ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa | The lakes are alive with country music and lots of beer, thanks to the recent opening of Beer Can Alley. The bar and nightclub opened its doors May 7 and, according to manager Joe Wells and co-owner Ted Hawley, the area has been welcoming.
“We had a pretty busy first weekend and we were happy and hope everyone had fun,” Wells said.
The original Beer Can Alley is in Des Moines and the success of that location caused Hawley to look to the lakes for a second outlet.
“We had been looking in the area for quite a while and something came available and here we are,” he said. “Hopefully we can franchise in five years or so.”
“We really liked the location and what we were able to do with it,” added Wells.
The location was renovated completely to fit the bar’s signature rustic theme.
“We’ve got a lot of relaxed seating that can accommodate large and small groups,” Wells said. “We have a nice patio, a bar area for people who want to belly up to the bar and an open area for intermingling and dancing. The inside of the bar was completely gutted at the start.”
Garage doors along the walls that have the potential to open up in nice weather to the outdoor patio also make a large space for patrons.
“For people who want to come and party their face off, they can do that, and people who want to have a relaxed night at the patio can do that,” said Wells.
Country music in the form of recorded music and live entertainment is central to the bar's atmosphere and for good reason.
“Country music really appeals to all ages,” Hawley said. “People age 21 all the way up to 80 and above were coming in and enjoying the music on our first weekend.”
With a name like Beer Can Alley, it might sound like all a customer can get is, well, beer. However, this location boasts a full-service bar complete with a specialty cocktail menu in addition to that large craft, domestic and imported beer selection.
“Tall boys are our signature drink option,” Wells said. A tall boy is a 16-ounce can of beer.
The facility also caters to a more sophisticated palate with a selection of wines and champagnes, as well.
The bar is complete with a retail shop next door selling Beer Can Alley insignia clothes and merchandise.
“We’re going to brand things with our logo and see what sells,” Hawley said. “Hopefully people will like our merchandise.”
Regular customers in Des Moines think the country theme makes the bar special, said Hawley, and he’s hoping that translates to the lakes area.
“The fact that we are exclusively country is different,” he said. “There are a lot of great options in Okoboji and we are adding to that.”