At OMB at The Bowl, guests will experience their brews in appropriate glassware, as each beer will be served in a glass meant to enhance the drinking experience.

Cheers to Ballantyne!

Olde Mecklenburg Brewery to anchor The Bowl at Ballantyne

By Michael J. Solender | Photos by Shrimp & Grisettes

Twelve years ago, when Olde Mecklenburg Brewery launched, it helped spawn Charlotte’s burgeoning craft-brew movement. Now, the microbrewery’s German-style altbiers, helles lagers and hefeweizens are coming to Ballantyne.

Charlotte’s oldest craft brewer, OMB recently announced its expansion to The Bowl at Ballantyne, a new dining, entertainment and shopping district poised to open in early 2024 behind The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte, on the former golf course.

OMB will anchor The Bowl. It will host 14,000 square feet of indoor space, a patio dining area spanning 7,000 square feet and a mezzanine balcony. Guests will enjoy a nearly one-acre biergarten, complete with a playground and kid zone.

John Marrino

The brewery’s founder, John Marrino, dreamed of establishing a beer culture in Charlotte with access to refreshing German-style beers. He started OMB in 2009 in what is today called the LoSo (Lower South End) neighborhood. As the saying goes, timing is everything, and it wasn’t long before Marrino saw his dream grow well beyond initial expectations. A few years after launch, he expanded the brewery, moved it less than a mile away and established the biergarten the city has come to embrace.

“I love the German beer culture,” says Marrino, who lived and worked in Germany in the early ‘90s and frequently returns. “The whole point of a biergarten is to exist as a community gathering place. I like to say [the biergarten] is really a public park, but it’s the best public park, because it … serves beer and food. Beer is the social glue that fosters fellowship.”

Capitalizing on the growing demand for craft beer, Marrino re-created the friendly neighborhood feel of the biergartens he experienced in Germany. The biergarten was an instant hit. “We got crushed,” recalls Marrino. “It was very busy; we learned a lot and took what we learned to make enhancements.”