[Photos: Marc Much]
Bruce Finkelman and Craig Golden (Longman & Eagle, Empty Bottle) have completed the first two phases of their reestablishing of historic Thalia Hall, soft opening the first floor restaurant and beer hall (Dusek's Board and Beer) and the basement Punch House last night. Originally modeled after the Prague Opera House (an upstairs concert hall will open down the line), the space incorporates many of the original nineteenth century touches while simultaneously adding twists for the growing neighborhood.
The u-shaped Dusek's angles around a front bar, past two-top booths and a 12-top communal table, into a back dining room, and bookending at an open kitchen with a brick wood-burning oven. Longman chef Jared Wentworth will be here most nights, cooking dishes from his beer-inspired menu.
Many of the original nineteenth century features remain: tin ceilings, crystal chandeliers, a host stand made from old floorboards. Exposed brick walls are now decorated with wood shelves from the concert hall's original green room and filled with bowling pins and other items.
Entering the downstairs Punch House is like entering another world, if that world was someone's grandpa's basement from the 70s but designed by top restaurateurs. A nautical theme permeates the space: stuffed sailfish hanging on wood-paneled walls; a large fish tank behind the bar; a menu filled with beverage director Will Duncan's sailor-inspired punches.
In describing these two different concepts in the same space, Finkelman and Golden use the term "the this and that." It worked for the restaurant and inn at Longman & Eagle, and if the turnout for last night's soft opening is any indication, "the this and that" might work here too.
· All Thalia Hall Coverage [-ECHI-]
· Thalia Hall [Official Site]