Cedar Rapids bar and former brewery Thew Brewing has rebranded as Lucky Cat Comedy and Events. Thew closed on May 14; the new venue will have its first public open mic on Tuesday, May 31.
“We took a look at what was working and what wasn’t working that well for us,” said Haley Flenker, who owns the bar with her husband Travis. “The post-pandemic bounce back has been a little slow for us. But we started looking at what was going well, and comedy and events were going very well.”
After Penguin’s Comedy Club shut down in the early part of the pandemic, Thew Brewing became a new center for Cedar Rapids comedy.
“I really think that we’re filling a need in the community,” said Flenker. “I’m really passionate about building community, and the comedy community that we’ve built here has become really strong.”
Although they will no longer be brewing beer in-house, Lucky Cat will offer a small cocktail and mocktail menu, including Lexi Belle’s Lemonade, named for the Cedar Rapids-based drag queen.
Lucky Cat will feature an open mic night every Tuesday as well as weekend comedy shows. Flenker is also interested in featuring local comics, “especially those who spend a lot of time coming to our open mics,” and hosting improv and comedy classes.
“I really want to continue building that community, and maybe get some people involved in a way that maybe they didn’t think that they could or would,” Flenker said.
They will also offer yoga classes on Sundays, salsa dancing classes and Cork and Canvas events.
The final fate of the brewing equipment in the building is still not confirmed. “We’ll try to find someone to lease and brew in the space as it is, otherwise we’ll try to sell it all as a lot. If neither of those things happens we’ll sell individual pieces,” Flenker said.
The Flenkers will also continue working with local charity organizations as Lucky Cat — in the past, Thew Brewing did fundraisers for Willis Dady, Tanager Place’s LGBTQ Teen Center (which put Thew at the center of a review bombing campaign in early 2020) and more.
“We do a lot of fundraisers, and a lot of community building type things. And it’s really important to me that we continue that even though we’re taking things in a … different direction,” Flenker said. “We will still be doing things to build the outside community in addition to the comedy community.”
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Lucky Cat will keep similar hours to Thew Brewing, with shortened hours on Saturday.