Downtown Clarksville’s Strawberry Alley Ale Works opened in early April of this year. In conjunction with the anticipation that was built up for the location, this new local family owned restaurant and brewery located by City Hall, at 103 Strawberry Alley elicits a new sense of excitement and enjoyment for the community.
“We grew up close to downtown, and both my parents went to APSU,” family partner Wes Cunningham said. “We loved to spend time and eat in this area. So, when APSU was selling this property, my dad got a hold of it quick.”
The site is the combination of two downtown buildings formerly home to other restaurants and bars for the area. With the addition of the neighboring smaller building, Strawberry Alley Ale Works provides an abundance of seating as well as a smaller area for corporate and business events, family gatherings and the like. Such events will have their own private entrance and bar.
“We have a lot of stuff to offer. Since we’re surrounded by a unique atmosphere we wanted to emulate that inside with the open floor plan,” Cunningham said.
Stepping just one foot into the restaurant and brewery, so much of the establishment is transparent and bare. The kitchen and bar are exposed. This allows the staff’s energy in both areas to clash with that of the customers’. The restaurant’s custom-made table tops made from repurposed wood and custom-made metal bar inspires a rustic yet modern feel to the place, providing the community with a familiarity to the old Clarksville with one step towards a new one.
“I know there are many competing areas,” Cunningham said. “I think we have our own unique style that will hopefully keep attracting people.”
Similarly, the brewery is separated by a floor to ceiling window where customers can enjoy their food and watch where the beer they drink comes from. The most popular beer is their 1820 Kolsch: a German-style light ale.
“We have ten options of beer made fresh,” Cunningham said. “We aren’t selling any beer that isn’t made here. Our food menu is just as unique.”
The brunch, lunch, dinner and dessert menus are handcrafted by the chefs each time. There are no frozen components involved in the making of any food at the Ale. From avocado toast, and blackened fish tacos to the classic cheeseburger, the establishment offers affordable food options. Aside from the ten house brews on tap, the location also features an array of craft cocktails, red wines and white wines.
“We pride ourselves in bringing top notch, high quality food and drink to our customers,” Cunningham said.
There are plans for expansion in the upcoming months and years for the restaurant. One is an outside deck branching off the back of the building so that customers can enjoy themselves while looking out at a nice view. The other is a second level for a taproom and gathering space for customers that will be smoke-free, so everyone feels welcomed to play games ranging from table tennis to darts and board games.
“With so much to plan, it’s hard to not get ahead of ourselves,” Cunningham said. “We just want to offer another highlight downtown.”
Cunningham said Strawberry Alley Ale Works is more than a highlight, but rather a new beginning for the Cunningham family and a worthy addition to Clarksville’s downtown area. By bringing positive attention and revamping the quality of the area, the location has proven to satisfy customers that visit. Their busiest hours as it stands are week-nights and weekends, with several brunch, lunch and dinner rushes.
“The response has been great,” Cunningham said. “It all goes back to our staff though. We wouldn’t be able to be successful without them.”