The Hawk High Energy Bar: An off-campus venue with an on-campus feel

The Hawk High Energy Bar is a place where the Iowa City community comes together and makes healthy choices.

Gabby Drees

Karlee Cleary, owner, pours water into a drink at the Hawk High Energy Bar located on Linn Street in Iowa City on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. “I Chose [to open up in] Iowa City because I have nutrition clubs from Dubuque [to] all the way here, and [I] was asked by a couple of girls, originally from Dubuque, who go to school here if I would consider one here, [and] now here we are. The Hawk High Energy Bar opened in October 2021.


Health teas, workout shakes and a community space for college students – the Hawk High Energy Bar has already established itself as a refreshing spot for Iowa City’s health-focused community in its first few months of operation.

The bar originally opened in Iowa City in August 2021 at 341 South Linn Street.

Owned by Karlee Cleary, who owns seven other businesses in Dubuque and Iowa City, the bar was opened to provide the community with healthy alternative drink options, including Herbalife products, lit teas, pre- and post-workout shakes. and meal replacements.

Cleary said his goal for The Hawk was to bring the Iowa City community together. Most recently, she aired Super Bowl 2022 Sunday on health bar TVs for people to watch together.

“I really like being one-on-one with people,” Cleary said.

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Paityn DeBoer, a sophomore at the University of Iowa, said she was at the Hawk a maximum of four days a week. She frequently hosts study groups with her friend at the health bar.

DeBoer said she felt The Hawk was never too loud, so she could work all day without any pressure to leave due to the noise distraction. She explained that when she did her homework at The Hawk, it seemed to go more smoothly than at other study locations.

“To me, The Hawk is like the perfect study environment, it kind of gives me this almost small-town feel,” DeBoer said.

The Hawk has Wi-Fi for students, as well as tables and a couch for studying. DeBoer started coming to The Hawk within the first few weeks of its opening and said she preferred The Hawk over other cafes or spaces because of its drinks. While coffee like what she would get at Starbucks wouldn’t keep her awake, drinks from The Hawk did the trick.

“I once had tea on my way home – which is seven hours – and when I had Starbucks I would get tired – I would crumble like the first two and a half to three [hours]”, DeBoer said. “I had a lit tea, it took me a whole seven hours, plus I wasn’t tired that night.”

The Hawk’s lit tea flavors change daily, sometimes four times a week. DeBoer said she adds a collagen supplement to her lit teas, which the Hawk offers. Pre and post workout shakes can be customized with flavors like cake batter or dark chocolate coconut.

Michela Lens, a junior at the University of Iowa, works behind the bar counter, preparing smoothies and shakes for customers and managing the cash register.

Lens said she feels The Hawk appeals to many different types of people throughout the community because of the different menu options. She noted that she saw nurses having an energizing lit tea before their shift and that she usually tended to athletes, medical staff and people coming and going from the gym.

Lens also noted that The Hawk works with local organizations to give back to the Iowa City community by hosting fundraising events.

“We did one for Dance Marathon, we did one for Alpha Chi Omega…we also do lit tea drops for small businesses in Iowa City, so we’ll be giving away free samples,” Lens said.

The Hawk High Energy Bar is active on Instagram, where patrons can pre-order and the bar can show off their drinks and provide information on daily flavors.


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