12 Crane

shops copy.jpgPerfect blend of brew, food, & fun

By Lauren Koblara

Southbridge has a new hotspot. The Flatiron District is home to the 12Crane complex, an old supply house that’s been recreated into the ideal night out destination. Inside you’ll find the 12Crane Pastry Studio, the Hop Vine Café, and the Dark Horse Tavern. There’s a live music nightclub called Cannery Hall and Cable Car Cigars, an upscale tobacco shop that will open soon. It’s easy to work up a thirst traveling around the complex. That’s where the Honest Town Brewery comes in.

Brew-master Ben Roesch and the brewery released its first batch of libations in March of this year. The dark malt ale called Padraig’s Irish Red, named after St. Patrick, is a traditional Irish style red ale. Since Padraig’s unveiling, Honest Town has added two other beers to its year ‘round list ~ the Southbridge Ordinary Bitter (affectionately known as the S.O.B) and a blueberry ale. Special selections are in the works, so fans can expect offerings to change with the New England seasons. Getting thirsty yet?

I’ve heard it’s never a good idea to drink on an empty stomach. Grab a glass of Honest Town’s brews at one of the 12Crane restaurants.

The Celtic-themed Hop Vine Café invites customers with views of the Quinebaug River. The café menu offers delicious Celtic dinners Thursday through Saturday, lunch Monday through Saturday, and an amazing brunch on Sunday. There’s space available for functions and parties. Reservations for dinner are recommended.

The Dark Horse Tavern, located downstairs from the Hop Vine Café, is the ideal atmosphere for sampling what Honest Town Brewery has to offer. The intimacy of an old British pub, paired with traditional ales, makes the Dark Horse Tavern a beer lovers’ dream. The menu includes all pub favorites. Compliment your ales with some of the appetizer choices, like the pleasantly surprising Corned Beef Poppas (potato croquets stuffed with corned beef and cabbage), or settle in for the full experience with an entrée. The menu offers such British flare as cottage pie, bangers and mash, and the classic fish and chips. End your night with a chocolate bomb from the dessert tray and your taste buds will be in heaven.

For more information on any of the 12Crane establishments and events, or to view menus for the Hop Vine Café and Dark Horse Tavern, you can log onto www.12Crane.com. You can also make restaurant reservations by calling 508-764-1100.