CEDAR RAPIDS — Backpocket Pilot Pub and affiliated business Hawk’s Nest Sports Bar and Grill will close July 18.
Owner Charles Jones, who redeveloped the former Sokol Gymnasium building that houses both businesses at 415 Third St. SE, said both he and Pilot Pub partners Backpocket Brewing Co. decided it was time to focus their efforts elsewhere.
“We all tried hard and did our best, but they were primarily brewers, and I’m primarily a real estate developer,” he said. “It has become evident that a foundational part of a restaurant and bar is a full-time owner-operator.”
He said both businesses have stopped serving food, with leftover supplies donated to Metro Catholic Outreach, but that Backpocket Pilot Pub will continue serving half-price drinks from 3 p.m. to bar close, pending staff availability, through July 18.
The restaurant and bar portion of the building is up for lease, and Jones said he hopes another restaurant can open in the space.
Coralville-based Backpocket Brewing was running the brewery side of the Pilot Pub, which opened in February 2017. Jones’s Sokol Bars operated the food side.
The brewery side focused on small batch, experimental beers to compliment the main brewing operation in Coralville.
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“We just decided we’re not restaurateurs,” said Aaron Vargas, Backpocket Brewing general manager. “We don’t want to be involved in running a restaurant ... . The relationship was fine, it just didn’t work for us to have our name on something we didn’t have as much control over.”
Backpocket’s main taproom and brewery in Coralville will remain open, as will a Dubuque taproom.
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