Drake’s Brewing Co. to run food and drink operations at West Sac’s The Barn

A Bay Area craft beer company has been selected to run the food and drink program at The Barn, a newly unveiled West Sacramento shade structure and public gathering spot.

Drake’s Brewing Co. of San Leandro will operate a beer garden and full-service restaurant at The Barn, which is in The Bridge District of West Sacramento near Raley Field, starting in the spring of 2017.

Before the food and drink operations are up and running, The Barn will offer other entertainment. On Aug. 5, the San Francisco-based events company Off The Grid will begin hosting a series of Friday evening events that include mobile food vendors, family activities and concerts.

Other upcoming events include Sept. 11’s “Dinner on the Barn,” which is sponsored by the Yolo County-based Center for Land-Based Learning. The organization, which promotes the importance of agriculture to young people and runs a series of urban farms in West Sacramento, also will operate two farm sites adjacent to The Barn. Some of the produce grown there will be utilized by the food operation run by Drake’s Brewing Co.

Though West Sacramento is home to a thriving craft beer industry, the development team behind The Barn in part selected Drake’s Brewing Co. because of its longevity in the business and experience in running a food program. The brewery was founded in 1989 and runs an on-site taproom with a kitchen at its San Leandro brewery. The company also operates Drake’s Dealership in Oakland, which offers wood-fired pizza and other foods along with its beer selections.

“They have a long history of operator experience,” said Mark Friedman, president of Fulcrum Property, the developer of The Barn. “They are some of the pioneers of craft brewing in California.”

John Martin, the brewery’s co-owner, said he expects The Barn to focus on wood-fired pizzas and grilled items for much of its menu, which will be developed in the coming months by a company chef. The food operation will include both a full-service restaurant and grab-and-go items that lend themselves to picnicking on the nearby grounds.

The owners of midtown’s LowBrau, who also co-founded the TBD Fest in West Sacramento, initially were tapped to run The Barn’s food operation and beer garden when the project was announced in 2014. According to Friedman, The Barn no longer has an affiliation with TBD Fest. The operating agreement with Drake’s Brewing Co. was completed in recent weeks, Martin said.

Until the beer garden and restaurant open in the spring, The Barn remains fenced off and will only be accessible to the public for special events. Some of The Barn’s amenities have yet to be constructed, including fire pits and picnic areas.

Construction on the 8,000-square-foot pavilion began in March 2015. The project cost $6 million, which included $2.5 million of West Sacramento city funds. Construction challenges led to delays in debuting The Barn, which was originally planned to open in time for the 2014 TBD Fest. To create the building’s unique, curvilinear shape, special tools had to be made.

“It’s more complex than the Golden 1 Center,” said Friedman, referencing the Sacramento Kings’ new arena.

Chris Macias: 916-321-1253, @chris_macias