Story at a glance:

  • Goose Island brings life to another old building on the historic Morton Salt site in a formerly industrial area of Chicago.
  • Chicago-based architecture firm AltusWorks, known for their work in preservation and adaptive reuse, designed the project, working alongside contractor Blue Star Properties and Goose Island.

What used to be a garage outside of the old Morton Salt Shed in a previously industrial area of Chicago is now open to beer and music lovers alike outside the popular riverfront music venue.

Similar to the 3,600-capacity indoor performance hall in the main historic building next door, this smaller building long sat vacant when the historic Morton Salt Company Warehouse Complex (circa 1929) closed.

“I’m assuming for quite a while it was used as a repair shop for their vehicles and their machinery. Then it was all walled in and beat up and left for dead,” says Craig Golden, founder of Blue Star Properties, the contractor on this and all projects at the Salt Shed site. Now it’s home to the Salt Shed Pub, a new Goose Island brewpub opened in May 2024, complete with a skyline-backed riverfront patio. Inside, sunlight pours through new skylights as patrons enjoy a rotating selection of Goose Island brews and great eats. Woman-owned, Chicago-based architecture firm AltusWorks, known for their work in preservation and adaptive reuse, designed the project.


The Salt Shed Pub is a special beer and culinary experience on the river in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Goose Island Beer Co.

“The most sustainable building is one that you reuse, one that doesn’t get torn down, so that already was a big start,” Golden says. The team was able to reuse virtually everything that remained at the site—from the old fire doors to the bow barrel truss roof. “We restored that and repaired the truss. They used the existing footprint, so it worked out really well. It was a nice way to reestablish that building on a new path.”

It’s the first business on the site that will be open seven days a week, which excites Golden, who wants the area to continue to be a place where people gather—music or not. Golden wants the whole community to enjoy the property. “Food shows, art shows, anything that engages the community more—that’s who we are,” he says. “That’s what keeps people coming back, too. Post-pandemic we’re all looking for things that are real. And we want to get back to doing what we love and taking care of each other.” The Salt Shed Pub is open to patrons of drinking age regardless of whether they have a ticket to a Salt Shed show.


Photo courtesy of Goose Island Beer Co.

“Music has always played a huge role in the identity of Goose Island, from our 312 Block Party to partnerships with music festivals and more. So to be able to move our home brewpub next to a space that’s not only one of Chicago’s most-talked about new music venues but also a refurbed historical landmark site is an exciting way to further cement ourselves as Chicago’s beer and be a part of the city’s next chapter,” says T.J. Annerino, senior director of marketing at Goose Island Beer Co.


Sunlight pours through a new skylight at this old building, transformed for Goose Island, on the historic Morton Salt site in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Goose Island Beer Co.

Goose Island opened its first brewpub on Clybourn Avenue in Chicago in 1988. Open for 35 years until December 2023, the Clybourn brewpub was the birthplace of the now beloved brews. “Goose is a company we worked with for many years in the past in our music venues, so we were very excited that they wanted to move their operation there,” Golden says.

Golden is also the cofounder of hospitality group 16 on Center, known for its work in restoring and running music venues like Thalia Hall and the Promontory in Chicago and, now, The Salt Shed. Most recently they also welcomed Reverb to the Salt Shed site. The store for new and used musical equipment announced plans to take much of the second floor of the main building for offices. Another beverage outfit, likely in the property’s original boiler room, may also be on the horizon. “The goal is to have things going on all the time,” Golden says.