CLINTON HALL EXTENDS ITS PARTNERSHIP WITH POD HOTELS IN THIS MODERN TAKE ON A GERMAN BEER GARDEN

BY MATT SCANLON

It’s never been a cakewalk running a bar or restaurant in New York, but the last few years have included the added stressors of even higher commercial rents and a tight labor market that forces tougher competition for managers and other higher end staff. Fall may bring another complication, as the New York State Department of Labor decides whether to end employer “tip credits,” which allow businesses to avoid paying the full state minimum wage to employees receiving gratuities (see “Tipping Point” in this issue). It would make sense, then, that square-footage-hungry beer gardens, with their open-air layouts and typically generous non-table spaces, would be tapped out of the market.

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But exactly the opposite is happening. From the East Village’s Zum Schneider to Astoria’s Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, to Radegast Hall & Biergarten in Williamsburg, these odes to the Bavarian tradition of al fresco consumption dating to the 19th century and started by brewers like Löwenbräu and Paulaner are typically seeing robust sales, and now number more than 30 citywide.

Clinton Hall, in its four current city beer hall locations, presents a modern take on the classic garden layout, and now has furthered a partnership with Pod Hotels to open a fifth location, in Williamsburg. Known for its Super craft process in which drafts are served to brew master specs thanks to a company developed “Flux Capacitor” that adjusts the nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and compression of each pour—Clinton Hall also makes efforts to expand fare beyond “pretzel and a brat” staples with dishes like sesame-crusted tuna salad, a spicy duck chorizo burger, and “WTF Waffles.”

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Adjacent to the POD BK Hotel, the 4,000-square-foot space (2,000 of which is beer garden) is distinguished by an industrial design, open-concept floor plan, and bright pops of color, and features a custom installation by LA celebrity graffiti artist Gregory Siff, along with a variety of supersized games like Jenga, Connect 4, and “giant chess.” It’s palpably aimed at younger drinkers and is both financially and philosophically synergized with hoteliers Richard Born and Ira Drukier’s Pod Hotel concept, with its ultra-modern, compact, and affordable guest rooms (rates start at $85 per night), thrumming communal spaces, and high-tech amenities (including wall-mounted iPads and projection screens).

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“Our vision has always been to create an energetic, social environment where guests can enter as strangers and leave as friends,” said Telly Hatzigeorgiou, founder of Clinton Hall and the brain behind lower Manhattan’s Beekman Beer Garden and Ambrose Beer and Lobster. “With the new Brooklyn location, we’ve created an inviting space where guests feel transported out of the city.”

Clinton Hall
247 Metropolitan Avenue / 929.419.6988 / clintonhallny.com