October 15, 2015

Kellys Brew Pub in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico sits right on Historic Route 66, so it’s only fitting that one of the Duke City’s best historic bars hums out a living in a former Ford dealership and filling station.

The Jones Motor Company building was commissioned in 1939, the same year Americans first read about the Joad family wearily rolling through town on Route 66 in John Steinbeck’s "The Grapes of Wrath." Though the Joads were fictitious, the business certainly saw its fair share of desperate families escaping the last throes of the Dust Bowl to search for work in California.

The Art Moderne-style building on what was then the eastern edge of the city was state-of-the-art for its time, with a rear canopy for travelers’ comfort, a corner location that allowed access to pumps from two sides, and a curved front window that let passersby see the new model Fords of the day.

Jones Motor Company moved on down the road in 1957 -- possibly anticipating the advent of the Interstate Highway System and the loss in popularity of Route 66 -- but the building went on to house a moped shop, body shop, and an army surplus store before Kellys Brew Pub hung out their shingle in 1999.

Kellys Brew Pub patio in Albuquerque

photo by: OpenThreads, Flickr

Kellys offers one of the biggest outdoor patios in Albuquerque.

Kellys Brew Pub patio in Albuquerque

photo by: Wikimedia Commons

The Jones Motor Company's curved front windows allowed passersby to see the new Fords on display inside.

Since then, many of the original design elements of this National Register-listed property have been restored, and visitors can peruse newspaper clippings and signage, an old gas pump, and even search out the original restrooms

But just because the place is historic doesn’t mean it’s stuck in the past. Kellys also sports a robust sustainability ethic. From using spent brewing grain as livestock food, to running its vehicles on spent oil from its fryers, to incorporating energy-efficient systems, Kellys is driving straight into the 21st century.

Location: 3222 Central Ave. St. Albuquerque, NM 87106

Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.; Friday – Saturday, 8 a.m. - midnight

You’re Having: Any of Kellys’ 20 house drafts and the Green Chile Turkey Enchiladas

Best Yelp Review: The patrons at the bar are friendly, this is a real crowd of drinkers, not amateur hour like at other breweries around ABQ

David Weible was the content specialist at the National Trust, previously with Preservation and Outside magazines. His interest in historic preservation was inspired by the ‘20s-era architecture, streetcar neighborhoods, and bars of his hometown of Cleveland.

Join the movement to save and sustain historic African American places. The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund will help every American see themselves, their history, and their potential in our collective story and national cultural landscape.

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