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Change is good at Iowa State Fair main gate bar


Canz has already become a popular destination spot for bikers, riders, fairground event goers and these RAGBRAIers since it opened in early July.

Canz has already become a popular destination spot for bikers, riders, fairground event goers and these RAGBRAIers since it opened in early July.

“How do you want me to spell it?” I asked Cory Steiner, new owner of Canz.

“Well, it’s spelled with an ‘s’ that looks like a backward ‘z.’ Spell it like that,” he insisted.

“I can’t do that. My computer doesn’t know how to type an ‘s’ that looks like a backward ‘z,’ ” I balked. “That’s too different.”

“That’s the point,” he smiled.

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Canz Bar and Grill is different, no doubt, especially to those who frequented the east side staple when it was Main Gate. A lot has changed inside those old walls, and while loyal regulars may have first winced at the idea — maybe even shed a tear in their beer when no one was looking — and certainly raised their glasses in farewell when they heard Main Gate was closing up, many have since returned to find change can be good.

The entire bar has been gutted and remodeled to fit the “Canz” theme. Shiny metal trash can lids decorate the walls, sheet metal has gone up where Grandma might have normally put flowered wall paper, and the entire bar — from a patron’s toes to her elbows — is made of beer cans and parts. The new bar top rests on a tower of 1,620 different beer cans, “all full,” said co-owner Larry Magnani. But they’re merely for display.

“If somebody ever decided to someday tear the place down and gets thirsty, I suppose then they could get drank,” Magnani laughed.

And the bar top is an encasement of 350,000 beer can tabs.

“I wish we could say we collected them from beers drank, but we ordered them,” Magnani admitted, which is why he can tell you exactly how many there are piled atop each other beneath the surface of the clear bar top.

The new look has come with a new menu of reasonably-priced sandwiches and appetizers, and some signature drinks are in the works, too, including “trash can punch,” which will debut at the Canz tent party slated for this weekend, Aug. 9-11, featuring DJs and live music from Hang Over (Friday, 5-9 p.m.) and Final Mix (Saturday and Sunday, 5-9 p.m.) and a 17-tapper, all-you-can-drink-beer garden for $20, starting at 11 a.m. on each day. Steiner and Magnani are expecting a crowd of epic proportions, even larger than at its grand opening on July 19.

“The grand opening was phenomenal,” said Magnani. “It was wall to wall in here, and everyone was having a great time. There were no fights or arguments.

“Hell, they even got me and Cory up on the dance floor shaking our asses,” he laughed.

Nice cans, guys. Nice Canz. CV

Canz Bar and Grill
2956 E. Grand Ave.
HOURS: 10:30 a.m.-2 a.m. every day.
HAPPY HOUR: 4-7 p.m. BOGO Mon.-Thurs.; 4-7 p.m. Fri. and Sun.
KITCHEN: 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. every day (appetizers till close).
ENTERTAINMENT: Free pool always; live music every weekend; karaoke every Sunday at 8:30 p.m.

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