Craft Brew Bar StoryGarth’s Brew Bar Progress Update – February


Back when I started working on building the Garth’s Brew Bar business plan, I found a brewery’s blog that posted progress updates and was inspired by them to do the same.

As they got close to opening, they stopped posting progress updates. I was frustrated with the lack of sight into their movement. But now I get it. And now I have to apologize for keeping you waiting. Starting a business is as challenging and time-consuming of a feat as you think it is.

Alas, let’s get to the good stuff shall we?


People have called 1726 Monroe Street “the neighborhood bar,” “a coffee shop, but with beer,” and “the near-west side Working Draft.” Some are even calling it their second home, their go-to bar and “the best craft beer bar near me.”

I’ve never felt as honored or as privileged as I have these last couple of months. We’ve already partnered with various businesses on the street and near the neighborhood for things like a Pete Souza book signing, board game nights and a series of Pierogi pop ups.

1726 Monroe Street is becoming a hub of good: people, beer, food, energy…


Positive-minded and caring team members goes a long way to creating an inviting and fulfilling atmosphere.

Add in attention to detail and an uncanny predisposition for keeping everything clean and the result is an energized yet cozy and comfortable space.

It’s all tough work, but it’s worth it.

One detail many have also pointed out is the sound – or lack thereof – in the bar. They realize quickly that they don’t need to yell for the person next to them to hear and that there’s no echo chamber or loud music that drowns out conversations they have.

Beyond using soft wood and tech-style acoustic ceiling tile, we also snuck felt and leftover ceiling tile under tables and the bar top to absorb echoes. Extra kudos to my architect Jake from MoTiS for helping me think it all through.

If you haven’t seen the space yet and aside from considering this an invite to visit, you can check out some photos from the Bohzo.


At the time of typing this, I finally feel like we are no longer in new business mode, but in a thriving business mode.

All construction invoices are finally paid. Supplies that we didn’t realize we needed until we needed them have been purchased. Loan and rent payments are starting up. And cash flow is happening in both directions versus the one-way direction it has gone for the last six months.

Now what’s important is that we continue to hit our numbers so we can do more for our guests, more for our breweries, more for our community. After all, that’s why we got into this in the first place.

The People

I often get asked who all goes to the bar? What kind of people? The answer is a beautiful blend of beer geeks and neighborhood peeps.

For every riveting craft beer conversation I or a team member has with a guest we have another conversation with someone who says “I live just a few blocks away.”

Beer is good, but the people are great.

We also love all the families that come in, especially those with little ones (our high chairs finally arrived, by the way). There’s nothing cuter than a baby in a onsie on a booth cube table with parents enjoying a beer on each side.

The Team

I knew our beertenders were awesome (I mean, I hired them, so…), but I didn’t realize how awesome they could actually be in action (I mean, I hired them before our doors were actually open, so…).

Our team of eight have helped provide an exceptional experience for thousands of guests already and are the single most important way that are working to raise the bar of bars in Madison.

Alas, it’s worth calling out our bar manager, Ben. He’s got a heart of gold for every guest that comes in and an actionable eye for cleanliness and presentation in the space. He’s also the artist behind our sandwich board, which you can see more of on the Garth’s Brew Bar Instagram account.


We have been doing so many events and everything has been so well-attended that we can’t even keep up with advertising them! So far we have hosted…

  • Book signing with Pete Souza
  • Brewery launch with Hidden Springs Ale Works
  • Group beer tastings
  • Beer launches for two beers brewed by me with G5 Brewing and Working Draft Beer Company
  • Board game nights
  • Social/mixers for area businesses
  • Pop up pierogi nights
  • Brewery collaboration parties
  • Meet the brewer events
  • Tuesday trivia
  • and so much more in between

Coming up we have a beermosa and yoga event this Sunday (only a few – literally – tickets are left), a couple of benevolence hours and more brewery launches and meet the brewer events.

Your best bet at seeing our upcoming events is to check the events section of our Facebook page. You keep attending and we’ll keep creating more beer experiences for you! As always, we’re open to ideas to collaborate if you have them. Just drop me a note at

By The Numbers

Here are some fun numbers to consider.

  • One phone number given to a beertender.
  • Nine items in the lost & found, one of which has a great story behind it. (Ask us about it the next time you’re in.)
  • Only five glasses have been broken in two months.
  • More than 12,000 beers poured.
  • 1,349 bottles and cans in the reach-in cooler right now.

Other Updates

  • It has been great to see people coming in just for to-go beer. Since we don’t do a corking fee (which is actually illegal here), we provide a 20% discount for 4 and 6 packs of mix & match beer and 40% discount for 4 and 6 packs of the same beer. Beer fridges across Madison – at home and at work – are getting adequately stocked which makes us happy to know.
  • We’re working with the city on outdoor seating. Nothing major, but a few seats tucked up against the building should do the trick.

October’s update

September’s update

July’s update

June’s update

April’s update


  • Pam

    February 24, 2020 at 3:09 am

    Sounds like you have a great place Garth, can’t wait to visit, see you Saturday!!!


  • Doc Lochen

    February 27, 2020 at 5:25 am

    What a cool spot! We stopped on a Sunday afternoon and felt the friendly warm vibe to go with the cold tasty beer. People of all ages….and indeed…”like a coffee shop, but with beer”.


  • Gretchen

    March 6, 2020 at 12:30 am

    GBP has a perfect atmosphere for friends to gather for good conversation and great beer served by a knowledgeable and friendly staff. Will make GBP a regular destination. Thank you!


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