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What you need to know for 01/16/2017

Pub, beer garden to open at site of former Schenectady brewery

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Pub, beer garden to open at site of former Schenectady brewery

A new pub and beer garden opens Friday evening in downtown Schenectady in a spot that was once home
Pub, beer garden to open at site of former Schenectady brewery
Bob Parkes, general manager of the Centre Street Pub at the corner of Union Street and Broadway in Schenectady is set to open Thursday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

A new pub and beer garden opens Friday evening in downtown Schenectady in a spot that was once home to a brewery and a printing press.

Centre Street Pub is reviving a bit of history at the corner of Union Street and Broadway. Much has been done to the property since the 1800s, when it was a rustic, two-story structure known as the Centre Street Brewery. For a long time, 308 Union St. housed a four-color printing press. For the last decade or so, the drab brick building sat empty between 20 North Tavern and the North Broadway railroad overpass.

“We are trying to preserve a lot of the history of this site, especially with some of the names of our food items,” said General Manager Bob Parkes. “They revolve around GE, Edison, the Stockade, and so on. We’re trying to highlight the historical value of Schenectady.”

The identity of the building’s owners has been kept mum. Property records show the building is owned by Zachen Properties LLC. Rich Piedmont, an attorney for the Niskayuna-based holding company, said the two owners don’t want to reveal themselves because of business concerns. But online minutes from a 2011 meeting of the City Planning Commission cite Michael N. Rochette, of Schenectady, as seeking approval for a restaurant and bar at 308 Union St.

Parkes said he was approached last year by the owners about managing the site, which includes a bar that seats 25, a banquet hall that seats 60, an outdoor patio with its own separate bar, a bocce court, and an outdoor gazebo for live music. The gazebo has its own bar, as well.

“We’re actually going to have four bars eventually,” said Parkes, who explained that once the place gets up and going they’re thinking of adding a bar to the banquet hall.

The Schenectady native was eager to return to his home base after managing Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar in Clifton Park for 21⁄2 years. He hosted a soft opening last weekend for friends and family, and will open today at 5 p.m. with drink specials. And there are lots of drinks, Parkes promised.

“We have a lot of different types of beer,” he said, listing off titles like Ommegang, Magic Hat, Shed Mountain Ale, Founders and more. “We have 16 draft lines and one of the longest bars in Schenectady.”

The new pub has benefited from some aesthetic improvements made to the surrounding area. The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority approved funds for new sidewalks and curbs around the property last year. In May 2012, the board also approved a $60,000 façade grant for the property, and two months later approved an additional $45,000 in the form of a 10-year loan.

Centre Street Pub will open every day at 11 a.m., except for Sunday when it opens at noon.

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