Variety of uses possible for renovated space
The Twisp River Pub is rising from the ashes, three years after fire caused extensive damage and closed the popular restaurant and brew pub.
Stuart O’Farrell and Amy Novak-O’Farrell purchased the gutted building last June and have been working to repair damage and develop plans for future use. Those plans include reviving the pub as a venue for socializing, live music and events.
The interior of the building is being remodeled to provide space for up to three different hospitality-related businesses — such as food and beverage establishments. “We broke it up to create as many options as possible,” O’Farrell said. He said people who have expressed interest in possibly opening a business in the building indicated that smaller spaces would be better suited to their plans.
The largest space is the former restaurant and bar area, with about 3,000 square feet. Novak-O’Farrell said she plans to open a tap room that will offer a changing selection of beer and beverages and a menu of “smaller fare” like Panini style sandwiches, salads, soups, and cheese plates. It will also provide space for music, community events and private gatherings, she said.
The pub owners are creating two other spaces that could be leased by two different businesses or one business. Those spaces include the former kitchen with about 800 square feet, and the brewing area, with about 500 square feet. O’Farrell said their plan is to lease the spaces to “complementary” uses.
O’Farrell and Novak-O’Farrell had an interest in buying the pub partly because they spent a lot of time there while building their second home in Pine Forest. They began building in 2004 and came from their home in Seattle to work on it, often camping on site. “We ate at the pub every Saturday,” Novak-O’Farrell said. The couple said they especially missed the live music after fire closed the pub.
With a background in marketing and event planning, Novak-O’Farrell said the Twisp River Pub property appealed to her as a place to hold gatherings like weddings, community events and small corporate meetings. “I thought this would be perfect,” she said.
Plans for the property include creating a landscaped area at the back of the building that can provide outdoor space for events at the pub, in addition to the existing riverside deck, which was not damaged in the fire. That would allow people who want to plan an outdoor wedding or event to have the option of moving it indoors if weather is uncooperative.
O’Farrell, who works as a surety broker in Seattle, said he began coming to the Methow Valley in the 1980s to ride mountain bikes. He grew up in the lower Yakima Valley — Grandview — and said he feels at home in small communities like the Methow Valley.
He said he and Novak-O’Farrell plan to encourage community and nonprofit organizations to use the taproom for events. “We want to partner with charities. We want to be good stewards of the community,” he said.
After the February 2016 fire, pub owner Aaron Studen cleared away debris and tore down the most badly damaged areas at the rear of the building. The property, which had been for sale before the fire, was purchased in March 2017 by Joe Marver, who owns the Twisp River Suites next door. Marver continued some restoration work and sought investors to reopen the pub as a restaurant and event venue, before selling it to O’Farrell and Novak-O’Farrell last year.
The early morning fire on Feb. 29, 2016, broke out in an office next to the kitchen at the back of the building and caused extensive damage to that part of the structure. The restaurant and bar areas were heavily damaged by smoke. Investigators determined the fire was arson, but no charges have been filed in the case.
The new owners have done much of the work of repairing the smoke damage in the restaurant themselves, scrubbing down walls, woodwork and other sooty surfaces. They have hired local plumbers and electricians to replace the infrastructure damaged in the fire. They hope to have the tap room open by July 1, in time for Twisp’s Fourth of July celebration, Novak-O’Farrell said.
Since they began restoring the pub, people have stopped by to learn about their plans, and on occasion visitors to the valley have walked in, thinking the pub was open for business. “People have come in to get a beer … especially during hunting season,” O’Farrell said.
Novak-O’Farrell said they have the custom-made beer mugs, with mug owners’ names on them, that many regular pub patrons used and left on a shelf at the pub. “I have 103 mugs. We will bring them back,” she said.