Fans around Colorado have about two more weeks to raise a pint inside the state’s most unique craft beer bar.
After nearly five years attracting a following from Buena Vista and beyond, The Jailhouse, located in an 1880s town jail, will close on Saturday, June 5. But don’t worry: It’s moving down the road to another, larger historic setting at 113 Railroad St.
“It is very bittersweet to be moving. We would have loved to stay in our current location,” said Sarah Haughey Stewart, who owns The Jailhouse together with her husband, Shane Stewart. “We own the building we are moving to and will have much more space to be creative and run our business the way we want to,” she added.
The Stewarts first discovered Buena Vista’s stables-turned-jail in early 2016, shortly after they had moved to the upper Arkansas River Valley. The couple had worked for breweries in Denver and then locally, but they dreamed of opening their own specialty beer bar. And the former town jail was up for lease.
if you go
If you go: The Jailhouse will continue to operate through June 5 at 412 E. Main St. in Buena Vista. Hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. thejailhousebv.com
“The building was an empty shell, with an old residential kitchen and a table set up as our landlord’s office,” Haughey Stewart said. “The historic stone wall was a standout, and it made me think of old, cozy pubs in Ireland. When we opened, we didn’t know if anyone would come, or if they wanted to try weird beer.”
But the Stewarts stocked the bar with 10 taps featuring hard-to-find kegs from around Colorado and farther afoot. They hung lanterns and Old West paraphernalia and created gathering spaces inside and out for craft beer and wine drinkers. This July marks the bar’s fifth anniversary.
“Fast-forward five years, and this space has become a cozy pub-like place full of our community,” Haughey Stewart said.
While little time is left to gather in the original jailhouse, Haughey Stewart expects her bar to be back in business soon with a similar feel and community focus. The Railroad Street building will need to undergo a renovation first, she explained, and a reopening date for the bar is still pending.
“The building is also historic and has so much natural charm that we can’t wait to build on,” Haughey Stewart said. “Brick walls, heavy wood beams and a historic lift used for dry goods during the building’s time as a railroad mercantile are some of the highlights.”
Once open, the bar will focus on craft beer, while adding more wines and a small cocktail list to the lineup. The Railroad building will allow patrons to spread out, with three times the space of The Jailhouse’s current location, and with more outdoor seating.
“If we learned anything in 2020, it’s that we needed more space to accommodate people,” Haughey Stewart said. And as for the name, she says The Jailhouse will live on, “in some capacity.”
All is not lost for the old Buena Vista town jail site. New bar owner Lucas Ross tells The Denver Post he’s planning to open The Slammer in the same space, serving up craft whiskeys and beers.
“My day job is an attorney, so I’m normally trying to keep people out of the Slammer,” Ross says. “However, I’m also a beer/whiskey/history enthusiast, so this is an exciting opportunity and change of pace to create a space where people won’t mind spending time.”
Cheers to that.
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