WARREN, Ill. — For the past three years, Scottish musician Dave Arcari has made regular treks out to rural Warren to play at one of his favorite venues.
Sitting in the main hall of the Pecatonica Tap House, Arcari listened to local musicians last month before taking the stage himself to share his gravelly voice with Warren residents.
They often greet him enthusiastically, which is part of why he keeps coming back to the tap house each year.
That, and he likes the beer.
“It’s pretty good beer,” Arcari said, chuckling. “I just love it out here.”
The Pecatonica Tap House opened in downtown Warren six years ago. Tim Quinn, co-owner, said the brewery largely is an extension of the craft beer brewing business, Pecatonica Beer Co.
The brewery allows the owners to dabble in their love of craft beer. The walls and ceilings are used to show off numerous antiques that have been collected through the years, including a boat used by the University of Wisconsin-Madison rowing team in 1973 and 1974, as well as a single engine airplane.
The building itself is an antique that Quinn and his colleagues have lovingly brought back to life. The structure, built in the 1860s, has been completely remodeled, with extra care taken to retain as much of the original materials as possible.
“We like to collect old things,” Quinn said. “We like that we are able to show some of the cool things that we have bought.”
Live music is another longtime interest that Quinn was interested in bringing to the Pecatonica Tap House.
“I lived down in St. Louis for 10 years, and there was always a lot of live music going on around there,” Quinn said. “It was something we wanted to have here from the very beginning.”
Scheduled music performances feature professional artists who are booked in the summer and weekly jam sessions that are in the fall and spring.
The jam sessions invite local musicians to come together to play whatever they like. Often, guests will hear a combination of rock and country music, but Quinn said the nature of the sessions allows for anything to happen.
“A lot of the people that play in these sessions don’t even know each other,” Quinn said. “They just start playing together and it can be pretty neat.”
While the Tap House stands as a brewery and live music venue, Quinn also has plans for the building’s upper levels. The second floor is currently being converted into a reception hall, while plans are to remodel the third floor of the building into a bowling alley and office space.
Quinn said he hopes the Pecatonica Tap House can help lead a revitalization of Warren’s downtown.
“There was nothing really going on in downtown Warren,” Quinn said. “We bought up these buildings that were falling apart, and we are trying to give it new life.”
Warren resident Joe Kirkpatrick said he was happy to see the Pecatonica Tap House bringing live entertainment back to the downtown.
“I love it,” Kirkpatrick said. “I think what they are doing here is really neat.”