Plans Revealed for Crossbar Der Biergarten on Cross St.

| April 4, 2013 | 5 Comments

Baltimore could be getting its first authentic German biergarten as the restaurant group behind Ryleigh’s is looking to open Crossbar Der Biergarten at 12-18 E. Cross St. in Federal Hill. They revealed their plans at a meeting with the community Wednesday night at a filled-to-capacity room at the Federal Hill Main Street building. The biergarten would replace the former home of Turners/Billabong, which has a liquor license registered to 12-14 E Cross St., and they are hoping to extend it to 16 and 18 E. Cross St., the former home of Lanasa Produce.

Though the bar will extend into two additional properties, the addition of larger bathrooms and a $100,000 kitchen will only increase the patron square footage by about 1,000 square feet more than Turners. The biergarten will feature many green and historical architectural elements and will have permanent picnic table-style seating, which is authentic to a German bar. The restaurant will be fully enclosed on all sides and it is anticipated that it could hold up to 250-300 people. The trash will be kept inside the building in a trash room and they are looking into getting a trash compactor.

“Just like Ryleigh’s where 47% of our income is from food, this will be a food-extensive establishment.  We will be serving fresh foods daily from the local area,” said owner Brian McComas.  The menu at Crossbar will feature homemade soft pretzels, sausages, bratwurst and other German favorites.  Beers will range in price from about $6-$8.

“If you go around the country in places like New York City, San Francisco and Philadelphia, you will find great German biergartens in neighborhoods just like Federal Hill. We take a lot of pride in Ryleigh’s and will do the same at Crossbar.  If Crossbar has a negative impact, it will affect us at Ryleigh’s as well,” said McComas.

Many attendees at the meeting were concerned that another “mega bar” would be coming to Federal Hill.  A resident in the crowd asked, “When is it too much hospitality?”  This question, referring to how Federal Hill has become a bar district instead of a district for restaurants and retail, received a large ovation. Concerns were also voiced about the growing parking problems in the area.

There is an upcoming hearing with the Baltimore City Liquor Board to expand the liquor license into 16 and 18 E. Cross St. No zoning variances are needed for the project.

The biergarten lies within the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association (FHNA) and they will take a vote on whether to support the project during meetings in the upcoming months.

McComas hopes to open Crossbar by September 21st in time for Oktoberfest.

Update, 6/19:  FHNA is protesting the expansion and a hearing has been set for 6/27 at the Baltimore Liquor Board.  Crossbar has started a petition for support that can be signed at Ryleigh’s Oyster.

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Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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  • morethemerrier

    I don’t remember Turner’s being able to hold 150-200 people;)

  • Amy Mutch

    SBNA will be taking questions from the membership regarding the expansion of the liquor license at 12, 14, 16, 18 E. Cross Street on April 16th. Brian McComas declined to attend our April meeting. Brian requested SBNA members questions be submitted to him along with Fed Hill Neighborhood Association and Federal Hill South NA. A vote at the April meeting will be premature as this will be the first time most residents are hearing of the project. The SBNA board is not in a position to answer questions for the developer/owner. Hopefully, we will have the responses from Brian or his attendance at our May meeting.

  • BRMead

    I absolutely love this idea. I live around the corner, and have been in the neighborhood for almost ten years, and would gladly welcome something like this. I’ve been to places similar in NYC and Chicago, and the food really was great. Knowing the quality of food coming out of Ryleighs kitchen, I am sure they can live up to expectations.

  • PD

    I will forever be disturbed that a man, if he can even be compared to a man: Brian McComas: is still able to be active in the FHHA (and the President), active in the ‘community’ at all, and actually have friends and peers from the bars, and still be active in business – in ANY business for that matter. FH is pathetic, and anyone who even helps or assists this guy, this proven liar, cheater, felon, and thief, to continue to do business here, and continue to make money in this neighborhood, your neighborhood, while he drives home to his 10000+ sq. ft. home in the county, however the hell he’s doing it. WELL, you are all at fault. I learned the hard way. The hard way by being a good friend. Lost my life’s work and all of my financial savings over 12 years, just by being in FH, and having the misfortune of being a neighbor. Do the right thing, put and end to this nonsense already. Throwing on a Polo dress shirt, pressed khakis, and having connections with the Mayor – does not make a man. Not an honest business man, honest friend, or even someone you would feel comfortable leaving your children with. At some point the silver spoon needs to be removed, or choked on..