Hoffman Estates breathing new life into shuttered beer garden
Hoffman Estates officials are planning to continue and expand upon the dining, drinking and entertainment opportunities demonstrated by a seasonal German beer garden that operated on the Village Green just outside the Sears Centre Arena for the past four years.
The owners of Das Bier Garden did not renew their lease for 2019. But the village board's finance committee Monday directed staff to negotiate an amendment to their agreement with the management of the village-owned Sears Centre to allow it to manage the outdoor venue as well.
Ben Gibbs, general manager of the arena and an employee of Spectra Venue Management, said he's contacted nearly 30 bands already about the possibility of performing at the reworked venue, which has the working title of Hideaway Brew Garden & Bar.
Among the differences from the past four years will be a change of seating, a more diverse menu and construction of a smaller stage in the brew garden itself, he added.
Even last summer, while the beer garden was still being operated by a private vendor, Spectra sponsored several events on the Village Green including concerts and movie nights.
The proposed new arrangement would see Spectra programming the entire venue starting in early April, while Levy Food Service would operate the brew garden on behalf of Spectra and the village.
"I think there's nothing comparable anywhere near here," Gibbs said. "I think the space will look so unique that we'll get a lot of visitors."
The initial plan is to operate the venue from 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays during the warmer weather months. Mondays and Tuesdays are being excluded for now based on an observation of slower business on those days last year, but that could quickly change if there's demand, Gibbs said.