “Animal Style” with Thousand Island dressing, caramelized onions, lettuce, and American cheese (trying to recreate my usual wrap from Baldy’s, RIP), and Kevin chose the “Border Crossing”, with salsa, jalapeno slices, pepperjack cheese, and garlic aioli. The burgers were delicious, perfectly cooked with really good flavor profiles. The fries were perfectly fried, not too greasy, not too salty. For dessert, we split a tiny funnel cake, which came with fudge sauce and raspberry coulis for dipping. YUM!
The place had high ceilings, so at first we were afraid that sound might echo (have you been in the new Noodles & Co. yet? Ugh, impossible to have a conversation!), but I didn’t notice a problem with noise at all, and the place was fairly busy. It might be a little ruckus-y if the joint is full, but that’s to be expected. There were several TVs scattered around, but they were at that perfect height on the wall where you don’t notice them if you’re not looking for them. They were also all blissfully silent. Classic rock played softly from speakers overhead.
Overall, we both dig the place quite a lot. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a quick bike ride from our house. For two people, where we both ordered burgers, beer, and split a dessert, the bill came to $29. Not bad at all.