Quarter Barrel Brewery & Pub opened at 103 Main St. earlier this year, but guests were left to wait and wonder what rooftop dining would be like in Hamilton.
That wait is now over.
The appealing amenity debuted this month with views of the Great Miami River and downtown Hamilton.
Brandon Ney, who started Quarter Barrel in Oxford in 2010, said he was approached by Hamilton’s Consortium for Ongoing Reinvestment Efforts (CORE) Fund in December 2016 about rehabilitating the building with the rooftop dining concept “written into it from the get-go.”
“We gladly accepted,” he said. “The roof was going to have be replaced anyway.”
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Construction did not only that, but also renovated the three-story building, incorporating some of the ceiling joists into Quarter Barrel’s downstairs bar. It also added a structure behind it, one with a staff stairwell and an elevator to whisk patrons to the rooftop, which is made of steel and covered in a wooden decking and recycled rubber pavers.
A custom pergola above several picnic tables provides shade from the sun, and a series of Edison-style incandescent light bulbs provides light after sunset. Trees and flowers add a natural element to the ambiance.
Ney said he plans to add a mini-bar to provide beer and wine and a hops-covered trellis to add more greenery to the rooftop’s atmosphere.
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Quarter Barrel’s Hamilton location offers six of its own brews on tap in addition to 10 guest taps, plus a farm-to-table menu created by co-owner and executive chef Patrick Karousis. The pub’s bread is baked by a family friend, and the majority of its meat comes from locally raised beef and poultry at Reserve Run Farm in Hanover Twp.
Cows at the farm dine on not only grass in open pastures, but also the spent grain from Quarter Barrel’s brewing process, Ney said.
“We’re really just funneling what we do back into the community and we want people to understand that what they’re having is a community experience when they have our burgers, steaks or chicken sandwich,” he said.
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The introduction of rooftop dining is “significant and exciting” for Hamilton’s burgeoning dining scene, according to Dan Bates, president and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.
“It really sets the tone for where Hamilton is going with the development not only of the downtown area but with the new Riverfront Plan,” Bates said. “This ties into that and helps to develop that idea of embracing the river as a major attraction to Hamilton, both for recreation and for entertainment, dining outside overlooking the river.”
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Mike Dingeldein, CORE Fund’s executive director, said several of its members were familiar with Quarter Barrel’s Oxford location.
“The style and food seemed like a good fit for Hamilton, so we reached out to them to see if they had interest in a second location in the Hamilton Main Street Business District,”
One of the major factors in CORE’s Main Street plan is getting quality-of-life foot traffic in the corridor, Dingeldein said.
“This is why restaurants are so important to our plan,” he said. “They drive high volume foot traffic to the corridor, so that the retail shops have a whole new volume of visitors. Getting these three goals landed will put Main Street on a path of significant viability for all.”