Advertisement

Cocktails for the whole family! Inside Unimpaired, downtown Iowa City’s new dry bar


Unimpaired held a soft opening on Wednesday, Oct. 13. 125 E Burlington St, Iowa City. — Emily Rose Cooper/Little Village

Wednesday night, my daughter and I headed out to a soft opening of Unimpaired, the newest and perhaps most unique bar in town. You read that right: my 11-year-old gladly came along with me for a “fancy ladies night” to Iowa City’s only dry bar.

I’ve been stalking the Unimpaired – Iowa City Facebook page since summer when I first heard the news that a fully alcohol-free, family-friendly pizzeria was opening right across the street from The Mill (RIP). Unimpaired’s first location opened in Davenport in September, with the message “Sober looks good on you!” Having decided to go sober in August and with several sober friends, I was thrilled at the chance to get a sneak peek when I happened to win one of five spots given to the general public to attend the soft opening.

As we entered the building, we were immediately greeted by friendly staff, the DJ’s energetic beats, and the buzz from the crowd. With exposed wood beams and bright lighting, the restaurant gave off a rustic yet modern vibe. There are cozy nooks for people to sit down and have intimate conversations, with colorful murals serving as beautiful backdrops and conversation starters.

Unimpaired held a soft opening on Wednesday, Oct. 13. 125 E Burlington St, Iowa City. — Emily Rose Cooper/Little Village

The food, along with the general ambiance, did not disappoint. Staff continuously brought out samples of their pizzas, the fresh veggie being our favorite. Unimpaired offers a variety of toppings and specialty pizzas, including my daughter’s favorite: tater tots! There are also salads and pasta as well as starters and sides.

Now, the reason we’re all curious — the drinks! I was excited to see what the hype was about.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the drinks were incredibly similar (a little shocking, if I’m being honest) to the “real thing.” I tried a little bit of all the samples: Jack & Coke, white wine, Old Fashioned, IPA, and a cotton candy martini. A few of the brands that caught my eye: Gruvi wine spritzers, Sexi AF spirits and Ritual Zero Proof spirits. My daughter loved the Dreamsicle energy drink, minus the energy add-in. “You name it, we have it,” I overheard one bartender say, as she mixed up a beautiful mock Tequila Sunrise.

Unimpaired held a soft opening on Wednesday, Oct. 13. 125 E Burlington St, Iowa City. — Emily Rose Cooper/Little Village
Unimpaired held a soft opening on Wednesday, Oct. 13. 125 E Burlington St, Iowa City. — Emily Rose Cooper/Little Village

The staff really enhanced the experience; they were all friendly and accommodating to the crowd. I had questions about the menu — “What brand is that?” “What’s your personal favorite?” — and the staff answered them all. I also had the pleasure to speak to the general manager, Amanda O’Donnell, who was friendly and excited to finally be opening. After several setbacks due to COVID-19, the grand opening to the public is on Friday, Oct. 22.

As a single mom, it can be hard to find a family friendly place that’s fun for all ages. Unimpaired seems to fit the bill, with entertainment for everyone: pool, darts, a jukebox, DJ booth and a stage for live performances. Starting Thursday, Oct. 28, there will even be all-ages trivia nights every week!

All in all, the experience was incredibly refreshing. In a college town with more bars than we can count, Unimpaired offers an experience that feels inclusive and unique. I am excited to go back with my friends and family for a memorable night out… without the hangover.

Staff were happy to answer questions about the bar’s one-of-a-kind drink menu. Wednesday, Oct. 13. 125 E Burlington St, Iowa City. — Emily Rose Cooper/Little Village
A DJ added to the ambiance during Unimpaired’s soft opening on Wednesday, Oct. 13. 125 E Burlington St, Iowa City. — Emily Rose Cooper/Little Village
Aw, shucks! T-shirts are for sale in one of Unimpaired’s Instagram-friendly corners. Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. — Emily Rose Cooper/Little Village

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV » editor@littlevillagemag.com

Advertisement

World of Bikes presents:

KEEP ROLLING THROUGH THE WINTER

Come talk with our experts about ways to stay on the bike this winter! Find out more at World of Bikes.

Get Started

Advertisement

Muscatine, Iowa

SHOP SMALL • SUPPORT LOCAL

Come to Muscatine for all your Holiday shopping and visit all of our unique and locally owned shops and restaurants!

Visit Muscatine

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.

Regular

$10/mo or $120/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.

Italic

$20/mo or $240/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.

Bold

$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
LittleVillageMag.com connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.