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Queen Anne Beerhall

A Northwest Beerhall

Flash back ten years: an authentic beerhall is opened on Queen Anne by people from the Czech Republic. European food, beer, and music. It's large - 400+ person capacity. Trying to get at least 250 people in on weeknights who all want schnitzel, not so easy. Then the pandemic hit; they decided to sell.

Co-owner Gary Szeredy

Two-and-a half years ago, two men in the mortgage business, Justin Andrews and Keith Hobart, heard about the listing from a co-worker. They were very interested in breweries and beer. "They wanted to take it over, but it was a specialized deal, and they knew nothing about running a restaurant or brewery," explains Gary Szeredy, co-owner and GM. "They were about to say no when my name came up. Justin, the best man at my wedding, told me about the opportunity and asked if I was interested. We met at the Beerhall and I just loved it, it was gorgeous. The original owners did a great job. They brought authentic items in or copied European beerhall items exactly. We decided to take it but do things differently. Climate Pledge Arena would open in six months and the Kraken would be playing. We didn't want it to be a sports bar only, but we knew we'd draw a sports crowd."

They took over in September of 2020,staying open and keeping the staff. A month later they closed due to the pandemic. "Takeout wasn't our deal, so we just closed," says Gary. "We also used it as organization time. We reopened two months later and figured we'd be successful in 4-5 months once Climate Pledge Arena opened. But within a month, we were almost full every night. Family and friends were coming in several nights a week to support us. Word of mouth was huge, and we have a good social media program. When I talked to people before we said yes to the deal, no one had heard of it. Now I hear one of two things: 'I love that place' or 'I keep hearing about it and really want to go.'

"We added TVs and WiFi. There were 32 taps and we changed 20 of them to local beers. The other 10-12 are still European beers. We call it a Northwest Beerhall because it has a diverse demographic. Families are welcome; it's only 21+ after 10 p.m. Dogs are welcome; kids' teams come in after games; we have a great happy hour, lunch, and dinner. There's trivia on Tuesday nights, where 40 teams show up. We do a quarterly brewer's night where brewers meet and talk. They do something, like a chili cook off, with a panel of judges made up of Kraken and Seahawks players. Brewers said they had no place to meet; now they do. It's a fun evening and the public is welcome. Winners of competitions usually get a handle behind the bar for three months."

During sports events, they fill the hall. "With 400 people in here, it's unbelievable. When the Mariners were in the playoffs, it was full at 10 a.m., everyone cheering and going crazy. During the three US games of the World Cup, it was full at 7 a.m. A group of 150 Argentinian fans came, and an Argentinian marching band struck up at 6 a.m. After Kraken games, we have DJ Disco Vinnie in. Our happy hour is huge, and we offer platters for large parties. We get cruise ship and tourist business in the summer. We've had buyouts from companies, rehearsal dinners, and even a wedding. We really don't have a down season."

Co-owner Justin does beer curating, and Jared Ivey runs the beer program. He's developed great relationships with local and international breweries over his 20 years of experience. "We have great food. It's fresh and locally sourced. We pay more to support small local companies and get quality items. No frozen appetizers. It's well-executed, eclectic comfort food. Our Executive Chef is Rhys Nunnelle, who was at Tankard & Tun at Pike Brewing, and the Crab Pot.

Gary was GM at Gordon Biersch, Pacific Place, for eight years, and Director of Operations at Pike Brewing for five years. "I loved working for a local brewery, and Charles Finkel taught me so much." Gary is onsite at the Beerhall, creating the culture and team. "In 30 years, I think this is the top team I've worked with; they support each other and are loyal." Part of that loyalty comes from how they're treated. Full benefits are given to anyone who works over 28 hours weekly. They close the restaurant occasionally to take the 52 employees to bowl or take a charter bus somewhere. They offer beer and food classes. They're proud of what they've accomplished and have been nominated as Business of the Year by the GSBA (Greater Seattle Business Association). "It's a big award and event, it's exciting."

Also exciting is a new location coming to Kirkland. The Wilde Rover space came available and there was a lot of competition for it. "I think our success in Queen Anne and the fact that Justin has Kirkland roots helped. We signed the lease a couple of months ago on the 100-year-old building. We're in the permitting process now and have architectural plans completed. It's a complete demo/remodel. The main hall will have dining and there will be tables around the sides with water and marina views. We'll have 380 seats plus 80 patio seats, also with views."

At first, things will be similar to Queen Anne. "We'll probably offer breakfast, business lunches, and happy hour. More small plates, shareables, and family-style meals, along with different wines. We'll offer marine service: people can order ice, beer, food, and we'll deliver it to their boat. We'll figure out what the community wants; I think we'll fill a gap there." They're looking at an August/September 2023 opening.

But wait, there's more! "We definitely want to see more growth, maybe a new location every 1-1/2 to 2 years. If this awesomeness can be spread to other places, that's cool."

Connie Adams/February 2023

Queen Anne Beerhall
203 W Thomas St
Seattle, WA 98119

Queen Anne Beerhall

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