Let us present to you the newest must-visit craft beer destination. Alcove by MadTree Brewing opened in Cincinnati this week, and it’s an absolute stunner. Located at 1410 Vine Street in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine (OTR) district, Alcove is a bar and restaurant that is warm, inviting and casual and will feature MadTree beers and house-made cocktails, sustainably-sourced wines and a range of seasonal farm-to-table offerings from chef Stephen Williams of Covington’s Bouquet and Spoon: Kitchen and Market. Alcove, developed in partnership with building owner 3CDC, will be open for dinner seven days a week with lunch/brunch available Friday through Sunday. Yum.
Alcove’s main space features a large bar, lounge seating, dining areas and two intimate private dining rooms for small groups. Connected by expansive windows that run the length of the building, the main space opens to one of the city center’s rare outdoor spaces. Under the canopy of four mature elm trees, Alcove’s outdoor patio offers shade and space for lounging and dining. It connects to a lively greenhouse bar filled with vibrant plants and two plant chandeliers. Herbs growing in this greenhouse will be used in house-made cocktails.
Alcove was concepted to be a “nook of nature in the heart of the city” and because so, MadTree turned to Urban Blooms, who previously helped with their Oakley taproom, to bring to life MadTree’s vision. Urban Blooms created a living wall that runs nearly the length of the building, creating a lush environment that complements the 149 year old building’s architecture. They also designed three living chandeliers, a moss wall and a swinging living wall that is used to create privacy in one of the dining spaces.
The space was designed to embrace the building’s historic architecture while introducing environmentally efficient features. It is currently pending LEED Gold Certification — the second highest tier possible. It will be the only LEED Gold Certified bar or restaurant in downtown Cincinnati.
“We are incredibly proud of Alcove — it’s a more nuanced and elevated side of MadTree that we are excited to share with our community”, said Co-founder Brady Duncan. “Every detail of the concept – from the space, the beverages, the food, to the abundance of plants – is very intentional to showcasing who we are and to provide a variety of experiences for guests. Whether people come in to enjoy a sit-down dinner, or to pop in for a drink before heading to another OTR spot, we hope everyone feels the warmth that we worked so hard to create.”
Planning for the $8.4 million project started in 2019 and was developed collaboratively with 3CDC. The project utilized a diverse capital stack, featuring New Markets Tax Credits via Cincinnati Development Fund and Fifth Third Bank, Federal Historic Tax Credits via Fifth Third Bank, a traditional loan through Commonwealth Bank and Trust and additional funding from Cincinnati Equity Fund II.
Stephen Williams, owner of Covington’s Bouquet and Spoon Market, led the concept development for food. Brandon Lomax, who trained at Cincinnati State’s MidWest Culinary Institute and worked with Williams for nearly a decade, is Executive Chef at Alcove and created the menu. Together they have created a shareable menu with hyper-fresh, locally-sourced ingredients that enables guests to grab a drink and bite or stay for a full meal.
Alcove’s design process was led by architecture firm Drawing Department, Oswald was the contractor, John Hinger of Quince & Quinn helped with interior design, and branding was developed by MadTree’s in-house marketing team.
“3CDC recognizes the immense history in this building, including its time as Wielert’s Café and we’re thrilled to be carrying on that tradition with the introduction of Alcove by MadTree,” Katie Westbrook, Development Director for 3CDC, said.
History of The Building
Located at 1410 Vine Street, the building is in the heart of Cincinnati’s historic Over-The-Rhine district. Throughout the project, many local historians reached out to MadTree to share stories, pictures and old newspaper articles about the nearly 150 year old building. Originally built in 1873 by Henry Wielert, the building was once one of the city’s largest German beer gardens, which included an expansive canvas tent that comprised what is also the parking lot behind the building. Carol Trosset, great-great granddaughter of Henry Wielert, sat down with several people from MadTree to share family pictures, stories and historical artifacts and said she is “excited to see the building come back to life as a place where people connect over a great beer.”
The house band that played at Wielert’s went on to become the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; George “Boss” Cox was in city politics during the late 1800s/early 1900s and was known to operate out of Wielert’s Cafe — legend says that he and others conceived the World Series there. BIllboard Magazine, started in Cincinnati in 1894, was allegedly concepted on a napkin at Wielert’s.
Alcove’s Loft — one of the two private event spaces located at 1400 Vine Street — once was the Yokum Athletic Club and is where Ezzard Charles, the Cincinnati Cobra and World Heavyweight Champion, trained as a boxer.
MadTree will honor the history of the building with a house beer — a golden lager — named 1873. There is a gallery wall featuring old images shared from the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library, the Reds Hall of Fame, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Carol Trosset.
MadTree Brewing has been a member of 1% for the Planet for several years, committing 1% of sales to environmental non-profits through volunteerism and monetary donations — every employee is paid to volunteer each year.
These commitments will continue at Alcove and include a special feature developed in partnership with one of the non-profit organizations MadTree supports. Rothenberg Rooftop Garden, a learning garden for students at the Rothenberg Preparatory Academy on East Clifton in Over The Rhine, worked with MadTree employees to build a pollinator garden outside the greenhouse bar at Alcove. The 700 square foot garden brings daily awareness to sustainability, supplies food for native bees and pollinators, and beautifies the area by bringing a little nook of nature to the urban core. MadTree and Rothenberg Rooftop Garden have been in partnership for a little over a year and have worked on other projects together at the school’s gardens.
Rothenberg Rooftop Garden isn’t the only non-profit MadTree has partnered with in the area. Last year, the brewery closed for an all-employee volunteer effort of planting trees and removing invasive species at Inwood Park in Mt Auburn; in 2019 MadTree employees planted over 100 trees at Laurel Park in the West End, a park that will soon feature a 13 foot bronze statue commemorating Ezzard Charles. Both projects were in partnership with Cincinnati Parks Foundation. Collectively since the company started, MadTree’s efforts have planted nearly 7500 trees.
MadTree is working to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all guests and staff. MadTree worked with the local Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) to help identify second chance candidates that could be a fit for the staffing needs at Alcove. They also partnered with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics to provide training for all Alcove staff so they can create great experiences for people with developmental disabilities and their families. Alcove is the first restaurant to participate in such an initiative and hopes to be a leader across Cincinnati.
Alcove is a unique bar and restaurant with house-made cocktails and shareable local bites. It is a nook of nature in the heart of the city that opens March 8 at 4pm and will offer reservations via phone, the company’s website and OpenTable. Online ordering for takeout will be offered at a later date. Parking is available in the surface lot adjacent to the building.
There are two private event spaces — The Loft, which accommodates 150 people and features the 15 foot living chandelier; the Gathering Room, which features Urban Blooms’ moss wall, accommodates 60 people. Reservations for the spaces are now being accepted. For more information call 513.371.5700 or [email protected]