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Fans Toast Opening of Houston Street Beer Hall

By Andrea Swalec | January 9, 2013 7:35am

WEST VILLAGE — A massive new beer hall on West Houston Street has plenty of room to sip a craft beer or chow down on a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.

Clocking in at 5,000 square feet, the enormous bar and restaurant Houston Hall opened Friday at 222 W. Houston St., just east of Seventh Avenue South.

Dozens of people earlier this week were seated at long wooden tables checked out the huge, high-ceilinged spot, which features exposed brick and warm lighting.

Kevin Keehn, an advertising art director who works in Hudson Square, drank a beer there with a co-worker and said he would be back.

"We kept checking out the place for about a year," he said.

"We used to go to the Brooklyneer every day after work," Keehn added, referring to the bar next door, "but now we'll come here, too."

Manager Carl Clements said the three owners of the bar — among them Heartland Brewery chain owner Jon Bloostein — are "all about beer" and hope to contribute something different to the neighborhood.

"You can go to a lot of different beer gardens in the boroughs, but there's nothing like this in the vicinity," Clements said.

Like Heartland Brewery, the bar serves beers from Greenpoint Beerworks, which are available in 12-ounce, 16-ounce and liter servings. They start at $5.

Cocktails like the Mark Twain, which combines Johnny Walker Double Black, lemon juice, lemon bitters, sugar and orange flower water, cost $11 to $13 each.

The food options include grilled cheeses dreamed up by the food truck Milk Truck ($8.50 to $10), salads ($8 to $10) and small plates like bruschetta with fig jam, cured ham and goat cheese ($8.50).

Houston Hall, 222 W. Houston St., opens every day at noon and closes at 1 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 2 a.m. Thursday and 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The kitchen stays open until two hours before closing time each night.