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New bar opening in downtown Waterloo

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Daniel Corbett stands behind the bar of Fester's Pub.

WATERLOO — A new bar in downtown Waterloo will be opening just in time for Iowa Irish Fest.

Fester’s Pub, owned by Daniel Corbett – one of the owners of Hungry Charlie’s food truck and restaurant – is taking over what was formerly known as Anton’s Volks Haus at 324 E. Fourth St.

That pub closed in late 2020 and Corbett signed the lease for the building just three months ago. He said all he needs to do is re-brand, paint and get more tables and glassware.

The similarly named Anton’s Garden, a German-style outdoor beer garden at 518 Sycamore St., remains open.

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Corbett said Fester’s will be similar to a speakeasy style of bar and noted he’s taking advantage of the fact that the building is a former mortuary and funeral parlor. He said Fester’s will be more drink-oriented, featuring local and domestic beers. Local brews will come from Single Speed, Second State and Tellurian, out of Charles City. He’s working on including Peace Tree, out of Knoxville, and Toppling Goliath, out of Decorah, as well.

Basic wines – such as Cabernets, Chardonnays and Rieslings – will be offered along with a cocktail menu, which hasn’t been crafted yet.

Corbett said for Irish Fest he’s focusing on beer sales. Because the bar is still in its beginning phases, he’ll be borrowing bartenders from restaurants in Cedar Falls like The Library and Pump Haus.

Corbett said his dream is becoming a reality.

“It’s in a location where Fridayloo is, My Waterloo Days – everything is so close – Irish Fest,” Corbett said. “It’s really close and so it’s just a great location.

“The price was good. And we couldn’t pass it up. The timing was right and everything. And we thought we’d give it a try.”

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There’s no covered hood in the kitchen, so the establishment can only make things like pizzas and hot dogs on rollers. But, Corbett joked, “he knows a guy with a food truck.”

He’s looking to incorporate Hungry Charlie’s food truck behind the building and hopefully serve food from that.

He added that Hungry Charlie’s Lunchbox Deli, which opened in late 2021, has been successful. The food truck has been on the road since 2020. It made an appearance at RAGBRAI in Mason City Wednesday and in Charles City Thursday.

Being featured in a Dupaco commercial during the Superbowl also boosted its popularity, he noted.

The lunchbox deli – also without a kitchen hood – serves gourmet paninis, pressed hoagies, croissants, flatbreads and salad. The food truck sells food like burgers, fries and pulled pork. The food truck travels to local bars like Chasers as well as to area events.

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After Irish Fest, when the 11 borrowed bartenders return to their stomping grounds, Corbett said he’ll be looking for 10 to 12 part-timers to work at the pub.

He hopes to be open from 6 a.m. to close – sometime around 11 p.m. The reason he wants to be open so early, he said, is to cater to third-shift workers who want to get a drink once they’re off the clock.

“We believe in the community. … We want to attract people more to the east side again. It seems like this part of town dies after a certain time,” Corbett said. “(All the nearby restaurants) will help each other and I think that in the end, the people really win because a lot of people are out there and want something to do and we’re providing that service.”

The story’s headline was updated to reflect that Fester’s Pub is a bar.


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