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The Beer Hall, a Mid-Market Brew Hideaway

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[Photos: Patricia Chang]

Many people dream of quitting their day jobs to own a restaurant or bar, but few actually make the leap. For Andrew and Jennifer Hall, however, the dream has become reality in the form of The Beer Hall, a charming craft-beer tasting room and bottle shop tucked into the new Argenta building just off 10th and Market. They decided to make the change after Andrew endured a layoff from his construction job. "Within our friend group, we're always the ones bringing people together, and Drew is a homebrewer who's passionate about beer," says Jennifer. "It just made sense."

The 39-seat bar (named for the couple's surname, in the vein of Rich Table) is targeting the growing crowd of SOMA tech workers flocking to the Mid-Market area, offering them a place to have a drink after a day at the office. 20 taps of all-California beers comprise the main portion of the bar's offering, with a healthy mix of unusual beers from bigger brewers (Anchor, Bear Republic, Speakeasy, Ommegang), classics from mid-level players (Magnolia, Devil's Canyon), and new brews from upstarts (Pine Street, Almanac).

As if that wasn't enough, Beer Hall also carries two exclusive beers, both based on Andrew Hall's homebrewing recipes: the Speedball Stout, brewed for them by MateVeza, and the TBH ESB, made by new South San Francisco nanobrewery Armstrong. (They're also the first spot to carry an Armstrong beer—it's currently a gose—outside of the brewery's own taproom.) Three draft wines from Paul Dolan and Bieler round out the selection; Jennifer, who's currently expecting, says she'll attempt to add a little more to the selection once she's allowed to taste again.

Architect Gi Paoletti helped the couple create the small and inviting space, with cheerful banquettes, communal tables, and a square bar. A small bottle shop lines one wall, with everything available for consuming in-house with no corkage fee. But Beer Hall's most fascinating architectural feature is its back wall, a collage of more than 14,000 bottle caps that were each hand-filled with colorful paper and resin by artist Leigh Ellison. (The Halls recruited all their friends to save caps in order to get it done.)

While the Beer Hall doesn't have a kitchen, Jennifer says that the couple plans to offer some small plates like cheese, charcuterie, and olives once their prep area is completed. For the rest of this week and possibly next week as well, the bar will be softly open from 6-10 pm (except Sundays); after it's fully open, hours will be Monday-Saturday, 3-10 pm, with a possible expansion to midnight on weekends if there's enough demand.

· Beer Hall to Touch Down in May/June [~ ESF ~]
· The Beer Hall Coming to 1 Polk [~ ESF ~]
· The Beer Hall [Official website]

The Beer Hall

1 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102 415-800-7416 Visit Website

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