By Brian Kaufenberg
“Our hope was to update everything,” said Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery owner Pete Rifakes at a media preview of the newly renovated brewpub, which is set to reopen to the public on April 11. For anyone who has visited Town Hall Brewery in the last 17 years, the change is pronounced. From completely re-leveled floors to refinished bathrooms, an expanded bar room with a new divider between the bar and dining areas to an expanded brewhouse and three new 20 bbl fermenters and a 20 bbl serving tank, the brewpub’s new appearance brings it closer to the style of the other establishments owned by Rifakes, Town Hall Tap and Town Hall Lanes.
As you enter the bar room, stained glass adorns the entrance and the bar room’s divider, and complements a large four-foot wide clock salvaged and restored from an early 20th century clock tower. Neon lettering shines out around the rusted edges of the clock and a soft white light illuminates the stained glass of the clock face. Ornate chandeliers have replaced the bulkier light fixtures above the bar, which has been shortened and moved closer to the back wall to make room for additional tables and new booths in the dining area.
The lounge area, which used to serve as a de facto waiting room for patrons on busy nights, now features a dozen tables surrounding the fireplace and the two adjoining leather chairs, and helps to bridge the separation between the front and the back dining spaces.
Murals in both the fireplace dining area and the bar room helps to link the spaces further. The bar room mural showcases the brewpub’s approximately 50 different beers brewed throughout the year and the annual events surrounding the beer releases, while the fireplace dining area’s mural presents the intricacies of the brewing process to give patrons an appreciation of what goes into the pints they are enjoying.
Follow the hallway past the arched wood and glass door leading to the brewhouse—which feels like a sacred threshold—to a third dining space that can serve as a private event space for 20–30 people. “If you want to have a kick ass fantasy football draft, this is the place,” Rifakes said as we entered the room.
The space also serves as a tribute to Rifakes mother who passed away last year with a wall featuring a photo of Carol Rifakes and the quilts she made specially for each of the awards Town Hall Brewery has received for their beer. And with 1,000 extra square-feet in the brewery and additional fermenters that increase their annual capacity to the full 3,500 barrel brewpub limit, Town Hall Brewery is ready to expand their brewing repertoire even further.
The grand re-opening will take place on April 11 at 6pm for the general public to get their first glimpse of the renovations and sip Town Hall’s beers at the brewery once again. The reopening is just in time for the brewery’s ever-popular Barrel Aged Week starting April 14 with growler ticket pre-sales happening Sunday, April 13.