Monday, July 15, 2019

First look at Hook Hall, beer garden, cafe and event space opening Thursday, July 18 in Kraken Axes space

A few weeks ago we learned at the new spot coming to the Kraken Axes space at 3400 Georgia Avenue NW is called Hook Hall and would be a big beer garden, indoor bar and event space. I was able to visit last week and talk with owner Anna Valero and also learn more about the space. It's opening on Thursday, July 18, and I'm pretty excited.

The space, if you recall from Kraken Axes day, is very large, both inside and out. Valero, who also owns Kraken Axes at its new location downtown as well as local event firm Drink the District, has a lot of plans. Originally, the building was a Peoples Drug (now CVS), then Murry's grocery store, an indoor mushroom farm, then finally Kraken.

Normally Hook Hall will be a cafe during the day with Vigilante Coffee, though it will only be open in the evenings to start. It will transition into a bar in the evening, with both indoor and outdoor bars and 32 taps overall.

They don't have a kitchen but will have pastries and such, and Valero says she plans to have a food truck at times outside as well as having rotating food vendors -- for example the types of places you might see at food halls or food incubators. There are TVs and wifi, plus a separate front patio that also opens up on the main indoor bar, kind of like Pearl Dive on 14th Street. She thought it might also serve as a walk up coffee bar during the day, which sounds great.

They also plan to hold various events and festivals there, including classes from Sweat DC, yoga, regular events and things of that nature. It can also be used for neighborhood meetings and various classes, such as Drink the District cocktail or beer events, tastings, classes, cooking demos and so on. In the long term Valero hopes to add a commercial kitchen outside in a shipping container.

Outside, Valero aims for an upscale beer garden with a big bar, a synthetic lawn and 10 reservable covered cabanas for 12-15 people each. Pets will be allowed outside too. It's catty-corner from the Midlands, another beer garden, but considering how crowded that place is I'm sure it will do fine.

The space has five rentable areas for events, which you can also combine (you can see a floor plan below.) There will be large movable dividers so events can be separate or even happen during regular working hours. I can picture wedding receptions, cocktail hours, meet-up events, and so on. She also plans to have smaller spaces for work meetings and such too. For events, there are teams that can help with furniture, security, valet parking, A/V and so on, with room for 700 people inside and 675 outside.

The space looks nice inside, with the original brick exposed and what Valero called industrial nautical  -- hence the name, Hook Hall. There are copper pipes from the former District Distilling on U Street, plus touches like murals, anchors and metal chandeliers. She says she was partially inspired by Houston Hall, a pretty awesome beer hall in New York. They've also added some big roll up doors to let in more natural light as well as a big mural wall that can also be used for projecting movies onto.

The bathrooms are very nice and quite large, able to accommodate a lot of people. I definitely appreciate that, it stinks to wait in bar bathroom lines. That should be good for big events too.

I'm pretty excited to check it out. Here are some photos from last week (so still not quite set up.)

1 comment:

  1. I live very close by, and I was surprised to see the fence they put up outside on Georgia Ave that cuts the sidewalk space in half (at least). For such a heavily trafficked sidewalk with pedestrians on foot, bikes, scooters, etc., it's really a nuisance. Not quite as bad as the CVS up the street, but it's close.


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