It IS easy being green inside the cozy Kelso’s Corner in the Village of East Davenport. And green will be the color of the day Saturday, March 18, at Kelso’s and other bars in the Village for the first-annual St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl, from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Drink specials, corned beef and cabbage, entertainment, St. Paddy’s commemorative T-shirts, and other fun activities are planned at participating bars, including Grumpy’s, McClellan Stockade, D’Ville, Eleven17 and Players.
The new Kelso’s Corner, 1117 Mound St., will open at 11 a.m. Saturday, and owner Kelsey Seibert decked out the whole place with a greenery theme before opening Dec. 17, 2022, after six months of renovations. It formerly was Eleven17, which expanded and moved next door to the former Baked restaurant space.
Baked Beer & Bread Co. at 1113 Mound St., closed for good on Dec. 26, 2021. After renovating there, Eleven17 opened formally in late May 2022.
Seibert, a 32-year-old Moline native, tended bar at McClellan Stockade (2124 E. 11th St. in the Village) for 14 years, starting when she was 18.
“I just love it,” she said this past weekend. “Coming to the Village, I never left until I got my own bar right down the street.”
“I’m a people person and I love – people who just want to celebrate, it’s such a good part of life, to be happy, to celebrate, to let loose,” Seibert said. “It’s always such a good time. It is like a huge family. And I’m a free therapist for people. I enjoy people.”
When she wanted to buy her own place, she looked at a ton of locations throughout the Quad Cities, including the Illinois side.
“Nothing truly felt better than being in the Village, and this opportunity came up, purchasing this building,” Seibert said. “Nothing would have been better. It’s small enough where I was able to completely renovate it.”
A total transformation
They started renovations (top to bottom, everything is new) last June, and she left Stockade in August.
“I have so much confidence in myself and what I do, and I love what I do,” Seibert said. “I didn’t buy a business I have no idea about. I’m ready for all the new stuff.”
She had the interior repainted in a tropical theme, because she said, “It’s totally my vibe.”
“At home, I have tons of plants; I’m a plant lady,” Seibert said. “Green is such a calming, beautiful color.”
She added a window behind the bar, where people can order from the outdoor patio.
“The Quad Cities deserves everything also. We can do it; you don’t have to go out of town to see the coolest stuff,” Seibert said.
Her first two weeks, around Christmas, were “insane,” she said. “It was nice to be in the area still, and see people I’ve known for what feels like forever. I spent half my life at Stockade, it’s crazy.”
After Moline High, Seibert attended Black Hawk College briefly, but didn’t find anything else she wanted to pursue. “I would tell everybody, when I turned 21, I would go to the bars drinking, and I’m gonna own a bar in the Village some day. I can’t wait.”
Iowa allows 18-year-olds to serve alcohol, and her sister was managing Stockade when she started, so she “had a good in.”
“When I started, two of my sisters worked there,” Seibert said. At Kelso’s, she has five other bartenders.
She got a new walnut bar created by a Rock Island woodworker. She adores owning her own place.
“It’s a million percent satisfying. It’s great,” Seibert said. “My staff is so great. They kind of remind me of myself, each one a little bit. We’re just having such a good time. It’s been so positive. I think the area, we needed something a little more modern, a little more fresh and I think I just nailed that. We’re getting more people back to the Village.
“That’s what my goal is, to bring people back to the Village. It’s an amazing place to be, and we lost people to downtown Davenport, new stuff coming up,” she said. “It’s nice to get people back to a great district of bars, restaurants and stores, tons of shopping and businesses down here. It’s just great.”
On Saturday, Kelso’s will include a mini-basketball game, where if you make it, you can spin a wheel for prizes and drink discounts. The food truck Schaa-BO’s will be on site Thursday and Friday, with their unique corned beef egg rolls (including kimchi, Swiss cheese and spicy Thousand Island dressing). Seibert’s 33rd birthday will be Sunday, March 19.
A new tradition
‘The St. Patrick’s Day festivities were launched by Grumpy’s Saloon owner Carrie Peterman, with other Village business owners. She’s had Grumpy’s (2120 E. 11th St.) for 11 years, starting with a major renovation of her 1854 building. “It’s a beautiful old building,” Peterman said Monday. “It’s so different now.”
“The East Village Association has really gotten a lot stronger and we’ve been busy trying to promote different things,” she said. Last October, they presented the 1st-annual Hops Fest, with 11th Street blocked off for a craft beer festival (with about 20 vendors), which was a huge success.
The Village has had a popular Wine Walk for years every August.
The St. Patrick’s Day event will have a commemorative T-shirt for sale at all six of the participating bars, for $25 each. Entertainment includes a DJ at Kelso’s from 3 to 8 p.m., and then at Grumpy’s from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Grumpy’s will host a big cornhole tournament in its parking lot at 2 p.m. Saturday. Their drink specials will include an Irish car bomb, Guinness, green teas and green beer on tap, Peterman said.
With the 37th-annual Grand Parade on Saturday crossing the Centennial Bridge (the parade is scheduled 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) into downtown Davenport, St. Paddy’s Day has always been big for downtown, but not the Village so much, she said. (The big post-parade bash at RiverCenter starts at 1 p.m.)
“Downtown gets most of it. So that’s kind of why this has even been born is, we’re trying to give people a reason to come and visit the Village,” Peterman said. “Downtown definitely gets most of the attention.”
“So we’re working hard and trying to change that a little bit because the Village is such an awesome place for people to come and be entertained. We’ve got great restaurants.”
“Watch out for next year because we’re really gonna try and grow this event,” she added.