Route 66 News

Amarillo bar may set record for most beers on tap

I Don't Know Bar 2

In a large but nondescript-looking building on Route 66 in Amarillo, Texas, is a sports bar that’s only a dozen or so brews away from apparently breaking a national record for offering the most draft beers on tap.

The I Don’t Know Sports Bar and Grill, also known as IDK, is housed in a 1928 building at 1301 Southwest Sixth Ave. (Route 66;, map here) that once was a cannery, pump house and tire shop.

I Don't Know Bar 3

IDK, which shares space with an auto repair shop and other businesses, opened in 2012 and quickly grew its beer offerings to more than 100 types. As of last Friday, according to its owner, that number has swelled to 210, with more on the way.

Route 66 fan Nick Gerlich talked to the bar’s proprietor:

“I always thought it would be cool to have a repair shop where you could eat,” said Dennis Paetzold, owner of I Don’t Know (IDK) Sports Bar and Grill in Amarillo. His auto repair shop is located around the corner in the same building.

“It was never supposed to be this big,” he laughed, but now he has his sights set on 250 different tap handles. […]

Paetzold had to hustle to get Amarillo distributors to stock so many beers, but once he proved to them that there was customer demand for such variety, they came through. He now deals with four distributors.

IDK’s volume is staggering for a city the size of Amarillo. “We go through five kegs per hour on Friday and Saturday nights,” Paetzold boasted. “Nothing in here is more than three months old …”

As for what tavern in America serves the most beers on tap, official sources for such data are hard to find or out-of date. But this listing from BeerTravelers.com shows any tavern with more than 100 draft brews is rare, and 200 is almost unheard of. The champ apparently is Summits Wayside Tavern in Cumming, Georgia, with 224 on tap.

So by that standard, IDK is a dozen or so new kegs away from being the biggest draft-beer destination in the United States. As for Route 66, there’s little doubt it’s No. 1.

And, ironically, this is in Texas, notorious for having dozens of dry or low-alcohol counties.

IDK also displays Paetzold’s collection of more than 2,000 beer cans, a few of them that date to the 1930s. And another business he owns — asbestos abatement — allows him to acquire other memorabilia for the bar.

The hardwood dance floor and bar tops were originally in the gymnasium at nearby Pampa (TX) Junior High School. The beer cooler came from a convenience store. Some of the tables came from the old Dunes hotel and casino in Las Vegas.

Paetzold also is planning to open another bar in the Fort Worth area.

I Don't Know Bar

IDK also serves food, is finishing an outdoor patio, and offers live music. It’s open seven days a week.

(Photos and material courtesy of Nick Gerlich)