#RAGBRAI · East Iowa · Grownup Getaways · The Mud Belt-Traveling the Mississippi

Scouting RAGBRAI-2018: The Party Has Already Started in Downtown Davenport

The front wheels of RAGBRAI will be pulled in to Downtown Davenport and the mighty Mississippi. Complete the trek because this town knows how to welcome a crowd of any size! 

Davenport, IA: Scott County

It has come full circle for us here on The Iowa Gallivant on this 4th year of our project called Scouting RAGBRAI because, like in 2015, we’re back to Downtown Davenport and the countdown to late July is on! We’re on a much needed grownup getaway and this town knows how to supply the great times!

Carb-Up & Protein Boost!

Better start with your sweet tooth at Beignet Done That Coffee Bar & Cafe! The fryer is on and the heavily sugared and heavenly tasting beignets are the perfect start to your day and ending. And middle! They’re located on the bottom floor of the historic Hotel Blackhawk and the coffee is flowing here! We know the RAGBRAI crowd loves cold and carbonated beverages, but we also know they need the caffeine charge especially during the last overnight of the week. Grab a pastry- they also have great gluten free options- and a drink and get going!

The Phoenix is on the rise in Downtown Davenport and so is the crust on their amazing pizzas. We devoured the pie with the name bares the restaurant’s name and it’s topped with Cajun Alfredo sauce, bacon, chicken, mozzarella, Parmesan and topped their balsamic reduction. This is looking for a good home. Please do what you can….

Armored Gardens will be one of the most fun places you’ll visit while eating your way through Downtown Davenport. Get that shot of protein from their slow smoked BBQ platter full of ham, pork, chicken, brisket and hot links! Your carb-craving can be cured with their Mac-A-Rito. A burrito filled with smoked pork, mac and cheese and fries….. yes, please! Wait until you see what else they have. Don’t stop scrolling now!

You all love that “hole in the wall”. Guess what! Davenport has that taken care of and it serves incredible burgers from a hole in the wall! Located past the bar inside Kilkenny’s Pub is Limericks Pub Grub and they have the goods on late night burgers and a whole lot more. I hit the slammer burger and never looked back. Double cheese, bacon, fried egg, chili garlic sauce. A little cheese sauce for those fries, thank you very much.


Downtown Davenport has plenty of places to get that little thirsty feeling taken care of and Mac’s Tavern has the historic ambiance and skilled bartenders that make it all happen. They have plenty of  beer taps and they know how to create some great drink specials like The Green Machine pictured above. Get your vitamins, RAGBRAI!

There’s nothing like the feeling of an Iowa brewery welcoming you into town. We wanted to experience some places we haven’t been before, but there was no way we were leaving town without a stop to Great River Brewery! We went to flight school and their Dirty Blonde won out. That’s a beer, folks. Bring your sweat, shiny helmet and all the stories of RAGBRAI-2018 here and smash the beer on the river!

I don’t know about you, but when I’ve successfully peddled through Iowa, I want to play a copious amount of vintage arcade games and pinball! Analog Arcade Bar located in an old bank and it’s dripping with nostalgia. Cold beer and games you haven’t played since you were too young to buy that beer.

Let’s go camping…..Inside! The Phoenix has a Smores flavored cocktail including that important roasted marshmallow the bartender ignites right in front of the excited customers.

Want to take a celebratory shot of your favorite whiskey when you reach the Mississippi? Go ahead! Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Raccoon Motel is another Davenport institution that takes everyone down memory lane. Baseball cards in the bar and vintage vinyl on the speakers. As you can see, Rollie Fingers joined us.

Right next door to the Raccoon Motel is that Armored Gardens joint we wrote about above and they showed us the future of the beer bar. 100 beers on tap, RAGBRAI! From local legends to macro and micro brews all over the globe. You’ll be looking up at the screens like the sports books in Vegas casinos as you wonder what to order next. You can even order via the lottery system. That’s fun for any giddy RAGBRAI’er!

We know how to pick a night to visit Davenport, because the mixologists at RAW Cocktails & Appetizers were testing out some incredible new drinks that could making it onto the RAW menu. One beverage that still has our attention is the Grapefruit Numb-Numb. This refreshing cocktail has quite the journey before its served-up. RAW grinds the flowering herb called Szechuan Button and then dries it out for three days. Next, its placed around the rim and it gives each sip a unique numbing effect. RAW uses fresh, healthy seasonal ingredients and has a focus on the environment too. No disposable straws, napkins, paper towels or disposable takeout containers. How do they pull this off? You’ll just need to go see for yourself!

The night was concluded with a stop at the rooftop bar known as The Current Iowa! They have one of the best views in all of the Quad Cities area and it’s got plenty of room for the RAGBRAI nation descending on Davenport.

Rest-Up & Cool Down!

Not too far from Downtown is Rhythm City Casino and a lot of comfortable beds, modern rooms, beautiful hot showers and all the air conditioning you want on an Iowa day in July. They used to be on the river, but now they’ve opened up a brand new state of the art property inland and it is absolutely stunning. Want to put off resting up? No prob! Hit the casino floor and work on that jackpot flashing at you. Or listen to live bands, drink at the bar or shop for souvenirs. You deserve it! You just biked across Iowa! And we all know what’s waiting for us in the morning. The breakfast buffet that’s absolutely loaded with all your favorites. Eggs Benedict to go with your next blackjack at Rhythm City. Now that’s a RAGBRAI capper! And you want to see more of what Davenport has then click on our scouting trip in 2015 and gallivant your way through this town all over again.

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Thank you to Rhythm City Casino Resort  for providing us with an incredible room during our visit to Davenport. The staff, accommodations, food and service were excellent! *Our room was complimentary and the opinions expressed on this article are of our own.
Thank you to Jessica Waytenick and everyone at Visit Quad Cities for helping us out with another great trip to Davenport!
Go to the RAGBRAI website to see all the information on the worlds greatest bike tour! Like the RAGBRAI Facebook page to keep up on all the updates.

Thanks for reading everyone! See you on RAGBRAI!

A special thank you to our trusty Uber professionals! We can’t have a grownup getaway without a safe driver.

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