Last weekend, Covenhoven beer shop and tap room opened in Crown Heights, at 730 Classon Avenue. The tavern offers sixteen tap lines, weighted towards local and regional brewers, in addition to a wide selection of bottles. There’s a backyard and limited menu that owners Bill Pace and Molly Bradford plan to expand in coming months.
As for that name, Pace tells me that Covenhoven was the name of a colonial-era family farm that extended from Park Place up to Atlantic and Grand Avenues. “We found it on an 1874 Brooklyn farm line map,” Pace says. “The map shows the current street layouts with the previous farm-lines and family names superimposed. Choosing the name was also a nod to one of our favorite beer bars, Spuyten Duyvil.”
Covenhoven may no longer refer to a family-run farm, but the bar is no less a familial concern. Pace and Bradford have lived in and owned the building that housing the tavern for almost nine years. The couple were married the year before that, and moved to Crown Heights after being priced out of Park Slope (Bradford) and DUMBO (Pace). With no prior homeowning experience, they purchased the vacant, mixed-use building at 730 Classon that had been badly damaged a few years earlier by a fire in what had been a laundromat downstairs.
For a couple of years, Pace and Bradford ran an art gallery, pluto, out of the storefront, and then sat on it for a few years after closing the gallery in 2008. But after visiting a beer shop upstate, they got “enthusiastic about the idea of opening such a store in our storefront.” That was the germ of the idea that led to Covenhoven. The entire process took over two years, with Pace and Bradford paying for the buildout, refrigerators, tap lines, bar counter, and licenses out of pocket, as they could afford it. “We’re a bit of a mom and pop shop,” Pace says. “We’re doing what we can, as we can.”
In keeping with the location’s (more recent) history as a gallery, Covenhoven will feature the work of local artists. Pace and Bradford have also been working with the Beerded Ladies on periodic beer-centric events at the bar.
Follow Phillip Pantuso on Twitter @phillippantuso