Now Open: Granite City at Circle Centre

A downtown newcomer opens its doors with a VIP dinner.

We got an early peek at Granite City Brewing Company‘s new Circle Centre location at its soft opening last Monday, as we dined on a buffet laid out with favorites like spinach-artichoke dip, Asian chicken salad, barbecued ribs, and marinated fish.

The food at Granite City, from the linguine to the thin-crust pizza, doesn’t stray from the same chain menu that has hooked diners at the northside location. But we were most interested in taking in the decor of the space, completely gutted and renovated since its previous incarnation as a Bella Vita.

The bar was royal—the high ceilings made for a backlit wall of bottles, transforming the bartenders into mysterious silhouettes as they poured drinks for guests. Wooden ceiling beams and walls stacked with dark grey stone added a rustic feel, creating the atmosphere of an upscale cabin resort in the mountains.

Having a brewery in house only contributed to the character of the restaurant. The huge, glass-encased tanks of the signature beer was a unique piece of decor that also served as a subtle reminder to try a pint. Seating was solely dark leather booths, and thanks to the enormous, circular, light fixtures sprinkled throughout the space, the entire restaurant embodied a cozy warm glow that welcomed unhurried after-dinner wine drinking.