Periodic Table, where a table periodically opens


Paul Hansen

Amelia Nickle, director of operations and sales at Hotel Grinnell, stands behind the Periodic Table bar.

Conrad Dahm, Staff Writer

Complete with a checkerboard floor and signs labeled with chemical elements on the wall, the Periodic Table bar and lounge at Hotel Grinnell will not be forgotten. Located only 10 minutes away from the Grinnell College campus, this bar offers drinks and an ambiance that is hard to find elsewhere.

The Periodic Table is a unique bar because every employee of Hotel Grinnell does almost everything, said  Amelia Nickle, director of operations and sales at Hotel Grinnell. Nickle is originally from Colorado, and she moved to Grinnell around 10 years ago. She said that she has been working in the service industry for most of her life. Along with her role of director,  Nickel also bartends at the Periodic Table.

“A typical day for somebody who’s bartending at the Periodic Table, they could also be cooking, or running the front desk as well as bartending,” Nickle said. This unique system does not change the quality of the bar or the selections available.

“We have a selection of cocktails, mocktails and cans and bottles of craft beer,” Nickle said. All of these drinks can be enjoyed either inside the bar or soon outside on the patio as the weather warms up. Nickle said that when the summer comes the bar will hopefully include live music on Fridays and Saturdays, and maybe Thursdays. Nickle said she thinks this music will only add to the ambiance of the bar.

Nickle also explained how being a good bartender includes making the bar feel welcoming to customers. “Bartending is an art form rather than a job. Your job is not to get people drunk, your job is to create an experience for them by crafting a cocktail, mocktail, or meal that they will enjoy and remember.”

The history of the bar and hotel is also unique, as it used to be the location of a high school. “The ballroom of the hotel was where the gym was and the bar was where the locker rooms were,” Nickle said. After renovating the space into its current form, the bar also got its name.

“We did a play on words with the Periodic Table as in the periodic table of elements but also that, periodically, there’s a table open,” said Nickle. Another thing that makes the bar unique is that there is only one neon sign in the whole building, according to Nickle.

Being a bartender also comes with a fair amount of interesting and fun stories. Some of the most interesting people Nickle has met are parents of students at the College. Nickle said that the bar tries to cater to college families and has a diverse menu because of that demographic.

“We do a lot of world-inspired dishes and drinks. So because they [college parents] are from all over the world they seem to appreciate it better,” Nickle said. She also said, “I really like when they come in and I can serve them and get to know them throughout the years.”

The Periodic Table is certainly a unique bar that everyone can enjoy. With a wide range of drinks and food, the bar also has “the best patio in Grinnell,” according to Nickle.