Evans School NW Corner

Making the Evans School a Special Place Is the Real Objective

I’ve never wanted to form a completed vision for the school. I just wanted to set a notional trajectory and the let the world watch as a small host of hopefuls set off in that direction. I dreamed of an organic, publicly visible, and inspirational process that created a place in the center of the city capable of nudging society on an improved course, even if ever so slightly.

I’ve always had contradictory ambitions; modest positive results but in perpetuity.

Full disclosure

  • I don’t own the Evans School.
  • The Evans School is “not for sale” but it is available for lease.
  • I’m not a brewer, I am not restaurateur, nor am I wealthy enough to finance a brewery and restaurant.
  • The Evans School’s floor plan and its historical status present formidable economic obstacles.
  • The idea of bringing the Evans School back to life has stewed in my mind for decades. The Evans School is Il Dorke’s White Whale.

The Brewery-Restaurant Concept

The Evans School is a beautiful building situated in a tremendous location but making a brewery work there is no cake walk. It’s a big building so one would have to sell a lot beer to justify just one of the building’s three floors. Food carts do not appear to be a viable long-term option, so the additional investment and complexity of a restaurant operation seems necessary. Additionally, The Evans School is a historic building, which means the redevelopment process could involve substantial obstacles. The foundation of my brewery concept is the notion that home brewers and others can help the Evans School get past some of those redevelopment obstacles, and in the process create one of the coolest taprooms ever.

Key Conceptual Elements Include:

  • A full spectrum of beer styles developed by independent brewers;
  • One year of advance planning for home brewers to create one or more exceptional beers;
  • Weekly and monthly tappings coordinated with restaurant food parings and events;
  • A relatively small but highly sophisticated pilot brewery with a large number of fermenters;
  • Frequent brewing performed by volunteers in conjunction a master brewer or associate brewer; and
  • Active participation in the design and creation of the brewery (and the redevelopment of the Evans School) by the home brewers and others in a process that is documented in a variety of ways.

Beyond the Pilot Brewery There’s Still a Lot More Building and Dreaming

  • Il Dorke doesn’t want Dumbtown hogging up the whole First Floor. The First Floor needs some other high traffic tenants to service the Golden Triangle Neighborhood and random visitors from around the globe.
  • The Second Floor contains the Evans School Auditorium which may represent the building’s greatest opportunity and it’s greatest challenge. In Il Dorke’s mind the second floor is for creatives and perhaps some calisthenics.
  • Il Dorke can’t make up his mind about The Third Floor. Nightly visitors in the form a beer hotel, apartments with more permanent fools, or residences held by individuals who want to grab their own piece of dumb. Could be because the third floor provides access to the magnificent westward facing deck you see in this post’s picture.
  • Above the third floor there is an Attic that in all likelihood would be very expensive to capture and combine with the third floor spaces.
  • Then there’s arguably the dumbest part of Il Dorke’s Evans School Dream. The George Bailey Memorial Garden AKA the parking lot formerly known as The Playground. I know the garden thing Smells Like Revenue Forbearance but if you look beyond the confines of the half city block on which the school sits and extend your frame of reference the investment is justifiable.
  • And then there is Il Dorke’s Secret Chamber. Il Dorke puts spreadsheets and other stuff in there.

Dumbtown’s Beer List*

  • Il Dorke’s Dreams of Dumbtown began with the Beer List*.
  • There are 75 beer names in Il Dorke’s dream but practical planning revolves around 64 different beers.
  • For decades Il Dorke was unable to share his vision for the Evans School. That was until he started writing down beer names and styles. When Il Dorke did that it all became transparent. Il Dorke became convinced Beer Can Do This!