The Basement

The Basement13-Bar-SM-1024x515

Modern Love: DJ Eight Ten brought a new kind of party to Des Moines with Pressure Drop. After a successful three year run the night will be reborn as MODERN LOVE. This dance party and social gathering will expand upon the funky soulful musical foundation of Pressure Drop to include a vast array of new sounds. Music without borders. Strictly Vinyl. Strictly Positive vibrations. No Cover. No Closed minds. Second Saturdays.

Tuesday Team Trivia: One of Des Moines’ longest running Trivia nights, this weekly Tuesday night event features 8 rounds of trivia questions written by the hosts themselves, covering a wide range of topics, from pro wrestling to Nickelodeon characters to current events and everything in between. Bring a team of 2 – 6 or show up to join a team; Each weekly winner gets to pick the first category for the next week’s trivia and gets some well-deserved bragging rights. Monthly winners receive a reserved table the next month, and whatever else we might come up with. Door prizes given away throughout the night.

Des Moines Poetry Slam: Currently in its twelfth year of existence, we are excited to welcome the Des Moines Poetry Slam to its new home at the Firehouse. This event is an amateur, literary competition where poets read or recite original material that is then judged on a numeric scale by previously selected judges from the audience. Poetry Slam is an entertaining, high energy art form that incorporates elements of writing as well as public speaking. Often deemed the People’s art, a Poetry Slam differs from an open mic in that the sense of competition creates a crowd pleasing mixture of art and theater, think of a gentler version of Evening at the Improv. The Des Moines Poetry Slam is currently seeking to host the National Poetry Slam in 2016.

Social Club Sessions: Don’t think we’ll sit quiet when our recurring events aren’t occupying the bar. With options for both early and late shows, join us as we harken back to our Sideshow Lounge roots with an eclectic variety of local, national, and international music.

Rex Manning Day: Rex Manning Day is a night dedicated to all the things you loved / hoped you’d forget about the ’90s. Featuring local bands playing 90′s only cover sets followed by a dance party with DJ NICE KICKS, the only strictly 90′s hip hop / r&b DJ this side of the Mississippi.

Ramona Joyce’s American Voices: Ramona Joyce’s American Voices is a monthly interview of a game show featuring hometown legends and mysteries. Part performance, part interview, but mostly part shenanigans.

Revolver Comedy Revue: Anything Improv and the Des Moines Social Club present a high caliber comedy show featuring a rotation of Des Moines best stand-up and improv comedians performing an eclectic evening for fans of all types of comedy.

Call and Response: A Variety Show – Hosted by influential Iowa musician Patrick Tape Fleming (Poison Control Center, Gloom Balloon, BiFi Records), Call and Response features intimate in depth one-on-one conversations between musician and musician. They’ll not only talk back and forth with Fleming but perform songs together that have influenced both artists. Guests will also go deep into their own heart and soul about the creation of their music and perform.

Haiku Deathmatch: A once a month, all-bets-off poetry slam with a revolving theme. The inagural late night poetry slam will be a Haiku Deathmatch, a fast paced, team oriented poetry competition; think of mashing a poetry reading with The Voice and you won’t be far off. The Deathmatch is an invite-only competition, readers are notable talents of the community and the judges are recognized writers, educators and entertainers. Judges are encouraged to award points based on personal opinion and not academic knowledge, making their personality an intrinsic portion of the show.

Open Circus: A place for expression and creativity. Bring your guitar, your drums, your voice, your words….comedy, drama, poetry, rock, world beat….bring yourself, and share whatever it is you’re best in sharing. We will be featuring a weekly artist or two to start us out and push us along, with a rotating crew of improvised comedy performers to keep us laughing all night….so come one come all, grab a seat, a coffee/beer, and a mic.

Jazz Happy Hour: This once a month happy hour / evening event features legendary Des Moines DJ Nighthawk, the alias of Urban Dreams founder and former Iowa House Representative Wayne Ford, spinning the best Jazz and R&B for a discerning audience.

Kum&Go Theater

12-Theater-Interior-SMWe’ve transformed the main floor of the Maintenance Shop into a black box theater – no fixed stage or seating. The space is a giant black box that we will fill with theater, film, music, dance, wrestling or fit uniquely for your event. Between our own programming and events put on by community partners in this space, we’re excited to carry on the tradition of our theater established in our previous locations. Note: The Black Box would not have been made possible without the incredible generosity of our heroes, Liz Kruidenier and Frank Burnette.

DMSC Theater Co.
DMSC Theater Co. will produce a variety of politically and socially relevant theatre that is accessible to the public. They strive to create work that challenges and entertains the audience — while inspiring unprecedented community engagement, social responsibility and creativity.

Iowa School of Burlesque
The Iowa School of Burlesque is the premiere burlesque university in the state of Iowa. Started in 2011 by Headmistress Phoenix L’Amour, it has been Central Iowa’s headquarters for burlesque education, performance and opportunity. More information at

The Bash
Ring in the new year with one of the first events at the DMSC’s new Firehouse home. The Bash features live music, interactive art, light shows and tons of surprises throughout the night.

Repertory Theater of Iowa
DMSC’s professional resident ensemble theater company will be dedicated to the production of high quality classic theatre and innovative productions for the 2014 – 2015 season.

3X Wrestling
Central Iowa’s independent professional wrestling company, 3XW presents live wrestling events each month in the Kum & Go Theater.



