Joe’s Brewery unveils new beer garden

Kenny Spencer of Champaign paints a wooden gate outside of Joe´s Brewery on Friday afternoon. The brewery is transforming its parking lot into a beer garden to increase outdoor beer enjoyment. Tessa Pelias

Kenny Spencer of Champaign paints a wooden gate outside of Joe´s Brewery on Friday afternoon. The brewery is transforming its parking lot into a beer garden to increase outdoor beer enjoyment. Tessa Pelias

By Allison Sues

Joe’s Brewery is now able to move some of its crowd outside, with the opening of the newly built beer garden last Saturday.

Joe’s Brewery, 706 S. Fifth St., a multi-floor bar and restaurant, made its renovations and additions open to the public. Crowds filtered in and out of the new, brick-paved beer garden, an addition that stands over the old parking lot.

The Beer Garden can accommodate an additional 400 people. Joe’s can now hold 1,000 people.

“It was really crowded this weekend,” said Jon Nilles, junior in ACES and an employee at Joe’s. “Inside it was so crowded that you could barely move. People seemed to like the beer garden, too.”

The Beer Garden offers a wide-open space for bands, DJs and private parties, said Doug Larson, president of Joe’s Brewery’s holding company.

Designed by Gary Olsen and Associates Architects, a firm that has designed many campus area bars, the beer garden was made to match the existing building.

The beer garden includes metal fencing, squaring off a brick-paved caf‚-style seating area. There are brick columns and an outdoor terrace that create a very relaxed environment, said Gary Olsen, the owner of Gary Olsen and Associates Architects.

“We expect that the beer garden will be a popular spot for students,” Larson said. “And I think a lot of fraternities and sororities will rent it out for private parties.”

Space heaters are placed throughout the beer garden to keep customers warm and outside into the early winter, he said.

“The beer garden is one more unique setting inside Joe’s,” Olsen said.

Joe’s features a dance floor and full-menu restaurant on the first floor of the existing building as well as a private party area on the second floor. With the addition of a beer garden, Olsen said that every type of bar environment is encapsulated inside Joe’s Brewery.

“Joe’s appeals to a wide variety of people because there is a wide variety of moods within the bar,” Larson said. “There’s a spot to chill, a spot to rock-and-roll and a place to party.”

Other renovations unveiled on Saturday included new restrooms and a redone dance floor. The previous dance floor’s lighting and sound were also improved.

“I’ve been excited about the beer garden in Joe’s ever since I saw the construction,” said Tim Penich, junior in FAA. “It was great. There’s nothing better than enjoying a beer on a nice evening.”