San Leandro has established itself as somewhat of a mecca for craft beer lovers, from its position as the production home of some of the Bay Area’s biggest craft brewers to its pubs, where beer and soccer lovers flock.
The East Bay city is already home to craft brewers like 21st Amendment and Drake’s Brewing Company and to popular brewpubs like The Englander. Now it’s tapping into the beer craze to help boost its downtown development, as two new beer-centric retailers prepare to open in its downtown corridor.
The Cooler, a craft beer taproom, is slated to open in late March at 1517 E. 14 th Street, a spot that has been vacant for roughly six years.
Jeff Botz, who is behind the project along with business partners Eric Keyes and Marin Brewing’s Arne Johnson, said the plan is to offer about 25 to 30 curated beers on tap, as well as wine on tap, some cider, and bottled beers. The focus will be on artisanal small-batch beers, and it will tap local breweries — Drake’s Brewing Company and 21 st Amendment, notably — for product.
The 2,500-square-foot taproom is named after the walk-in bottle cooler that sits behind the bar.
Botz said he and his team had been looking for a spot to open a retail taproom for about two years, and had looked at a space near Drake’s Brewing, in the more industrial part of San Leandro.
But city leaders encouraged him to open in the downtown corridor, where there is more foot traffic, proximity to San Leandro’s BART station and restaurants. Customers of The Cooler will be able to bring their own food to the taproom or order from those nearby eateries.
Also hitting the downtown corridor is beer-centric restaurant, Sons of Liberty Alehouse, which will land at 150 W Juana Avenue at E 14 th Street. That restaurant, also slated to open in the spring, will feature “seasonal dishes” and a list of craft beer, “artisan cocktails” and a wine list.