Uptown Garage Brewing Co. bringing auto-themed brewery to Ankeny's Uptown district
The Des Moines suburb grew by 6.4 percent to 62,416 residents during the 12-month period ending July 1. It's the third year in a row Ankeny has been on the U.S. Census Bureau's list of the fastest-growing cities with population of 50,000 or more. Wochit, Wochit
An old Ford showroom and garage in Ankeny is getting a new lease on life as an auto-themed brewery.
Uptown Garage Brewing Co. will open Aug. 3 at 305 SW Walnut St., in the former home of Miller Auto Repair and Service.
The new operation will offer a rotating selection of Iowa craft beers on tap, along with canned beer, cocktails and wine. The indoor seating area includes a stage for live music and comedy events, and visitors will be able to find lawn games and bicycle parking outside.
Jeremy Boka, a consultant on the project with Iowa Brewers Guild president and 515 Brewing Co. owner Dave Ropte, said intentions during the renovation process were to preserve the structure's original feel and environment.
Workers bleached and scrubbed the walls in the former garage area, but instead of removing all of the stains, they opted to cover some with a clear coat to retain the auto garage's character.
Vintage car signs hang throughout the building and old phone numbers of garage contacts can be found written on the walls.
“We kept as many of the phone numbers and names and cards and stickers on the walls as we could," said Boka, who is also co-owner of Reclaimed Rails Brewing Co. in Bondurant. "We're trying to pay homage to that era of simplicity and life."
Other additions to the decor include an entire 1931 Ford truck and multiple signs recovered from the former Boondocks USA truck stop in Williams, which closed last year.
"The craft beer market is more and more competitive," Boka said. "We're just having fun with it and creating a unique experience for people to come."
Uptown Garage's main seating area will accommodate 275, with a patio and conference room that will add seating for about 100 more.
Boka said he believes Uptown Garage's 53-foot-long bar could be the longest in the state. The bar's footrests will be fashioned from pistons and pipes. Tables are made out of semi-truck flooring.
The brewery will open with a pair of its own beers that will be contract brewed off-site. Boka said he plans to have a full spectrum of local beers on tap.
"We're going to have every flavor across the board on anything you want, including gluten-free options," he said. "We're trying to get some of the more obscure ones and stuff that's further out in the state."
Uptown Garage will cater to cyclists with bike parking, a bike repair kiosk, bottle-filling station and an outdoor patio.
Boka said Ankeny's Uptown district is quickly becoming one of the top biking destinations in the state due to its proximity to the High Trestle Trail and the growing city's nearly 80-mile trail network. That makes it a good place to start a business, he said.
"This is really the hub of central Iowa's bike trail system," he said. "You get investment in downtown and you get bike trails and you're destined for good things."
Uptown Garage will join more new development in the district. A restaurant and bar called Pig 'n Pedal is expected to open next month at 710 SW Third St.
Last year, Uptown Lofts opened nearby as the first new-construction apartment building in the district. Ankeny also wrapped up work on a 1.3-acre park at the nearby High Trestle Trailhead that includes two 100-by-500-foot pavilions that host farmers markets and other community events.
Ian Richardson covers Ankeny and Altoona for the Register. Reach him at email@example.com, at 515-284-8254, or on Twitter at @DMRIanR.
Uptown Garage Brewing Co.
- Location: 305 S.W. Walnut St., Ankeny
- Hours: 3 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon to 11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
- Opening: Grand opening expected Aug. 3