Massive Beer Hall Brings Suds Back to Old Brewery at Danbro Studios

By Meredith Hoffman on February 14, 2012 9:46am 

BUSHWICK — Strolling through his 4,000-square-foot future beer hall, on his way to what will become an 11,000-square-foot outdoor garden,  Joshua Richholt matter-of-factly predicted victory over the rest of New York’s bars.

“If we’re going to have a very large selection of beers,” he said, “why not have the biggest in the city?”

Richholt's venture, The Well, will offer 250 different bottled beers with 60 more on tap. It will move into the giant Danbro Studios building, off the Montrose L stop — a former 19th Century brewery.  

Danbro Studios, at 260 Meserole St., has already become a music hub with practice rooms, an instrument store, and visitors including Animal Collective and 50 Cent.

And Richolt is also about to open The Wick, a giant music venue, in the same 75,000 square-foot building. 

“This is going to be a one-stop shop for musicians when they come into the city,” said Richholt, who previously managed the Knitting Factory and ran Jazz Standard.

“I decided if we’re going to do one, we might as well do both,” he said about his ambitious joint venture. He said he hopes both spots will be open by the fall.

At the Well, Richholt plans to offer beers from every New York State brewery, a few of The Well’s own exclusive brews in a partnership with a local brew-house that he wouldn't name, and unusual makes from Belgium, Germany, and Russia.

England's Samuel Smith’s, the Czech Krusovice, the popular Mexican Negro Modelo, Founder’s, and the Coloradan Fat Tire are just a few of Richholt’s favorites on the list.

“There’s nothing else like this in the city,’” said Richholt of his two adjacent establishments.

“I saw this space and thought we need to make this happen,” he said of the bar’s 35-foot high ceilings and exposed brick walls.

The Well will host food and beer pairings, classes on home brewing, and a Saturday farmer’s market in its backyard. It is partnering with a local eatery to offer pub fare, said Richholt.

Thirsty patrons will be able to sip on suds from noon until 4 a.m. on weekends, and noon until 1 a.m. on weekdays. Richholt is requesting a full liquor license to offer an abundance of his other favorite drink, whiskey.

The building’s location by an industrial zone should avoid neighbors’ complaints of The Well’s lively backyard and of The Wick’s booming live rock, hip hop, and Latin music, he hopes.

“This neighborhood is an open palette,” said Richholt of its early stages of development, with smaller venues and local artists in the area.

To other users of Danbro Studios, the beer hall and venue will elevate the buiding’s newfound popularity.

Wes Buckley, manager of the building’s Bushwick Supply instrument store, said that in the past year-and-a-half he suddenly sees “hundreds and hundreds of musicians walking around every day” to practice at Danbro Studios’ three floors of rehearsal rooms, which are always packed.

“This place will be established if there’s beer here, that’ll really bring people,” said Buckley.

“What else do we need after that? Maybe a hospital.”

Gary Hunt, a lighting technician at Music Hall of Williamsburg, predicted the businesses would take off immediately.

“It’s the perfect location,” said Hunt, who forecasted that the Wick would compete with the large popular venue Brooklyn Bowl. “Everything’s out here now. Nothing’s in Manhattan.”

And Ronnie Gonzalez, who has rented practice space in Danbro Studios the past three years, said he had already seen the studios multiply about three-fold, with constant demand for more.

“At night it gets crazy,” he said of the overwhelming noise produced by every practice studio. “You can’t really record then.”

“Our waiting list is full about one week,” said Vanessa Dobre, co-owner of Danbro Studio's hourly practice spaces called the Sweatshop Brooklyn, which has doubled its rooms since it opened there.

“All the musicians are moving into the area.”

Still, she predicts the Well and the Wick’s opening will tip growth even farther.

“It will change everything,” she said.

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