Dacha Beer Garden is becoming more of a general drinking garden this season. The Shaw hot spot reopens tomorrow with an expanded wine list, thanks to the appointment of "wine concierge" Miriam "Raz" Razavi, and more cocktails courtesy bartender Julia Hurst, formerly of The Passenger.
The beer garden also has a new chef: Quinten Frye, who previously worked at Big Bear Cafe and mastermined a gourmet tortas delivery service called Cocina Tortas. Frye's menu includes fried pickles, a bucket of mussels, a variety of brats, and a chicken schnitzel sandwich. For groups, there's a charcuterie board and sausage board as well as a monster pretzel that serves three to four people. (See full menu below.)
Frye will also change-up some of Dacha's market offerings. He's even looking to implement some kind of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription for produce and other groceries.
Beer lovers, of course, are not forgotten. Atlas Brew Works is being added to the lineup, including its limited edition Belgian strong ale aged in red wine barrels called Town & Country. The beer will debut on March 9 as part of the new Dacha Beer Club, which will meet every Wednesday for new or rare releases. The beer club is also a rewards program where members earn prizes like free appetizers or brewery tours.
Dacha Beer Garden is also looking to leave behind the drama this season. After battling with neighbors and agreeing to pay a $42,500 fine to the city for operating over capacity, the beer garden appears to have come to a peaceful resolution. Dacha was permitted to increase its outdoor capacity to 250 (up from 126) and has introduced a number of sound-proofing measures, including window panes that now surround the property. More sound-proofing panels are also on their way.
"We would like to focus on business. We don't want to spend time fighting anything," co-owner Dmitri Chekaldin says.
For its adjoining indoor space, Dacha is beginning to work with an architect to develop plans for its second and third floor restaurant and bar, including a tasting room for rarer beers and ciders. Chekaldin says it likely won't open until later this year.
Meanwhile, Chekaldin and co-owner Ilya Alter continue to scout locations for a second beer garden.
"We get approached almost every week," Chekaldin says. But so far, nothing has stuck. "We need to really think about the right place."
Photo by Darrow Montgomery