6 November 2018
Pulling into the parking lot for Ivywild, the building is reminiscent of dilapidated inner-city schools barely functioning above building condemnation standards. Fall has turned the garden beds into a rab-scrabble of dried vegetation and the floor of the entryway creaks with the strain of one hundred years of use. Yet, passing through the second set of doors confronts the patron’s senses with vibrancy and exuberance. This is Ivywild School in the fall.
Ivywild was constructed as an elementary school in 1916 and functioned as such up until its closure in 2009. It was at this point that Joe Coleman and Mike Bristol were inspired to convert it into a brewery and bakery. After hard work and persistence with the community, the conversion was o.k.’d, and today, Ivywild stands as a beacon of sustainability and community involvement.
Jokes about Ivywild as a hipster-strip-mall-eatery are not entirely baseless. A building directory located next to a repurposed cigarette vending machine for mini art pieces shows the eclectic mix of business as well as an entertainment area that inhabits the old gym.
It resembles a strip mall in some respects – most of the walls along the hallway had been blown out to make sizable doorways. However, most of the historic aspects of the building have been preserved and incorporated into the new businesses inhabited there. Exposed brick and wood rafters contribute to the nostalgic comfort that proliferate the building.
In the short distance between the entry and the study room, you will notice the variety of demographics frequenting the establishment. The study room offers a space slightly more isolated from the bustle of the main areas while still permitting social interaction in small groups, while the patio offers a lovely view of Colorado Springs and the plains beyond, even on gloomy days.
Sustainability and community relations are driving concepts for Ivywild. This is supported not only by the repurposing of the building itself but also by the cloth napkins and reclaimed furniture. The art that decorates the walls are created by local artists and is available for purchase.
However, Ivywild would not be the hub of activity that it is without the people. Two girls who were studying explained that Ivywild is their go-to hangout. “It’s super cool here! The drip coffee has free refills, the fact that there’s a real kitchen means there’s actual food that is really good and the music is always different but awesome,” they tell me.
The attendant at Ivywild kitchen recommended the Kahlua chocolate cake — calling it the perfect balance of coffee and chocolate.
The stable internet connection and friendly atmosphere is encouraging to a prolonged visit. Community investment also encourages patronage. “I’ve been here for three months, and it’s a really nice place to work. The upper management is super receptive to new ideas, so I feel like I’m in an environment that cares,” says UCCS junior Valerie Kleinhuizen.
If the coffee house isn’t your cup of tea, fear not! Ivywild also offers two bars, and on Tuesdays between six and eight, one dollar from every pint sold goes to a non-profit organization from Colorado Springs.
Whether wanting a cold brew or a drip brew, a place to study or socialize while enjoying entertainment and great food, Ivywild is sure to please.
Teachers receive 15 percent discounts at Principal’s Office; a pub located in Ivywild.