Dacha is expanding its Shaw beer garden to also include a three-story beer hall next door. Owners Dmitri Chekaldin and Ilya Alter have signed a lease to take over the building currently occupied by China Express next door. Previously, the owners had planned to build a permanent structure on the existing beer garden lot, but they've since scratched that plan. "The structure we were planning would have been nice, but relatively small. This building allows us to really truly implement some elements of true German beer gardens," Chekaldin says.
The beer garden and the building will be connected with a large opening or door, but Chekaldin says the mural of Elizabeth Taylor will remain intact. Each floor of the building will have its own bar. The first floor will have a small bar that will double as a coffee counter in the mornings. The second floor will be transformed into a "grand beer hall" with long tables. And the top floor will serve bottled beers and small kegs of more exclusive, hard-to find German, Belgian, and American beers—"sort of a connoisseur bar." Chekaldin says they also plans to have at least 150 lockers for regulars to store their beer steins in-house. The outdoor beer garden will remain pretty much the same, but with a slightly longer bar pushed further back. Plus: no more porta potties.
Chekaldin says they hope to begin construction in January and open in June. The outdoor beer garden will open full-time earlier in the spring in its current format. Actually, the owners are considering not closing in December, as they have in the past. Instead, they may stay open on "stand-by" for nice winter days.
In other news, Dacha will be collaborating with Weihenstephan, which claims to be the oldest continuously operating brewery in the world, to brew a beer exclusively for the beer garden. "They don't do this for anybody, so the fact that they're going to do this for us is a big deal, Checkaldin says, who just got back from a visit to the Germany brewery. Checkaldin says the beer will likely be a pale ale, and he hopes to have it always available on tap. It will likely debut next spring.
Photo courtesy Dacha Beer Garden