When owner Marina Charny began working on Beer Garage in January, she thought it would take her about a year to open. She planned on doing much of the work on the space herself, along with her manager, and was okay with taking her time. Instead, a pandemic hit, forcing her other restaurant, Wild, into temporary closure, and providing one fortuitous benefit— Beer Garage was able to be completed much more quickly, and hopes to open in just several weeks.
The space, located just around the corner from Wild in Park Slope, was originally thought of as an event space for Charly’s original restaurant. It features large, garage-style doors at the front, a skylight, and even a traffic light inside.
“The aesthetic is modeled after an actual auto garage. We wanted it to be a little bit of a mix between a dive bar and a beer garden, so maybe a classier version of a traditional dive bar. We have hub caps, a working traffic light, a bunch of tvs and stuff for sports. We just wanted out to be a real neighborhood spot,” Charny said.
Finger food will be available, including fried favorites, wings, and pizza, once the spot opens. At full capacity, it can squeeze up to 50 people. They plan on having 13 all-craft beers, about five of which will be locals, wine, sangria, and Prosecco, and will potentially try for a full liquor license later on.
The imminent future is still uncertain for Beer Garage, as laws and public feeling change rapidly. They plan to potentially open for to-go drinks before they’re allowed to open for outdoor dining, and will take things from there.
Opening a restaurant is difficult in the best of circumstances, and a pandemic provides its own unique set of challenges.
“Our opening will be impacted. From my experience with Wild and just generally what I’ve seen, when a new restaurant opens anywhere people are really curious. There’s always a bit of a rush in the beginning. People come out, they want to try it and try out the food,” Charny said. “In this case I don’t think we’re going to have that same initial rush, or at least on the same scale that we would’ve had it. I think it’ll be more of a gradual growth of people coming out to check us out as [they] get more and more comfortable [with] wanting to go outside and go to these social places.”
Despite this adjustment, Charny still feels as though opening now is better than waiting for a return to normalcy.
“We had already started planning and renovation about one month before we were shut down. We did have to have that conversation about what we were going to do, but ultimately we just decided to keep going. We didn’t think it would be a good idea to halt, and if we did pause at that point we didn’t know for how long. We already had the momentum so we just decided to keep going and see what happens,” she said, adding that summertime is always a good season for business.
She is looking forward to finally welcoming in the neighborhood.
“We will take every single necessary precaution to make everyone feel safe and comfortable,” she said.