German-inspired beer hall coming to 111 Whiskey Row downtown

The Hall on Washington Street will be a long, open German-inspired beer hall. The space is about twice as wide as shown in this photo. | Courtesy of Chip Herchert

The partners behind Sidebar at Whiskey Row are opening a second establishment just about 100 yards away.

Called The Hall on Washington Street, the restaurant, inspired by German beer halls, is expected to open in January 2018.

The Hall on Washington Street is the second announced tenant to move into the multimillion-dollar 111 Whiskey Row development. The 4,700-square-foot space is at 108 W. Washington St., which is the back side of 111 W. Main St.

The spacious lunch and dinner restaurant will seat 240 customers at communal tables and booths. The menu will feature lots of small plates, with international and domestic sausages, charcuterie, cheeses and pickled vegetable, and focus heavily on meats, from beef and lamb to chicken and seafood.

The Hall on Washington Street will stock a dozen rotating draft beers and ciders, as well as another three dozen canned and bottled beers, and a selection of wines and liquor.

“We think one thing Louisville’s restaurant scene lacks is a great communal gathering place like you’ll find most anywhere in Germany,” Chip Herchert, managing member in the venture, said in a news release. “And despite the city’s incredible German history, there’s a surprisingly small number of places to get the types of German standards we want to serve here.”

Herchert told Insider in a phone interview that prices weren’t set yet, but the goal was to keep the menu as affordable as possible.

He also clarified that while the restaurant was inspired by the atmosphere at German beer halls, “we are not trying to go for that authentic side of the German food at all.”

Herchert said he wasn’t sure what the final investment in the space would be but that they hoped to preserve as much of the original look as possible, including the exposed brick, as well as pay homage to the building’s history as the home of a woolen mill that produced Kentucky Jeans and a brined ham maker.

The Hall on Washington Street will employ about 50 people, said Herchert, who added that he didn’t expect finding employees to fill the positions would be a problem.

“It’s difficult to get people,” he said, “but I think one of the draws is when you look at what people make during events.”

And the goal is to turn tables quickly, to cater to people who are on the clock because they are attending events at the nearby KFC Yum! Center. That’s one reason the partners are going with a small plates menu.

Herchert told Insider that he and other partners wanted to open a new concept because of the success they have had at Sidebar, which draws large crowds on event days, and because of the growth they see downtown.

“It’s a great place to be because of the traffic that is down there,” he said, noting that when the Old Forester Distillery opens later this year at 117 W. Main St., it is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. “If we can get 10 percent of those people to stop in, that is an astronomical number.”

The Hall on Washington Street also will likely pull some customers from developer Steve Poe’s dual-branded hotels next door, which are expected to open in spring 2019. Poe’s project also will include a restaurant and bar.

Valle Jones, a partner in the 111 Whiskey Row development, told Insider that she is excited for The Hall on Washington Street to join the development. Along with other projects, it will help revive West Washington Street as a place for people to hang out, grab a drink or food and listen to music, she said.

“When you put all that together, Washington Street is going to be a very fun, vibrant, cool venue of its own,” said Jones, founder of commercial real estate development company Mayin LLC. “Washington Street has a wonderful history of being a venue. …We’ve just gotten disconnected from that history. This is just bringing it back.”

Duluth Trading Co. previously announced that it planned to open a 15,000-square-foot store at 111 Whiskey Row fronting Main Street. The retailer expects to open the store in late 2017.