Austin’s Central Machine Works

by Haven Lindsey on April 3, 2020 in Food+Drink, Drink, Austin,
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Something special is on tap at this East Austin brewery and it’s not just the craft beer.
This place is “neighborhoody!”

Update: This review was written before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Central Machine Works is now closed until further notice, focusing on making beer and post-virus projects. Stay tuned!

Austinites understand that when a restaurant’s address says E. Cesar Chavez Street, the odds are pretty good they’ll be searching for a parking spot. But, venture over to Central Machine Works and you’ll notice the sign out front that reads, “Parking lot behind the building.” They’re not kidding, and plentiful parking is just the beginning.

The original Central Machine Works building came equipped with grease and grime from decades of manufacturing steel parts. Courtesy photo

Central Machine Works is on to something—in the most neighborhoody of ways. CMW is going to become that place where everyone knows your name and the place where you’ll soon know theirs. The place where you’ll bring the kids and dog and let them romp. The place where you’ll sit around the fire pits and enjoy a beer or any number of cocktails from the fully stocked bar. The place where you’ll bring the whole family or celebrate with your softball team over pizza and bratwurst at the picnic tables. The place where you’ll sit inside on the oversized sofas and (perhaps) solve the world’s problems. The place where you’ll do all of these things while listening (and dancing) to live music.

The fully renovated Central Machine Works includes a fully-operating brewery, a restaurant and full bar with options to dine inside or out.
Courtesy photo

CMW feels neighborhoody because the space has been an integral part of the area for decades. So has Rosa Santis, known as the “Grandmother of East Austin,” who is one of the owners. Santis lives in and loves East Austin and together with John Scott, the original owner of Stubbs (yes, that Stubbs), and brothers Aaron and Andrew Ashmore, purchased the original Central Machine Works space. The massive warehouse-sized building was full of dirt, dust, grease, grime and leftover machinery from the years of custom steel fabrication. That 18,000-pound lathe prominently positioned behind the bar helped make airplane parts during World War II.

Something special is on tap at Central Machine Works and it’s not just the craft beer – this place is “neighborhoody!” Courtesy photo

Today, the once thriving metal works factory has been gutted, cleaned and rebuilt into a modernized brewery – one that produces a lager, pilsner, pale ale, kolsch and a pale ale that exceeds the expectations of the most discriminating beer drinker. The menu is typical fare that you’ll find in a pub although the pizza is better than some places that specialize in it (the secret is in the crust).

The best neighbohoody part is the expansive outdoor space. There’s a large stage for bands to play and plenty of space for kids of all ages to play and/or dance. And CMW is serious about supporting live music. Every Tuesday night features a bluegrass band, Friday nights include a vinyl DJ, Saturday night there will be more live music, and on Sundays reggae music is always on tap.

Central Machine Works has something for everyone including the four-legged varieties – pups are welcome too!

CMW: 4824 East Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX, 78702

Cover photo courtesy White Light Exposure

Haven Lindsey resides in Austin, Texas. She is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience writing on topics including healthcare, addiction, public policy, education, travel, food and human interest stories.