News / Winnipeg

Old Fort Rouge watering hole to open doors as 'bold' new microbrewery

A new 225-seat restaurant and microbrewery is taking over the old Round Table.

Brazen Hall Kitchen and Brewery head brewer Jeremy Wells (R), director of operations Kris Kopansky (C) and president Kristjan Kristjansson in Winnipeg, Man. Feb. 16, 2016.

Lyle Stafford/For Metro / Metro Order this photo

Brazen Hall Kitchen and Brewery head brewer Jeremy Wells (R), director of operations Kris Kopansky (C) and president Kristjan Kristjansson in Winnipeg, Man. Feb. 16, 2016.

Look up the definition of "brazen," and the first word to pop up is "bold."

That’s what the owners of Brazen Hall Kitchen and Brewery have planned for 800 Pembina Highway when it opens its doors a few weeks from now.

They promise bold and flavourful food. Bold and unique beer brewed on site. Bold new look where the former Round Table used to be.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the new 225-seat restaurant and microbrewery is taking over the former 8,000-square-foot establishment that first made its presence known in 1973 as a favourite place to gather in the Fort Rouge area for drinks and good food, like prime rib. The favourite dish may make a resurgence, or maybe not. That’s still up in the air.

“This is about out with the old and in with the new,” said Brazen Hall President Kristjan Kristjansson, whose family has been part of this spot for 44 years.

“We served our last customers in June of last year, closed up, and then immediately moved on,” he said. “It was time for something new. We hired consultants who told us just as much.”

The isn’t the first restaurant rodeo for Kristjansson and his right-hand man Kris Kopansky. Both have spent years embedded in Winnipeg’s restaurant industry.

However, this particular project has taken on a unique flavour.

Covered in drywall dust, they each speak passionately about the “teamwork” atmosphere that exists.

Brew Master Jeremy Wells has already started fermenting what will be the first sips of their specialty ales. Dave Smith, owner of HRT Construction, is overseeing the project and paying great attention to detail.

Kristjansson and Kopansky can’t say enough about the chemistry between all of those who have dedicated countless sleepless nights turning the dream into reality.

“We have hired all of our staff (about 70 people) who have come in here with energy, enthusiasm, and are ready to provide a food and drink menu we know our customers will love,” said Kopansky.

“We bake our own bread, pickle our own pickles, make our own ketchup, it’s all authentic,” added Kristjansson. “The menu will be diverse so that we can serve everyone whether you are gluten-free or vegetarian.”

And then…there’s the beer.

As brew master, Wells is ready to offer up made-from-scratch ales that will be available on tap the moment the bar opens. Having honed his craft for eight years with Winnipeg’s Half Pints Brewing Co., Wells is excited to watch customers raise his creations to their mouths.

“English, German, certain flavourful IPAs,” Wells said. “It will all be good and pair well with the menu.”

As much as this is about turning a corner, pieces of the formerly beloved Round Table have been integrated everywhere. Kristjansson points to the fireplace, the chandelier that hangs over the lounge area and the wood that surrounds the bar and covers the ceiling.

And then, there’s the new.

“You see this sink?” he beams as he feels the steel grey surface in what will be in one of the restrooms. “It was poured using local sand. It’s so big I could have a bath in it!”

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