Community on Tap at Beer Hall
You might not think twice about what kind of establishments are on Arthur Avenue. After all, the area is one of the largest Little Italys in the country. But tucked away in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market—next to the old-school Italian butcher, pastries and homemade mozzarella at Mike’s Deli—sits The Bronx Beer Hall, a “communal space” for beer lovers and other Bronx community members alike.
To understand The Bronx Beer Hall’s beginnings is to understand Bronx residents’ thirst for places they could call their own. Founded by brothers and Bronx natives Anthony and Paul Ramirez, The Bronx Beer Hall was the final step in their plan to put Bronx food and drink culture on the map. The two brothers founded Mainland Media (“Because the Bronx is the only borough on the Mainland”) as a way to promote the Bronx and all it has to offer to tri-state residents and international tourists.
“We wanted to show the world that the Bronx is as rich in culture as other cities,” says Anthony.
Mainland Media worked with and promoted local and up-and-coming artists. In 2011, the brothers wanted to showcase their Bronx-inspired products along with local brewers, so they hosted a pop-up shop in the Arthur Avenue Market. It was a success, and they “saw a great need and want for a Bronx-focused beer hall.” After securing funding and many fits and starts, the beer hall opened its doors in the Market. The beer hall sells a rotating lineup of New York State–brewed beers and wines, and has a menu that is inspired by and cooked in the Market.
“By sourcing our menu from within the market, we’re forging a relationship within the community,” says Paul.
But The Bronx Beer Hall is more than a showcase for local beer and delicious food. It’s also a community space for Bronx locals and other-borough tourists to gather. “We’re happy that people are interested in the borough,” says Paul. “We want to make sure the interest is going to benefit people and business owners.”
Before The Bronx Beer Hall opened, there weren’t a lot of places for locals to grab a quick drink without going into the city. “Who wants to take a 30-minute train ride when you can just walk down the street to grab a drink?” As more and more locals started to make The Bronx Beer Hall their regular spot, Anthony and Paul began to see more people from Manhattan and international tourists making their way up to the Bronx for local craft beer.
“We’re excited people are interested in the Bronx,” says Anthony “Why haven’t they paid attention to Bronx culture before?”
Beyond the Beer Hall, the brothers have inspired other Bronx natives to pursue their passions as they relate to showcasing Bronx culture. “We’ve met young people who have been inspired by our story and are excited to play more of a role in their communities,” At the end of the day, “we just want a place to make Bronx natives proud.”
editors note: This article appeared in our February/March 2017 issue of Edible Bronx, in the article we mistakenly linked The Bronx Beer Hall's opening to The Bronx Brewery, this was not the case. As it appears above, the Ramirez brother's launched the hall to celebrate the Bronx and to provide a space for the community.