GR’s Harmony Hall to add Bridge Street beer garden

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Harmony Brewing Company is bringing another beer garden to Grand Rapids’ bustling Bridge Street corridor.

Thursday, the Grand Rapids Planning Commission approve the microbrewery and restaurant’s plan to transform a portion of its parking lot on Bridge Street and Stocking Avenue NW into a landscaped space for outdoor dining.

In documents submitted to the planning commission, the owners said they want the garden that “matches the vibe” of Harmony Hall’s interior, with the same order at the bar concept as the indoor restaurant. A conceptual rendering of the beer garden shows a small bar with some beer taps, a space for lawn games, a slatted wood border with planters, pergola structures to help manage summer sun and a wood wall that’ll showcase a mural.

“It is the thing you want people to talk about. It’s about, you know we’re about, we’re in the Instagram age now so we have to create those things that people want to take photos of, send it out, ‘Hey I’m at Harmony Hall, isn’t this great?’ And that’s what creates a good community,” said Greg Metz from Lott3Metz Architecture, which designed the space.

Harmony Hall would lose about 14 vehicle parking spaces with the expansion, but the business doesn’t expect it to significantly add to Bridge Street’s parking challenges because the plans add about 20 bicycle parking spots, public transit is nearby, and so is on-street parking.

“Personally, this place has more parking than just about any place in this whole area, so I’m like ‘It’s still great!’ It’s still a positive. And the owners don’t think it’s going to impact them negatively. Actually, they think the outdoor space is going to be a better draw than the lack of parking. And there’s a lot of parking to the west. I mean, it’s easy to park to the west and you can walk a block or two. And it, frankly we’re hoping to create a space that’s worth it. That people will want to walk a block or two,” Metz said.

“Being able to add this beer garden is really helpful for us as we kind of claw our way out from the pandemic. Any way that we can add revenue obviously is really helpful for us and we’ve learned how important it is to have the option for indoor and outdoor seating,” said Heather Van Dyke-Titus, who owns Harmony Brewing Company along with her two brothers.

Van Dyke-Titus says the West Grand Neighborhood Organization and Stockbridge Business Association support the development.

“It’ll be good for us and it’ll be good for the neighborhood, too. It’ll add to the vibrancy of Bridge Street as a shopping and restaurant and nightlife district,” Van Dyke-Titus said.

(A rendering provided to the Grand Rapids Planning Commission gives a bird’s-eye look at Harmony Hall’s proposed beer garden.)

When complete, Harmony Hall’s beer garden is expected to be open until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 12 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.