Dig Inn to music and drinks

Patrons are served at The Dig Inn, a record store and craft beer bar located at 113 Broad St. in downtown Reinbeck. Photo by Anna Shearer

The Dig Inn, a record store and craft beer bar, is a unique business for the small town of Reinbeck but has already become a popular spot.

After opening November 15, the store was closed for three months due to the pandemic, but they are back and better than ever.

“It was nice to be in a small community and feel that support; everyone essentially helped us to be able to reopen when that time came,” Ben Robertson, owner of the store and bar, said.

The Dig Inn reopened on May 28, and Robertson said they did not have any issue with patrons following distancing requirements.

They continue to serve pickup and delivery orders, which are primarily beer. Robertson hopes to start adding vinyl and record accessories. This includes a vinyl record holder called Flipbin that they started five years ago and patented. They are sold out but plan to restock in three to four weeks.

Robertson and his wife Holly lived in Chicago for over 20 years before moving to his grandparent’s farm in Reinbeck. In Chicago, they owned an IT company called MacMD. While it has been a big change, they do not regret the move.

“We couldn’t be happier! I grew up visiting Reinbeck since my childhood; I spent many summers on the farmstead my wife Holly and I now live on, hanging out with my grandparents so it has a lot of very fond memories for me,” Robertson said.

He noted that the change in the speed of life is welcome and they don’t feel like they are missing out on anything.

Robertson did not know what to expect when starting a record store and bar in a small town.

“We weren’t really sure how all of this would work out; we knew we wanted to try and add something to downtown- we love where we now live and thought it would be cool to bring something unexpected to an unexpected place,” Robertson said. “When approached to rent the space, we knew we wanted to do something we were passionate about, and we’re passionate about both music and a couple beers or wine, so we just kind of dove into it”

He said they are surprised and grateful for the support of customers.

Like many small businesses in Iowa, The Dig Inn was a recipient of an Iowa Economic Development Authority Relief Grant. He said it was a great assistance, considering they hadn’t been open for long.

Robertson said they love to bring people together through music and good beer or wine. While it’s been a lot of work, he is having lots of fun.

‘We love seeing our amazing patrons try new things and more often than not, they’ll find something they didn’t know they liked, so that’s definitely a part of what we try to do well. It’s kind of cool to know there’s a place in a small rural community that is unexpected and that tries to do cool, fun things and bring people who share that passion together,” he said.

Robertson enjoys what he’s doing and hopes to continue to evolve. They would like to start offering food at some point.

They offer four beers on tap, which are rotated, and a wide selection of Iowa beers. The bar also carries non-craft beers, but Robertson says they will try to direct customers to something different if they are open to it.

The Dig Inn has a range of musical offerings, including a couple jukeboxes with rotating selections and vintage audio gear. Robertson said they continue to work on their selection of vinyl, mostly used but some new. He said they can also order almost any record a customer wants.

Another attraction is a game room which they are working on growing. It has a Golden Tee Golf game, a pinball game and others.

The most recent addition to The Dig Inn is a beer garden for patrons to enjoy the outdoors while having a drink.

“We really enjoy doing what we’re doing and think of it always as a work in progress, so we’re always open to suggestions and love hanging out with people and hopefully providing a fun place to do so,” Robertson said.