The Courtyard was never intended to become a year round deal. Actually, it was never intended to last more than four months. Plans change.
In the last couple years, The Courtyard has grown into itself a bit. Relaxed and friendly with a serious emphasis on Craft Beer. Rowdy weekly Quiz Bowls. Live music. An all-around quality atmosphere. (At least we like to think so!). We're not looking to change any of that.
We like the Courtyard pretty much just the way it is! However, as we continue to grow, the constraints of an outdoor-only location are becoming more apparent. An expansion indoors would mean a host of improvements for the general Courtyard experience. Namely:
-Indoor Plumbing! As in: our own, always accessible, indoor restrooms. Goodbye porta-johns!
-Growlers(!) and Even More Taps. Your support will help us to build a bigger, better beer fridge downstairs! We'll be adding 8-10 taps to the already ridiculous beer mix and, for the first time, we'll have a set-up equipped for to-go growlers.
-More Live Music (And no Rain-Outs). In previous years, we've been somewhat limited in what touring bands we could book at The Courtyard. Having an indoor/rain location to offer musicians is a huge boost for our scheduling. We'll be able to book even more bands for the Courtyard - knowing we can provide a large indoor location if need be.
-Food. An indoor location will give us the opportunity to offer a limited food menu. No dinner service, but cheese plates, salads, and flights of local jerky? Certainly. And don't let fancy phrases like "local jerky flight" and "plate" lead you astray, we also have a certain affinity for time honored, bar-side frozen pizza.
-Coffee & Wifi. We have some excellent coffee shops here in Decorah. But none that are open after 5pm. And while there are plenty of great bars, there aren't many where you'd feel comfortable bringing your laptop. One of the great things about this new space? It's got a lot of space. On weekdays, there'll always be room for folks to hunker down with some coffee (or a pint) and get some things done.
-We'll be open year-round. Kind of buried the lead here! Last, but certainly not least, we'll be able to stay open all year long. 12 months > 6 months.
Ok, ok. So where is this new bar?
Downstairs! You know that ivy-covered staircase out on the Courtyard? There is where it leads you:
Some of you remember this space. Some of you will be seeing it for the first time. In the last 40 years it's been a lot of things, but it hasn't been anything in a good while. It's gorgeous. But oof - there's going to be plenty of work ahead of us.
We're hoping to make the renovation of the basement a collaboration between the Armory ownership, ourselves, and you! We're already partway off the ground and we'll be working with the Armory on some permanent improvements in the next couple of weeks.
On Kickstarter, we're looking to raise $8,172 to help with the 'next-level' build-outs of the space. (That's the population of Decorah per the 2010 census, so if everyone gives a buck or so, we're all set!). Your support will help us build a new keg fridge, sound system, additional seating, and make a host of other improvements to the space.
In thanks for your support, we've put together a pretty great rewards buffet. There's a Pop-Up dinner with Salt/Water, a hog roast with Rustik Rooster farms of Colbert Report fame, Driftless swag from Ardvar, T-Shirts, growlers, and more! Check them out on your right.
We're extremely excited about this space and the opportunity to do this year round. We're calling it the Cellar (we think!) and we hope to have the doors open by late February. Thanks and see you soon!
-Nathan & Benji
Courtyard & Cellar
Risks and challenges
We've done a good amount of due diligence on this project and we're feeling pretty good about the timeline we've outlines. However, there's definitely going to be some fairly serious construction going on in the next few months and, with that, the possibility of delays.
We're going to be vigilant about staying on schedule and we've built in a little room for delays. We'll be sure keep you all posted on our progress and opening countdown with Kickstarter and Facebook!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)