Brewery with outdoor beer garden pitched for Hamden

HAMDEN — The town could get a two-story, 438-seat brewery and restaurant similar to Milford’s Dockside Brewery with a private party room and an outdoor beer garden as soon as next October.

It was an idea pitched at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting this week by restaurateurs of the Milford spot.

“Whitney Brewery” would be located at 2323 Whitney Ave, replacing already-shuttered, long-standing Mickey’s Restaurant and Bar and other retail spaces.

According to the site plan, the project would include an 8,058-square-foot restaurant and 3,965-square-foot brewery.

But the highlight of the project would be an outdoor beer garden on the existing lawn, which faces a bus stop on Dixwell Avenue, said Sam Gardner, the project’s architect. 

He said the garden would include a seating area, benches, a fire pit and a gaming area featuring cornhole and pingpong table. The garden would be fenced 3 feet high, but remain connected to a pedestrian walkway and rear parking area.

The first floor of the proposed Whitney Brewery.

The first floor of the proposed Whitney Brewery.

Hamden Planning and Zoning Commission

The first floor of the restaurant would seat up to 278 people in the regular dining area, tap room, lounge and beer garden. The private party room and rooftop terrace would seat up to 160 people.

“The developers of the restaurant and the brewery are very excited about the Whitney center location and look forward to bringing this great asset to help rejuvenate the center of Hamden,” Gardner said.

Kevin Fitzsimmons, general manager of Milford’s Dockside Brewery, said the group aims to open a brewery in Hamden to make downtown Hamden more vibrant like Milford. Fitzsimmons used to be a manager at Eli’s On Whitney and a student at Quinnipiac University.

He said he hoped Whitney Brewery will be “the destination” for people in the area.

Dockside Brewery, located on the banks of the Housatonic River in Milford, opened its door in April 2020. Despite being unable to allow people to enjoy amenities due to COVID-19 restrictions, the brewery experienced an unparalleled success through curbside pickups.

The Hamden project received strong support from the commissioners, winning site plan approval and advancing to a public hearing.