Boneyard Beer’s cult status stems from owner Tony Lawrence’s steely focus on the beer. When the business outgrew its original tasting room and brewery on Northwest Lake Place, with its intentionally grungy vibe, Lawrence expanded his vision.
“He wanted a place to showcase Boneyard’s beer on a grander scale,” said general manager Jon Avella. “A place to hang out and enjoy a drink with friends.”
So in January 2016, he bought a 5,000-square-foot property that used to house a Chinese restaurant, and renovation plans were drawn up. A year and a half later, Boneyard’s new pub opened. The lines formed immediately with people wanting a firsthand look at the much-anticipated space.
The interior offers two bars, the largest with a hanging 13-tap tower and two crowler machines. The other bar serves cocktails and retains some of the feel of the former restaurant with dark ceilings and black booths. The L-shaped dining area flows to the front patio. There’s another on the south side of the building featuring fireplaces. In all, the pub can accommodate 400.
Even with a larger beer menu, one thing hasn’t changed. All Boneyard beer is only available on draft with the exception of Gooze Cruze and Funky Bunch, mixed-fermentation offerings made the traditional Belgian way (Avella avoids calling them sours). Those are for sale in 22-ounce bottles.
In true Boneyard style, the menu ditches traditional pub fare (no burgers and fries). Executive chef Chris Mitchell, formerly of Brother Jon’s Public House, Bistro 28 and The Athletic Club of Bend, said the food has Asian flare and many dishes are vegetable forward. One of his favorite items is bite-sized Filipino chicken with adobo sauce and sticky rice. “It’s a part of my childhood,” he explained. “I’m half Filipino.” The salty-and-sour vinegary combination was popular on one of the first nights when 60 orders were prepared.
Manager Avella comes to Bend by way of San Marcos, Calif. There he was the general manager of Churchill’s Pub & Grille, a favorite local spot with more than 50 beers on tap. When Avella’s in-laws bought a place in Bend, he began visiting. At the same time, he was routinely in contact with Boneyard to purchase beer for Churchill’s. He worked with Liz Mario, Boneyard’s former tasting room manager and now the merchandise and marketing manager. Coincidentally, she had gone to school at Cal State, near Churchill’s. Avella asked Mario to keep him informed about any openings at Boneyard and the rest, as they say, is history.
Boneyard’s pub created jobs for 40-50 people, but the renovation was also a boost to the local economy. Easybar Liquor Control Systems, based in Bend, installed the tap system.
“Everything at this pub is custom, from the ground up to the light fixtures. We worked with the Boneyard crew, took their vision and did all the fabrication for those hanging taps in the main bar and installed a separate system for the cocktail bar,” said CEO James Nicol. He added that brewmaster Lawrence has a knack for what he does. “It’s amazing to see how his company has exploded the last seven years. He has a vision that’s very outside of the box. His talent with his hands, his all-around creativity, gives Boneyard its structure and identity.” •