Larger and lager: Coney Island Brewery opens giant new taproom

Two bartenders stand behind one of the brewery's two new bars.
Employees Katie O'Donald and Michael Cassavella stand behind one of two new bars at the Coney Island Brewery.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

It is no longer pint-sized!

The Coney Island Brewery finally opened its vastly expanded taproom last week. The opening came about six months after it was originally planned, but the lengthy approvals process was worth it for the fantastic final result, said the spot’s head brewer.

“Some of it was hair-pullingly frustrating, but we’re really excited to have it finished,” said Matt McCall.

The brewery, located at the base of MCU Park baseball stadium, has taken over the next-door space formerly occupied by the bar Steeplechase, quadrupling its size. The original nano-location could only hold 50 customers — and that was a tight fit, said McCall. The new space can hold 270 inside, plus plenty more outside during good weather.

The renovated space has two bars, with 12 taps at one and 10 at the other. There are plenty of tables for seating, a drinking rail that stretches along the walls, multiple televisions, and still enough empty space for a game of cornhole set up in the back.

A giant mural against one wall makes for a great photo op, and a second bar is ready for thirsty customers.

Photo by Caroline Ourso

Most importantly, said McCall, the expanded space has both men and women’s restrooms, instead of the single toilet it had before, which could get a lengthy line during special events.

The seaside beer barons have not expanded their brewing capacity to match the seating, but the extra space will allow for a more extensive barrel-aging program, said McCall.

The brewery still has some unfinished business — a full kitchen should be ready by the end of the winter, and it plans to have a dedicated space for live music.

Winter is the slowest time of the year in Coney Island, noted McCall, but that will give the brewery a chance to work out the kinks before the summer crowds arrive. And once everything is in place, he thinks that customers will find the bar, even during cold weather.

“I think people will come,” said McCall. “We offer something that no one else in the neighborhood has.”

Visit the Coney Island Brewery [1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island, (718) 996–0019, www.coneyislandbeer.com]. Open Sun-Thu; noon–10 p.m.; Fri, Sat, noon–midnight.

The window at left will lead to a food kitchen, and the barrels hold aging beers.

Courtesy Coney Island Brewery

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