West End Hall
On any given summer day last year, people packed the recently opened West End Hall, filling the oasis-like backyard and sidewalk cafe at Broadway and 106th St. In owner Karim El Sherif’s words, on days like these at the Bloomingdale beer garden,
“the outside becomes the inside, the inside becomes the outside, and the energy is unbelievable.”
El Sherif brings more than 25 years of experience in the New York restaurant business to Bloomingdale. After managing 4-star restaurants and French bistros and brasseries for celebrity chefs such as Eric Ripert and Daniel Bouloud, he has gone on to open three restaurants of his own.
A joint venture between KES Hospitality & The Lure Group, West End Hall represents El Sherif’s most casual vision yet and his first endeavor on the Upper West Side. The beer hall incorporates great execution of food and quality service but is also welcoming to families, groups, and individuals and provides value to customers. The bar has 20 craft beers on tap and 50 bottled & canned varieties from all over the world, and the list is constantly rotating. For those less beer-inclined, the bar also serves wine and cocktails. El Sherif has recruited a well-known 3-star chef to develop an eclectic menu of high-end bar food, including International Sausages, Maine Mussels, and their famous Truffle Burger. On game days, the beer hall offers specials on buckets of beer and wings, and on the weekend, brunch is served after 11am.
Behind the bar hangs a panel of dials and gauges that look straight out of a mad scientist’s lab. This “flux capacitor” allows the bartenders to maintain the optimum pressure and carbon dioxide to nitrogen ratio for each beer, based on the precise measurements given by each brewery’s brewmaster. By recommendation of the bartender, we sampled the Flying Dog Bloodline on Nitro, and the effect of the higher nitrogen levels was clear. The beer had smaller bubbles and a smoother, creamier texture similar to Guinness. West End Hall is one of only four bars in the U.S. with one of these gadgets. El Sherif holds tastings for the staff each week and invites breweries to the restaurant to ensure that his bartenders and waitstaff are knowledgeable.
As a testament to his commitment and creativity, El Sherif also played a large role in the design of West End Hall. He wanted to achieve a “warm but unique” aesthetic, featuring reclaimed wood from Upstate New York and lush greenery cloaking the backyard patio. He has replaced the entire infrastructure of the space (new plumbing, electrical, and HVAC) and added insulation to the ceiling and sound-deadening curtains to the outside area in order to be a good neighbor to nearby residents.
In choosing a name, El Sherif says that he was torn between using the name of an old New York brewery or referencing the neighborhood. Ultimately, he chose West End Hall due to the restaurant’s location at the intersection of West End Ave and Broadway. In regards to the Bloomingdale neighborhood, El Sherif says that he sees the area as “transitional” and diverse, with different “dynamics” on each block and a multi-generational population.
“Beer halls are fun and democratic… They promote socializing.”
Next time you’re looking to try a new brew or grab a bite to eat with friends, check out West End Hall right here in Bloomingdale. The beer hall features live music every Tuesday night at 8pm and trivia nights on Wednesdays at 8pm.
West End Hall
2756 Broadway (105th-106th)
130 seats inside/ 40 sidewalk cafe/ 100 backyard
Weekend Brunch, Weekday Happy Hour 4-7pm, Game Day Specials, Live Music & Trivia
feature by: Emily Edwards