A New Beer Garden Will Open Soon at Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink

September 13, 2013

by Bree Collins

The beer garden at Reilly’s Craft Pizza is a little hideaway in the middle of Downtown.

Fenton in front of the imprinted wall that will remain intact when the beer garden opens.

Fenton in front of the imprinted wall that will remain intact when the beer garden opens.

Tyler Fenton’s newest project is set in the L-shaped space between the restaurant and Francisco Studios next door. The space feels removed from the bustle and traffic of the Scott Ave. and Pennington St. The area will soon be stocked with greenery due to several trellises and planters, and Fenton hopes to grow vines up the walls to increase the feeling of a lush oasis in the heart of Downtown.

Fenton likes using normal materials in unusual ways. The flooring under the ramada will feature tile with turf grout to mimic grass growing through the spaces, and was inspired by a driveway Fenton saw in Coronado, California. The walkway that looks like wood is actually wood-stamped concrete stained the same color as the flooring inside the garage. Vertical decking placed strategically around area will block out sounds of the street and kitchen to increase the sense of privacy.

Alcohol will be served inside the garage area, which used to house the hearses when the Reilly building was a funeral home. Rolling garage doors that will raise during open hours to let in the weather create an indoor-outdoor space that flows together. The crumbling walls, built in 1906, had to be redone, but Fenton strove to keep the original structure – going so far as to leave the imprint of the original brick in the east wall. 90% of the original brick was salvaged and reused, with several faced upright so that you can see the company stamp.

There will be 40 beers on tap, with about 12 to be “aggressively” rotated, and plans are in the works to bring in some specialty beers and perhaps do a few tap takeovers. Fenton thought about doing beer cocktails, but eventually decided to keep things simple, and might revisit the idea if there is enough interest from the public. “I like the idea of adding things instead of taking away,” he says. There will be 8 wine taps as well, and plans to have dedicated taps for cider or gluten free beer. This last was inspired by Fenton’s girlfriend, who has celiacs.

Part of the rebuilt brick wall, with one of the bricks facing out so you can see the company stamp.

Part of the rebuilt brick wall, with one of the bricks facing out to reveal the company stamp.

The bar top is a giant drip tray, and the effect is pulled off perfectly. Quotes on the bar front will provide wisdom from the likes of Frank Sinatra and Abraham Lincoln. There will be seating at the bar as well as four large communal tables made by John Furrier, a friend of Fenton’s. Another friend, Chad Nichols of Nichols Fabrication, made the handles on the very large double doors leading into the space, which were a surprise to Fenton as they are small replicas of the Reilly sign out front.

The space will be television-free, as Fenton intends the beer garden to be a communal place where people can hang out with their friends or meet new people. He wanted the décor to be simple enough that you appreciate the concept but are not distracted by it.

The site helped design itself. With the garages and “funky” side patio, Fenton could have done another restaurant, but a friend of his had just visited New York, and raved about their rooftop beer gardens. Fenton had recently visited the beer gardens of Europe, and the idea stuck. “These businesses are reflections of the things that I like,” says Fenton. “I like pizza, and I like craft beer.” A roof deck is possible in this space, but Fenton will wait to see what people want first.

The beer garden is phase two of three phases planned for the building. Fenton is not disclosing more than that phase three will be a drinking establishment, and will be the most unique of the three designs.

“Most of the traffic is still on Congress and I wanted to make a destination of our own,” says Fenton. “You can spend your whole night here having dinner and drinks, or just get dinner or drinks.”

The beer garden is currently in the final stages of construction and will hopefully open in October. You follow Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink on Facebook for updates.