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DES MOINES, Iowa — A new nightclub open in downtown Des Moines is a first-of-its-kind venue for house music in the city.

Platform opened its doors on Saturday, June 26 in the historic Kirkwood building downtown. The nightclub fills the spot previously occupied by Vivian’s Diner & Drinks at 400 Walnut Street. The club’s opening night featured a sold-out party headlined by Chicago-based house DJ Anthony Attalla. 

Platform is the brainchild of Brad and Jeana Goldman, a local DJ power couple with years of experience within Des Moines’ electronic music scene. They founded Platform to be a home base for house music in Des Moines and to offer a unique nightlife experience.

“We have the opportunity to bring in nationally recognized DJs and producers and even globally recognized DJs and producers,” said Brad Goldman, who ran 515 Alive Music Festival for a few years in the early 2010s. “It’s exciting for us to be able to share these talented people with Des Moines who, if we hadn’t built this space, might not have wanted to come or had the opportunity for somebody to bring them in.”

Platform’s lineup for July is taking shape. Most notably, Grammy-nominated producer EDX will DJ at the club on Friday, July 16. Golf Clap will DJ on Saturday, July 3. Max Styler is scheduled to perform on Saturday, July 10, and Boris will play on Saturday, July 24. The schedule of upcoming events can be found here.

“It’s exciting to build a place that has this kind of quality where people can really come and enjoy house music and enjoy it at its best with amazing talent and enjoy it on a level where it never was here before,” said Jeana Goldman.

Anthony Attalla DJs on the sold-out opening night at Platform in Des Moines, Iowa on June 26, 2021. (Credit: Alejandro Amoa)

House music is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in Chicago in the 1980s. It’s characterized by its repetitive four-on-the-floor beat. The genre has evolved over the years through various subgenres with their own distinctive qualities and sound. In the decades since its birth, house music’s popularity has spread across the globe. By founding Platform, the Goldmans are making sure house music is represented here in Des Moines. 

“There’s never been a [nightclub in Des Moines] that’s had this kind of identity,” said Jeana Goldman. “The other places dabble in a bunch of different things. They play hip hop one night; they play Top 40 one night. It’s all over the place. We have a solid identity, and we will stay under that house music umbrella.”

Though Platform prioritizes house music, you can also expect to hear other four-on-the-floor electronic dance music genres such as techno and disco. Tech house, which combines elements of techno and house, will be the most common subgenre of house music played at the club.

“If we were to really describe the sound of the club, 90% to 95% of the time we’re going to be playing tech house. It’s party music. But we’re going to have different events that will have different vibes,” said Brad Goldman.

Platform plans to host DJs from around the world on weekends. But the club is also open seven days a week. Its hours can be found on its website.

“Mondays and Tuesdays are deep house. Very relaxed, lounge vibes,” said Brad Goldman. “It’s always going to be very groovy, very sexy. That’s the vibe. Come in, hang out and have a cocktail.”

Wednesdays will be dedicated to local DJs. The Goldmans plan to run Platform like nightclubs in Ibiza, which have new sets of parties and DJs each season. They will handpick local DJs for residencies lasting around three months.  

“We’re interested in developing talent. There are tons of great DJs in town. Wednesdays for us are an opportunity to bring people in, hear them play and decide who is a good fit for our next season,” said Brad Goldman.

Platform nightclub in Des Moines, Iowa. (Credit: Alejandro Amoa)

Platform is a 398-capacity club. A lot of remodeling had to be done to transform the old restaurant space. The interior design now feels like a cross between a warehouse and a high-end Las Vegas nightclub.

“It’s important to give it a high-end vibe because we want a wider breadth of people to be able to come enjoy it,” said Brad Goldman. “I think we’ve built something that young people in their early 20s are going to love as a late-night nightclub, but we’ve also built a space that 30- to 40-year-olds will really enjoy coming to have a cocktail after work.”

Platform is located near Cowles Commons and the Civic Center. It’s also within walking distance of the Court Avenue Entertainment District. When the Goldmans decided to open Platform, it was important for them to be located in downtown Des Moines. 

“I don’t want to be out in West Des Moines where it’s ‘chain city,’” Jeana Goldman said. “I want to be downtown where it’s gritty and there’s that fabric of Des Moines and this culture. It was important for us to be a part of that, not to be out where we weren’t going to be around so much of the diversity and the energy.”

The Goldmans emphasized how important the city’s diversity is for their vision of Platform. They want to cultivate an environment where people of all backgrounds feel welcome.

“House music is a great equalizer. There needs to be a home where someone from any socioeconomic status, anybody from the LGBTQ community, someone of any age feels welcome,” said Jeana Goldman. “We want everybody to come with all sorts of diverse backgrounds and have a place to go where they can connect with each other because that’s what house music has always been about.”