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.
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.
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.
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!
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.