Des Moines Metro Opera
Des Moines Metro Opera will present a 90-minute adaptation of one of the world’s most familiar and well-known operas: Bizet’s Carmen, adapted by Peter Brook. This performance is part of the DMMO’s 2nd Stage Series, which is designed to expose audiences to this remarkable art form through operatic presentations in unorthodox spaces.

Des Moines Onstage
The Des Moines Onstage Children’s Theater — a children’s theater group focusing on social awareness that is comprised of all student performers — will produce plays and musicals for the 2014 season.

Midnight Movies
On closing night of each DMSC Theater Co., the DMSC will present a screening of a related film — either from the era in which the play was set or related to the play’s content.

Late Night Bauhaus
Once the stage has cleared on the last Friday of every DMSC Theater Co. performance run, the DMSC will present a new piece of cutting-edge theater for one night only.

A local band performs over the screening of a classic film of their choice to provide the experience of the way in which silent films were originally presented.

Prairie Meadows Courtyard

Once a parking lot for the firefighters, the area between the two fire station buildings has been transformed into a multipurpose courtyard capable of holding up to 700 people for outdoor events. Along with a stage for musical and theatrical performances, the courtyard also is home to a giant projection screen for showing movies (local and non), projection art and whatever other events may come our way.

In the works, are hydroponic gardens made out of shipping containers. DMSC wants to serve all art forms, and gardening is often overlooked. These containers will provide fresh herbs and vegetables to local restaurants and provide a teaching space for gardening and agriculture.

Culinary Loft

The Culinary Loft at the Des Moines Social Club, located on the second floor of the Main Building of the Firehouse, features a wide variety of culinary classes for all experience levels. View the current class offerings at The Culinary Loft is presented by Meredith Corporation and Cathy and Steve Lacy


Firefighter’s Memorial

The Des Moines Social Club has partnered with Liz Lidgett Fine Art to commission artwork from local talent for the Firefighter’s Memorial. The work will be located in the former firehose drying area and will feature a combination of artwork and mementos from former tenants of the firehouse. Liz Lidgett said of the work, “My goal is to help create a work of art that both commemorates the valiant work of the firefighters that once called this building home and to teach visitors of the new social club about the building’s history.”

MALO Restaurant

One of the most important rooms to maintain was the Apparatus Bay, the main room of the Headquarter Building’s 1st floor, where the trucks lived. Crucial to preserving this historic building was maintaining the size and openness of this room, so it became obvious to us that we needed a community partner to take this space and transform it into their own. This is where our friends at Orchestrate Hospitality (the brains behind Zombie Burger, Centro, and other amazing restaurants around town) stepped in to create their newest restaurant, MALO.

MALO is Des Moines’ destination for Latin cuisine. From classic Havana cocktails to inventive Mexican dishes, MALO celebrates all the flavors of Latin America.

Capes Kafé

The central communications area has been the hub of Fire Station #1 for the last 30 years. It was important for us to maintain the shape of this room as it is so unique, so we searched for the proper fit. In addition, we wanted to create a space for those who may not want to hang out in the bar and/or restaurant. Used mostly as the spot for central communication to be monitored, this room is now home to a new, caffeinated, hot spot for DMSC — Capes Kafé. Bleeding into the gallery with comics, Capes Kafé will service the lobby, gallery seating area and alley to the east.

Specials and sales all day long! Buy a coffee, get a free comic! Buy a comic, get a free coffee! Not since peanut butter and jelly has anything gone together so well!

It’s coffee and comics-only at Capes Kafé!


Office Space

Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Collaborative Office Space
The goal of our collaborative office spaces is to house several area non-profits who can save some of their budget by sharing resources, space … and eventually staff. All non-profits, regardless of mission, share similar challenges, and we will work together to solve them. Alongside DMSC, the Firehouse will be the home offices of Civic Music Association and The ALS Association of Iowa, and it will act as a new outpost for Urban Dreams. In future years, the DMSC looks forward to working with more non-profits that will take up permanent or semi-permanent space on the Firehouse’s second floor.

Free Office Meeting Space Sponsored by Wells Fargo
The Des Moines Social Club understands the challenge for non-profits and local artists who don’t want to shell out bucks to meet for an hour or two — and who need more privacy than a coffee shop provides. We’ve been there ourselves. You need to meet? Take advantage of our Free Office Meeting Space. 3 – 4 hours a week will be set aside for any artist or non-profit to use our meeting spaces, free of charge.

Handball Court

Original to the Firehouse in 1937, this 850 sq. ft. space with 18 foot ceilings was a functioning handball court for the first 60 years of its life. The court later became an office space as the fire department struggled with space for their administrative staff. In preserving this historic building during our renovation, we have taken out the drop ceilings and false walls, cleaned the wood floors, and added a grid system for aerial acrobatic classes and hanging artwork to re-create the Handball Court as it was originally built with a little touch of our own.

The unique dimensions and natural reverb found in the Handball Court prompted us to reserve this room for our most eclectic programming. Dubbed the “Experimental Gallery,” this room is home to groundbreaking work in all mediums, from large-scale visual installations to noise music concerts and everything in between.


The second floor of the Firehouse houses classroom space for both youth and adult education. Originally the dormitories/sleeping area for the firefighters, we created three classroom spaces, each customized to better facilitate different types of classes — a dance studio with hardwood floors, an art studio with slop sink and a multi-purpose classroom that is windowless to better serve film and photography classes. View the Classes page for a full list of current classes.

Blue Moon Recording Studio

As part of our mission to support the music and spoken word scene in Des Moines, the Social Club houses a recording studio for use by local artists at a discounted rate.