Ivywild School announced the official opening of the 2.5-acre campus, new home of Bristol Brewing Co., The Meat Locker charcuterie and delicatessen, The Old School Bakery, The Principal’s Office coffee and cocktail bar, art, music, events, and more nestled inside a 97-year-old former elementary school. To celebrate the new Colorado destination, Ivywild School co-founders Mike Bristol, Joseph Coleman, and Jim Fennell are hosting two days of festivities on August 16 and 17.
“Our brewery has been located in the Ivywild neighborhood since 1998, and the community has been extremely supportive since day one,” says Mike Bristol, owner of Bristol Brewing Co. “But Ivywild School will be more than the sum of its parts. Our hope is that Ivywild will become a gathering place where people can come together to enjoy music, art. and artisan food and beverages created on site, and basically get down to the business of building community.”
With its expansion to Ivywild School, Bristol Brewing Co., founded by Mike and Amanda Bristol in 1994, now operates a new 34-barrel brewhouse built to order by BrauKon in Bavaria, Germany, and projects to produce 12,000 barrels this year for distribution across Colorado. The local microbrewery anchors the historic school’s north wing with its brewhouse and fermentation operations, pub, outdoor patio, barrel-aging room, and event space dubbed “The Wildcat Room” after the school’s original mascot. The brewery’s packaging hall occupies a separate building behind the school.
The south wing of the school is home to three new food and beverage purveyors from The Blue Star Group: The Meat Locker, The Old School Bakery and The Principal’s Office, all of which focus on local, handmade specialty items. The Blue Star Group also owns and operates longtime Colorado Springs favorites The Blue Star, Nosh, and La’au’s.
The Meat locker is a charcuterie and delicatessen offering lunch and dinner entrees, including a Thai Chicken Peanut Bahn Mi, Laughing Lab Chili, a Veggie Italian Sausage Grinder, and an assortment of salads. All of the protein from The Meat Locker is locally sourced and hand crafted in-house, while the bread comes from The Old School Bakery.
The Old School Bakery rolls out fresh pastries and artisan breads daily, from cookies and cakes to pies and baguettes, available at the retail counter adjacent to The Meat Locker. Operated by executive pastry chef Alicia Prescott, The Old School Bakery also provides fresh breads and desserts to The Blue Star Group’s offsite restaurants.
The Principal’s Office serves specialty coffee by day and libations for the troubled by night at a quaint bar overlooking a spacious patio that can accommodate up to 70 people. The trendsetting coffee shop offers a variety of coffees from Colorado roasters for proper, siphon, French press, espresso, and many more preparation styles. When the sun goes down, The Principal’s Office offers a selection of craft beers, wines and fresh, inventive cocktails.
The community celebration will serve as a grand opening of sorts, with tours of the building, demonstrations of artisans at work, live music, and a variety of planned events, specials, and merriment, all kicked off by a ceremonial beer christening and “sausage-cutting.” At the ceremony August 16, chef Mark Henry of The Meat Locker will present a delicious, house-made 24-foot chain of sausages for snipping, in place of a traditional ribbon cutting.
“We wanted to do something different to kick off our community celebration. Something to represent the uniqueness we’re all working hard to bring to not only the Ivywild neighborhood, but Colorado Springs as a whole,” says Joseph Coleman, owner of The Blue Star Group.
Ivywild School also boasts Hunt or Gather, a small local produce and meat market dedicated to educating carnivores and herbivores alike about where their food comes from, partner Jim Fennell’s architectural firm, Fennell Group, and The ModBoCo School of Art, which offers art classes for both young and old. In addition, Ivywild School will present curated live music shows, curated quarterly art exhibitions, and a variety of public and private events.
The building’s décor is very reminiscent of the school that occupied its walls for 93 years. Murals painted by the school’s talented art teacher still grace the halls, stairwells, and even the restrooms. The gym’s modest stage and basketball-ready lined floors provide a charming setting for concerts and special events. Throughout the building, the maple floors and exposed brick and plaster walls provide a warm, vintage atmosphere. Additional highlights are the stainless steel doors in the brewery pub that were recovered from the recently-renovated elephant house at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and two fixtures in The Principal’s Office: the bar countertop made of repurposed chalkboard, and wine glass racks hung by chains salvaged from the school’s playground swings.
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