New Hamilton restaurant will ask voters for Sunday alcohol sales

Fretboard Brewing & Public House has set its grand opening for the general public for Dec. 2, and plans to ask voters in its precinct in March to let it sell beer on Sundays.

When it opens, Fretboard, a second location for the Blue Ash brewery, will be the long-awaited replacement for the former Quarter Barrel Brewery + Pub, which closed Jan. 3 after a year at 103 Main St. Fretboard will offer panoramic rooftop views of the Great Miami River and Hamilton’s downtown.

Hamilton is generally dry for alcohol sales on Sundays, so Fretboard, like other establishments before it, will have to ask voters in March for permission to serve beer that day of the week. Until then, the restaurant part of the operation will not be open because, “Nobody wants to be in a brewpub and not be able to drink,” Scott Schmidt of Looking Glass Hospitality Group, which is partnering with Fretboard Brewing Co. on the establishment, told this media outlet previously.

Hamilton Small Business Development Specialist Mallory Greenham said only the precinct Fretboard is in would vote on the matter.

“There’s actually a bill that’s going through the House that addresses that,” said Hamilton Economic Development Director Jody Gunderson. That legislation, House Bill 219, was created to make Sunday sales part of liquor licenses for businesses that already have them for the other six of the day.

If that bill becomes law, Fretboard’s Hamilton ballot issue would not be necessary, he said.

In the meantime, the eatery and micro-brewery that will serve “upscale pub fare with a twist” hopes to have a soft opening between mid- and late-November, as long as it can obtain its state liquor license to sell beer the other six days of the week, Schmidt said.

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It is difficult to predict how long it will take the state to issue the permit, and the business won’t open until it has one.

Fretboard’s announcement was one of two announcements for new restaurants on Hamilton’s Main Street business corridor. The other was Billy Yanks, which is scheduled to open at 201 Main St. next spring.

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