People on bicycles, Harleys and golf carts have been showing up at The Station bar in Slater since it opened shortly before the Fourth of July.
Some customers are driving cars and trucks, too, of course. But The Station is located near a popular bike trail, so cyclists have been excited to see a new stop on their rides this summer.
Bikers quickly got word of a new destination for their road trips.
And residents of Slater are well-known locally for their broad use of golf carts to putters around their community.
The Station is owned by two couples from Huxley, Ardie and Cindy Drummond and Roger and Carol Ossian (pronounced like ocean, if you’re wondering). The Drummonds and Ossians are all Iowa State grads, and Ardie and Roger also own a woodworking business together.
“We have a lot of locals. A lot of them come on their golf carts,” Cindy Drummond said. “The week before the Fourth of July, we had a soft opening. We didn’t tell anyone we were going to be open, we just put the ‘Open’ sign out.”
That night it was mostly locals, about 25 of them. They’d been seeing the work going on at the location, so they were curious about it.
“July Fourth was a little bit crazy,” Cindy Drummond said with a laugh. “We’ve been getting lots of bicyclists. The Heart of Iowa Nature Trail is just a couple blocks away.
“People have been driving here from Ames and Madrid and lots of different places. A lot of the comments we’re getting is that it’s a nice, quiet place to come, just sit and visit. We have music playing, but it’s not super loud. It’s a quiet, fun place.”
“It’s got the feeling as more of a social club than a bar,” Ardie Drummond said. “It’s great to get people here from out-of-town, but our biggest support has come from locals.”
A major event they’re planning for is the Sept. 8 “Town Divided Tailgate,” a yearly celebration organized by the Slater Community Club on the day of the Iowa State versus Iowa football game. The Station will be hosting the bags tournament on Sept. 8 (two days before the big game), and the whole Main Street will be blocked off for the festivities.
“The patio will be open, and I think you’ll be able to watch the band from the patio,” Cindy Drummond said.
With a large, high-ceilinged interior, there’s plenty of room for customers to get out of the heat. On nice days, garage doors on both sides of the bar can be opened to let in fresh air.
The big, covered patio features several tables and chairs, and there’s an outdoor bar. Customers can bring their own chairs if the tables get full, and sometimes they just roll up on their golf carts and sit in those seats, Cindy said.
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Drink menu features cans and bottles
The Station’s menu is a simple one: canned and bottled beverages.
“We only serve cans and bottles. We have no hard liquor. We wanted it to be really simple,” Cindy Drummond said.
The menu includes beer, seltzers, non-alcoholic drinks and ready-made cocktails.
“We’ve got some drinks called ‘ready to drink,’ which are like a cocktail in a can. Like a Crown and cola in a can or a lime margarita in a can,” she said.
The bar doesn’t serve food, but customers will sometimes find a food truck at the location. Trucks like Nacho Daddy’z Tacos and Comfort Food have been onsite so far and customers have loved having the trucks show up, Cindy Drummond said.
Construction by owners used many reclaimed materials
Roger Ossian and Ardie Drummond built The Station. The bar and patio feature tables custom-made by Ardie.
Reclaimed and repurposed materials were used for several of the projects.
Ardie used old electrical spools for the outdoor tabletops. Reclaimed Iowa barn board is used on the lower portion of the interior walls, the face of the front bar and large business sign that hangs on the wall above the main bar. Corrugated-metal barn roofing was salvaged for the upper part of the interior walls, giving the bar an industrial feel.
Floor joists from the building at 301 Grand Ave. in Des Moines were repurposed and varnished to a glossy sheen to create the main bar.
“Ardie’s the builder,” Cindy Drummond said of the tables and bar. “I have designed all of this and built it all, except for metal fabrication on the tables. But he designed that part and had it custom made.”
The tables all have rollers to easily convert the large L-shaped room into an event venue.
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The large patio offers table seating, and there’s a separate bar outside.
“You can get drinks inside or out here,” Cindy Drummond said during a tour of the space.
“We’ve got some shades that we can pull down on the west side of the patio, so we’ll roll the shades and have some more coverage space when the sun gets farther west,” Ardie said.
An outdoor patio bar caters to customers outside or they’re welcome to go inside to the main bar to order drinks or use the restrooms.
Both the inside and outside of the bar are available for venue rental, but both areas are open to customers unless there’s a private party booked.
Straight threw a wrench in construction
Ardie Drummond and Roger Ossian own The 501 Woodworking and Cabinet Shop, which is attached to the south side of the bar.
“We do custom cabinets and also I’m a general contractor so we do builds too,” Ardie Drummond said.
The woodshop was originally a shed for Story County, built in the early 1900s or late 1800s, he said.
“We bought the county shed, totally redid it and made that our woodshop,” he said. “We own the property, so we decided to add this bar to the back.”
They’ve had the woodshop business since 2011.
Ardie and Roger started construction on The Station a few years ago, and on Aug. 10, 2020, their work was destroyed in the derecho, which hit the Slater area especially hard.
“They had it about halfway done and the right destroyed it, so they had to start all over,” Cindy said. “They got the structure up and enclosed, but they had other projects so they had to finish those before they could finish the bar. The townspeople were really wondering what it was going to be like, so there was a lot of curiosity when we finally opened.”
The Station is open Thursday, 5 pm to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Follow “The Slater Station” on Facebook and Instagram to see drink specials, public events and know when the bar is closed for a private event.
Ronna Faaborg covers business and the arts for the Ames Tribune. Reach her from her at firstname.lastname@example.org.