Source: Mike Donahey, timesrepublican.com
Sunday, 11th Sept, 2011
An affinity for Irish pubs by Marshalltown native Aaron Buzbee and Chicagoan Michelle Madigan has led them to develop and build their own.
It will be the Fiddle & Whistle tavern at 20 W. Main by mid-October and Central Iowans will have a chance, just like Buzbee and Madigan, to appreciate Irish beers and beverages in a cozy environment.
“We’ve always liked the Irish pubs and talked about doing something like this,” Buzbee said. “For the last seven or eight years we’ve been living in Des Moines. We used to have some watering holes there and our favorite ones were the Irish pubs. We moved here and there really wasn’t one of those places in town. We thought…why not try our hand at creating it?”
With the help of a Marshalltown contractor the couple is turning their dream into a reality.
“The Fiddle & Whistle is currently under construction but the Guinness will be a flowin’ before no time,” wrote Buzbee and Madigan on the businesses Facebook page.
The area housing the former Tremont Sports Cafe was gutted. In its place now is a distinctive dark wood bar complimented by booths of the same wood and color, fitting for a setting in the historic Tremont building.
And it is on the bar the couple plans to set many a serving of Guinness, other beers, wines, Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, Bailey’s Irish Cream and other beverages.
Both spoke eagerly about the products that will be or they hope to have behind the bar.
“We’ll be offering eight beers on tap,” Buzbee said. “And a wide assortment of beers in bottles…from speciality beers to imports, to local crafts, regional crafts and a few standard domestic beers.”
He elaborated on local and regional brands.
“We’d like to get our hands on the one out of Newton…Madhouse,” he said. “They make great beers there. Then there is Millstream from Iowa City and Old Main from Ames. We’d like to sell as many local beers as we can.”
Madigan summed it up.
“In the end we’ll have almost 40 different beers,” she said.
Madigan emphasized the business will be a full-service bar. In addition to beers, it will offer wines and “a full selection of spirits as well.”
With a month to opening the couple is busy finalizing important details.
“I’ve been working on developing a menu that focuses on the Irish cocktails…all will have an Irish flair to them,” Madigan said.
Beer cocktails will be on the menu.
“We also plan to feature along with the cocktails beer cocktails,” Buzbee said. “Like the Black and Tans, which is Guinness floating on top of other beers because it’s a thicker beer. You pour half a glass of one beer and then float another half of Guinness on top of it. It has a neat visual appeal too. A darker beer on top of a lighter colored beer.”
There will be more drinks featuring Guinness.
“Then there are Black Velvets, which is Guinness mixed with hard cider,” Buzbee said. “We want the drinks to be unique and different.”
One task the couple has discussed – but not finalized – are days and hours of operation.
“We’ll definitely be an evening business,” Buzbee said. “We may open at 3 p.m. until close, whenever that will be.”
The couple is well prepared to manage the business.
Buzbee said he has worked in restaurants and other service businesses since he was 14. He also has worked as a bartender.
Madigan said she has had extensive restaurant management as well.
The conversation then turned to the bar’s ambience.
“That’s been a huge goal of ours the entire time,” Madigan said. “We want to have a different kind of atmosphere.”
Buzbee elaborated more.
“We want to create an environment that’s conducive to conversation and a place where good friends can meet,” he said.