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Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / A portion of the chassis of a 1967 Ford Econoline van decorates the wall at the Boneyard Bar on May 13, 2022.

With its bright alien art, furniture brought back to life and graffiti by anonymous Chattanooga artist "Eric is dead," the Boneyard Bar opened on Station Street last month.

The owners said the venue is a community effort and features an embedded bike shop by day and food from an on-site food truck, multi-genre music and a variety of drinks by night.

"It's just an insane opportunity to have a community mind hive to create a space where we can make everyone feel comfortable," Co-owner Lewis Armistead said in an interview with the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Having previously run The Bicycle Bar in Southside, Armistead focused focused on the construction side of Boneyard Bar.

From repurposed school bus seats to old park lights, the owners and friends of the business spent almost two years filling and building the space in what became a sort of do-it-yourself group project.

Many facets of the bar were found or made by hand in-house — there are bricks are from old buildings, the bamboo outside was pulled from a friend's property, some of the woodwork was made from old pallets.

"Everything here effectively died or has been used, and we're like, bringing it back to life," Jared Padovani said in an in-person interview.

Also a co-owner, Padovani had previously helped to design and build bars in the Southeast and here in Chattanooga, including the Whiskey Thief and the Kinley Hotel's speakeasy.

[READ MORE: New restaurant opening at former Beast and Barrel location, Niedlov's bakery getting alcohol]

Boneyard offers its patrons a variety of food and drinks.

IF YOU GO

Address: 26 Station St, Chattanooga

Phone: (423) 713-5000

Bar hours: Thursday-Saturday: 5 p.m.-1 a.m., Sunday and Monday: 5 p.m. - midnight.

Cycleast hours: Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 12-5 p.m.

Instagram: @boneyard.bar

Specials: Monday - Industry Night with discounts for service workers, including those in health care, veterans and hospitality industries, Thursday - Half off wine.

 

 

The alcohol menu features simple cocktails, beer and wine. But Padovani said what makes it unique is the specialized Japanese high carbonation soda dispenser, which he said is the only one in Chattanooga and one of only a few in the Southeast. It's used in drinks like a gin and tonic and whiskey high balls.

"Everyone like gets their mind blown if they care about soda because it's like, super refreshing and bubbly, so everyone's been enjoying it," Padovani said. "This is kind of our little special thing."

The bar's food is served outside from a food truck.

Co-owner Chris Greer, who prefers the title "line cook for life" over chef, went to culinary school in Nashville and previously ran Little Oso in Chattanooga as a pop-up restaurant.

At Boneyard, Greer makes the menu vague on purpose, with offerings like "hot tofu" and "hot chicken," because he hopes it will help him better engage with customers who have to ask questions to fully understand what each dish is, he said in an in-person interview.

He's inspired by street food across the world, including Hispanic and Asian flavors, and he attempts to create cuisines that are a play on traditional bar and fast food.

He said one of his more confusing but well-received options is cheeseburger fried rice. He also makes his own take on a Chick-fil-A sandwich.

Photo Gallery

Boneyard Bar brings new life, art, fare to Chattanooga's Station Street

A COMMUNITY EFFORT

When the Boneyard's owners first moved into 26 Station St, the old armored truck warehouse was just four walls. Early on in the building process, with old pallets and cars lying around, the outside of the building looked like "a junkyard slash zombie apocalypse" Padovani said, explaining one of the inspirations for the name Boneyard.

Armistead estimates that more than 75 friends and community members helped in one way or another. Some pitched in to build the deck outside, others installed shelving or tried their hand at graffiti.

He added the bar never would have gotten off the ground without "just, like, an absurdly large group of people building it. There were just like a group of people that would call me like 'Yo, there're like 200 bricks on the corner of my block, you should get them.'"

(READ MORE: Boneyard Bar coming to downtown Chattanooga, Mariscos Vallarta to East Brainerd)

People passing by have likely noticed the large, colorful aliens and art that cover the outside of the converted building.

The alien art was done by local artist Sarah Hedrick. And much of the graffiti on the property was done by local anonymous artist "Eric is dead."

Armistead said the owners were grateful that the building's developer gave them complete creative control to bring their ideas to life and that in turn, they can extend that freedom to artists like "Eric is dead."

"It's kind of like every creator's, like everybody who just likes to make stuff, that's like everybody's dream, and it rarely gets to happen," said the artist behind "Eric is dead." "So many people at one point were in here with a screw or a hammer or a paintbrush."

[READ MORE: Chattanooga restaurants and bars that opened, closed in 2021]

Like the bar's furnishings, even bikes find new purpose at the property. During the daylight hours, Jerod Walz does repairs, custom builds and restorations of older bikes at the Cycleast bike shop inside of the building. At night, he occasionally pitches in with the food.

"I'm helping Chris in the food truck, and I get to kind of talk about the bike shop, and then people are like, 'no way,' you know, and I'm like, 'Give me a minute,' and I run over and open the door and they get all excited," Walz said in an in-person interview.

Whether it's bikes or food or art, for the owners and friends of the business, it's a community endeavor.

Going forward, they have plans for live music, markets, a recurring family-friendly Sunday barbecue and collaborations like teaming up with other Station Street businesses to host festivals or inviting in local chefs.

"I'm just hoping that we can really push the community aspect of, like, the creativity and the arts and just, like, keep collaborating with people," Armistead said. "We were just always super open to, like, if someone walks up on the street and has a sick idea to do something, then like, we're gonna do it."

The bar is open Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday and Monday from 5 p.m. to midnight. Cycleast is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

Contact Tierra Hayes at thayes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6693. Follow her on Twitter @TierraBHayes.

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