Andrew Earley Creates a Haven for Artsy Outcasts Through AAMP
You’d be hard-pressed to find a vegan, punk or vegan-punk in Salt Lake City that hasn’t heard of Mark of the Beastro and its attached sober all-ages venue, The Beehive. Known for its vegan spins on classic diner food, Mark of the Beastro‘s menu boasts chicken and waffles, burgers and loaded fries. Andrew Earley, owner of the restaurant and venue, wanted to create a place that combined his passion for alternative, underground art and meat-free, greasy diner food.
Before Mark of the Beastro, Earley worked at another food-slash-arts space. “I used to run a coffee shop called Baxter’s Cafe where we did a lot of shows, poetry slams and all sorts of other community events,” he says. “We all got fired. The manager came in, kicked everybody out and was like, ‘We’re just gonna start fresh.’” About 10 years later, a friend came to Earley asking him to come check out a property in Salt Lake with the address 666 South State Street. A month later he had the keys and after three years of hard work, Mark of the Beastro was up and running.
Mark of the Beastro illuminates the busy intersection with a bright neon sign reading “Vegan Diner,” complete with an arrow pointing hungry customers to the entrance. Walking in, customers are greeted with red walls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles posters and collectable figures galore. “A lot of my employees say that this is just like a random snapshot of the inside of my head,” Earley laughs. “It’s all stuff that I’ve always loved.” After 2020, Earley took over The Beehive as well, becoming the sole owner of the space.
In the back of the restaurant is the entrance to The Beehive, an all-ages sober venue for shows, workshops and more. “Having one accessible all-ages venue in a town that has a really solid, really powerful DIY scene just isn’t enough,” says Earley. “We needed another spot and to me music was and is, I think, the most impactful for kids as they’re growing up.” Creating space for community art is the driving ethos behind The Beehive.
“Having one accessible all-ages venue in a town that has a really solid, really powerful DIY scene just isn’t enough.”
From poetry slams and drawing workshops to hardcore shows and local art markets, The Beehive hosts events for everyone. Last month’s highlights include a live wrestling/hardcore show mashup, a black metal yoga class and a cabaret performance. “I think the fun part for me is having new and exciting things constantly and challenging ourselves to do that,” says Earley, the Executive Director of Alternative Arts and Music Programs (AAMP) Utah, a nonprofit dedicated to amplifying Salt Lake’s alternative arts scene for which The Beehive is the home base. “We have some really, really awesome arts nonprofits in Salt Lake, but there’s definitely things that fall through the cracks,” says Earley. AAMP has partnered with numerous local groups and artists, such as a local theater project. He says, “We’re always trying to diversify what we do as far as art—we’re trying to bring in as much [art that’s] creative, cool and maybe a little underrepresented, because there’s some really incredible stuff that flies under the radar.”
“I think the fun part for me is having new and exciting things constantly, and challenging ourselves to do that.”
Starting a business and fostering a community can be difficult, but Earley chooses to keep a positive attitude and continue to push forward. “I think for me, one of the big lessons has been [the importance of] focusing on the positive side of the community that we’ve built … That resilience has turned into so much cool stuff,” he says. “[You have to keep] maintaining that focus so that you don’t get discouraged and again, keep after it.”
Keep up with Mark of the Beastro, The Beehive and AAMP Utah by following their Instagrams @markofthebeastro, @beehiveslc and @aamputah respectively, and be sure to check out The Beehive’s monthly calendar to stay up-to-date on upcoming events.
Read about more businesses creating positive community change:
Fit to Recover: A Community for Lasting Change
Sweet Hazel & Co.’s Community-Oriented Approach to Vegan Creations