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Our story began in 1963 when we (Jarel MaGie and Kathryn Buck) met our Junior high school year in Colorado. After graduation we went on to live our different lives, both of us greatly affected by the Vietnam war. Fast forward to 2016 and, after not seeing each other for fifty-three years, we are starting a new life together which includes a Pub in Aransas Pass, Texas!
We both love craft beer. Driving into town one night we wanted to stop and have one, but there was no place, so the idea was born. But there we were, retired and nearly 70 years old...did we really want to start an entirely new venture? The answer was, "why not?". We began looking for just the right building.
We found that “right” place in early 2017, a building that has been around since (as much as we can discover) the early 1920s and has withstood coastal weather and a hurricane or two. The original Aransas Pass Fire Station was behind the building (hence the name Hook & Ladder) and the local Jail was right beside it; in fact you can still see the outline of the jail cells on the patio.
We opened in June of 2018 and are still a work in progress, creating a party/game room and finishing our patio. This year we hope to begin brewing our own local beer.
It has been a labor of love (with a bit of frustration thrown in) and we thank everyone that has been a part of the creation. From a friend that came up with the name to friends that helped us paint, we thank you.
We especially thank those who bring in memorabilia to help us celebrate and honor our fire and police men and women and all first responders who serve us so selflessly. The Pub is dedicated to you.
The building itself has housed City government, auto repair, various other businesses with the last being a taxidermy. We looked at the bones of the building, the location, the size, all the unique features and decided this was ‘our’ place. We were able to purchase the building, the cement area that had contained the jail and all the vacant area behind the building. A lot of work ahead!
Meanwhile, Hurricane Harvey visited and our town was devastated. But – our building was still standing with minimal damage! We continued removing the old, keeping what we could reuse and started on our construction January 2018. The building has its own character, so we embraced every strange and unique part.
Harvey provided wood from an old fence that was blown down and is now the center of the interior walls. We painted the long block wall FIVE times before we found just the right color! You can imagine the conversations around that!
We were fortunate to meet a neighbor across the alley, James Andrews of South Texas Creations who is a master artist with wood, and the bar designing began. Jarel gave Jim our thoughts and he came up with some incredible ideas. You must come in and see the bar he created. Among its unique features is the shelving, the wine racks and glass racks that are from ocean reclaimed logs. We built out the cold room to house our kegs, finished the floors, put in a small stage, picked out lighting and built the bathrooms (the stalls also from Harvey wood) and our little kitchen. A friend even donated his time to build our wonderful tabletops.
Since we spend our summers in Sitka, Alaska, we needed a manager that could take over for us. We are fortunate to have found not one, but two! Matt and Katie Fugate moved to Aransas Pass in 2015 all the way from Dayton, OH! They are truly the face of Hook & Ladder. They are extraordinary!
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