New Hamilton pub will be ‘upscale’ but with a few ‘twists’

A successful Blue Ash microbrewery and Cincinnati-based restaurant group will reintroduce rooftop dining and drinking to a prominent Main Street location, possibly as soon as mid-November.

The eatery and microbrewery will be called Fretboard Brewing & Public House will offer “upscale pub fare with a twist” made from scratch, and 14 beer taps with all Fretboard beers anda full menu of craft cocktails, Scott Schmidt of Looking Glass Hospitality Group said Thursday.

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The location will be 103 Main St., the former location of Quarter Barrel Brewery + Pub, which on Jan. 3 closed its Hamilton and Oxford operations. Its Main Street facility, which features sweeping views of the Great Miami River and Hamilton’s downtown, had been open about a year.

“The whole thing will be service now. Where Quarter Barrel really didn’t do full-service on the second floor or the rooftop, we will,” Schmidt said. “One-hundred percent of the restaurant menu and the bar menu will be available on all three floors of the building.”

The owners hope to place a ballot issue before voters, requesting they and other bar operations be able to serve alcohol on Sundays.

“Hamilton’s dry on Sundays, so we have to have a special election for a Sunday liquor permit,” he said. “Nobody wants to be in a brewpub and not be able to drink.”

To start, Fretboard will be open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, until a ballot issue passes.

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“We’ll be open 11 a.m. to close,” he said. Closing time “will be dependent upon what the guests tell us — if people want to be in there at 11 at night, we’ll be there. If they want to be out of there by 9, we’ll close at 9.”

All Fretboard beers, like those served at the Blue Ash location, will be available, with special brews that will only be available in Hamilton.

“We will have a full craft cocktail menu, as well as wine list, as we do in our other restaurants,” he said. “It will be upscale twists on classic pub fare. We’ll have a fish-and-chips, but it’ll be awesome fish-and-chips.”

The steak and fries will also be “awesome” with its twists, he said.

Construction already is happening, and Fretboard will be ready to open in mid-November, as long as it has its liquor license from the state by then.

Lauren Gersbach, a business development specialist for the city, said the city and CORE (Consortium for Ongoing Reinvestment Efforts) Fund have been working with the companies since February. Looking Glass has the lease with the Core Fund.

Cosmetic changes are being made to the building, with some redesign to increase seating capacity. On the lower level, a new bar will be built and brewing equipment will be reconfigured so people can look out the buildings at the front of the building.

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