Main Street bar opening second floor to members due to growing popularity


Nicole Hasek

Golden Tee was added to the membership level as it was requested by customers.

On weekend nights, Sam’s Place on Main Street is packed with pool players, beer drinkers and guests looking for a good, casual time. With growing popularity, a larger space is needed.

The bar will open a room upstairs for members but open to the public at no charge after 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Memberships cost $99 a person and $129 for couples per month. More seating, pool tables, games and drink options are available for members, as well as a catered meal every Saturday. For non-members, the meal is $10.

Extra seating is available in the VIP area for catered meals. (Nicole Hasek)

“We’ve just been showing people and giving them a tour, but we’ve had a lot of people sign up to be members next month,” Hartman said.

The upstairs VIP area will be officially open on Valentine’s Day.

“If you say, ‘Hey, let’s check out Sam’s Place,’ come in and go downstairs, hanging out and playing games. Then you say, ‘Hey, let’s go upstairs.’ Then you go upstairs and now you’re just sitting on a nice leather couch talking,” said Jonathan Hartman, building owner and CEO of Best Construction. “Being able to experience both of those at the same business is very rare.”

Before opening in November, the building was a live music venue. The upstairs area underwent construction in the past three months to change this and prepare for their membership program.

“I didn’t want to do a live music venue,” Hartman said. “I’m at a stage of my life where I’d prefer to sit on the couch and watch the games or whatever it may be–a little peaceful environment.”

With a wide demographic of customers, including Iowa State students, Ames residents and families, Sam’s Place is designed to have something for everyone.

For their Saturday meals, cooks prepare the food at their commercial kitchen and bring it to Sam’s Place. This is available from noon to 9 p.m.

“There’s also a lot more top-shelf liquor up there,” said Jessica Fisher, director of operations. “So it’s a little bit more extensive menu, a little classier cocktails.”

Since the business is so new, general manager Henry Witterschein is trying new deals based on what customers are interested in.

“We started doing buckets after a couple of weeks,” Witterschein said. “We introduced free pool Sundays to bring in more business on some of our slower days.”

Typically, a game of pool costs $2, and the nine-foot tables are $12 an hour.

Free pool is included with a purchase every Sunday. (Nicole Hasek )

In addition, they will now be hosting trivia on Tuesday nights starting at 7 p.m. with sign-ups starting at 6:30 p.m. They are also working toward getting pool leagues involved so they can host tournaments every other Saturday.

“It’s been very progressive, and we like to do things organically and talk to the clients and see what it is they would like to see,” Fisher said. “We’re very big on word of mouth, building our reputation and building a regular clientele base and catering to them.”