Kiley Sutter opened a mobile bicycle repair shop in a 1969 Volkswagen bus two years ago, equipping it with four beer taps so he could set up at events around town.
Now his VeloWagon also has a brick-and-mortar location: the Velo Garage and Tap House. He partnered with longtime friend, Steve Borden of Norman, Okla., in the new hybrid business at 1403 Swift St. in North Kansas City.
A 1963 British Hercules bicycle serves as a work of art for the bar back. The bar has 10 beers on tap, including Boulevard Ginger Radler and Bell’s Oberon. It also offers two dozen beers in bottles and cans, as well as beer flights (four beers in 5-ounce pours for $12).
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The tap room, which seats 99 people, also sells coffee from Lenexa’s Maps Coffee Roasters and snacks, including chips and pretzels, and the owners allow customers to bring in food. But they hope to soon offer a menu that might include panini, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Bavarian pretzels.
On a recent evening, Eleanor Truesdell, 7, was focused on finishing a Sleeping Beauty puzzle while her 3-year-old brother, Alden, looked on. Their mother kept a steady watch while occasionally stepping in for a turn at Shuffleboard.
A vintage turntable played Taylor Swift’s 1989 album, and other vinyl selections and games were stored in nearby bookshelves. The back hallway, which houses the bathrooms and also leads to the bicycle shop, is lined with vintage black-and-white beer-and bicycle-themed photos.
Vincent Rodriguez and Marco DeAngelis, owners of Velo + Bikes + Coffee in Lenexa, sublease the bike shop space and Rodriguez provides his Maps coffee to Velo Garage and Tap House.
After a ride in from Merriam, one customer cooled down with a beer while having his bicycle repaired. The bicycle shop also sells Kona, Salsa and Masi bicycles, along with bicycle accessories.
“It’s really chill, very relaxing and very friendly,” said Kathy West, who has stopped in several times already after a ride with her friend, Amy Macken of Gladstone.
Through the floor-to-ceiling windows they could watch bicyclists heading out for a ride along Swift. The owners will sponsor Thursday night bicycle rides starting April 6.
For now, Velo Garage and Tap House partner Borden is sleeping in Sutter’s spare bedroom through the week. He heads home for the weekends to spend time with his wife and their three daughters, ages 20, 19 and 12.
So might another location be in the works, maybe this one in Norman, so Sutter can sleep in his friend’s spare bedroom?
“My goal is to take this concept back to where I live but that’s a five year plan. We might do another one up here first,” he said.