The ambitious indoor beer garden Craft Hall, which has been ramping up operation since last fall on the former site of Yards Brewing Co. in Northern Liberties, will soft-open Thursday, March 7.
At 901 N. Delaware Ave., just north of Penn’s Landing, Avram Hornik and his crew at FCM Hospitality have a roomy 35,000 square feet into which they have set up Mainstay Independence Brewing Co., a bakery by Lost Bread Co., and a counter-service eatery called Craft Hall Kitchen. There are two bars, a music stage, and plenty of dining and communal space, including chairs and tables made from salvaged iron pieces and felled trees from Fairmount Park.
Key to the fun will be an indoor playground, resembling a pirate ship, with sliding boards and such activities as ring toss games and Nintendo. FCM raided a carnival supply house for stuff, Hornik told me.
Hornik runs the seasonal Parks on Tap series and Morgan’s Pier, as well as Harper’s Garden, Rosy’s Taco Bar, the Dolphin, and Concourse Dance Bar (the Center City bar with the ball pit).
Chef Justin Koenig, previously of Parks on Tap, will be working with baker Alex Bois of Lost Bread Co., whose products will be featured in a variety of ways, including all of the sandwich buns.
On the menu are bread boards, soft pretzels, Cope’s Corn hush puppies, steamed mussels, pizzas, a burger, grilled cheese, pulled pork sandwich, and fried chicken sandwich, plus bread pudding and a milk chocolate semifreddo for dessert.
Customers will be able to watch how flour is milled, meat is smoked, and beer is brewed.
Mainstay Independent has brewmaster Brian O’Reilly, formerly of Sly Fox, working with Andrew Foss, formerly of St. Benjamin’s.
There will be live music every Friday and Saturday, starting with Split Decision on March 8 with party at 10 p.m. More daily entertainment will start in coming weeks.
In warmer weather, the garage doors will be open and there will also be outdoor seating areas along Delaware Avenue.