MONMOUTH — Doing crafts just got a lot more fun.
On Main Street in Monmouth, nestled between Yeasty Beasty and Monmouth Bicycle Shop is Craft Bar West, a bar that offers food and — you guessed it — crafts, specifically the making of wooden signs.
All you have to do is contact bar owner Ashley Dornhecker, Tuesday through Saturday, 24 hours in advance so she can prepare everything, and then show up ready to paint — and drink.
“We have over 100 colors to choose from that they can use to paint,” Dornhecker said. “We have 300 stencils, everyone gets to choose what they want to paint. We put all the frames on, they stain all the frames, do all the paint, and we put the backing on so when they leave it’s ready to hang up when they get home.”
Mini signs are $30, small signs are $40, medium signs are $50 and large, $60.
“We also have an option of custom stencil, and that’s an additional $15,” Dornhecker said.
If you don’t want to come in and do a craft, the bar offers a full menu too. It’s not just for workshops, Dornhecker said.
“We have people walk by and say, ‘oh that’s the craft bar place.’ ‘Oh it’s a brewery.’ A lot of people don’t think they can come in here because you can only do a craft,” she said.
In the six weeks that they’ve been open, Dornhecker said she’s felt supported by the community.
“I’m excited because I feel like it’s a breath of fresh air for this community,” she said. “There’s nothing like this around here. It’s kind of known for Monmouth to be stagnant when it comes to things to do. And I think this is something where you can come in and have a different menu and something to do, and I feel like this is what this town needs. Let’s take a bar and turn it into a fun, constructive area.”
Dornhecker, who owns the bar with her sister Abigayle Tilby, has owned a sign company for 12 years, making and selling signs.
“Beginning February of last year, I launched my workshop, so I started teaching people how to paint signs themselves, instead of me doing it for them, and so I started doing that every month, and it consistently got busier and busier and busier, which is why I waited so long to do it, and it got to the point I was traveling so much and I was so busy that I couldn’t do it by myself. So I hired my sister full time, and then the month of March we had 21 sign workshops — it was crazy; we were gone every single weekend.”
So she began looking for a space to rent to open up a workshop space.
“I was born and raised here, and I always knew if I ever had a location I would want it to be in Monmouth, I love this town, I love everything about it. So I was driving down Main Street one day and saw a big ‘for lease’ sign in the window and I was like, oh my gosh. So I brought my sister and we were like this is perfect, let’s do our workshops here. It started with, we need to make sure we have beer and wine, because people like to drink alcohol while they’re painting signs. So I applied for the liquor license. Then … it just skyrocketed from a sign workshop to a bar, and then I needed food, so now we have a full commercial kitchen, so we’re a bar-restaurant that hosts sign workshops. Abigayle does all the food, I do the crafting.”
Tuesday through Thursday, Craft Bar West is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, it’s open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
In the next few months, Dornhecker says she wants to offer different crafts.
“We want to add in other crafts — macramé, leatherworks and origami would be super fun, all sorts of stuff. It will be a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s a lot,” she added, laughing.
She also offers group projects for kids.
“We just did ‘paint a birdhouse’ with a big group of kids,” she said. “They got to come in here and choose their colors and painted a birdhouse, and they got snacks and juice, and they went home with birdseed. We’re going to be doing a book reading with a local author. We’ll be doing a bracelet-making too.”
Dornhecker has been crafty since she could remember.
“Back in the day, when western jewelry was super popular, I used to make western jewelry, and at the time, my friend, I was making jewelry for her, and she knew I was crafty … and she messaged me a picture of a sign, and she was like can you make this for me? And I said, maybe, I can try it. And it just blossomed from there. So that’s how my sign painting business started, and I’ve been doing it for 12 years before I launched my workshops. So that’s how it happened, and I found my niche. I wish I would have launched it a long time ago.”
Dornhecker and Tilby post updates and information on their Facebook page, so scroll through to check out drink and menu specials and information on upcoming sign workshops.
Craft Bar West is at 157 Main St. W., Monmouth.