It’s one thing to take that first satisfying sip of a great beer, but it’s even better to be able to enjoy a tasty brew in a special, relaxing setting. That’s the aim of Lucca Beer Garden, opening soon, offering quality beer, live music, art, food, and fun, all amid downtown Benicia’s charm and great views. Lucca Beer Garden is a new venture of Lucca Bar & Grill, and fills a nearly 3,000 square foot open air lot next to the restaurant’s present location at First and West E streets. Sheltered by Peregrine Landing, the new beer garden is in a prime spot that has both sunny skies and a respite from west winds off the Carquinez Strait.

Native Benician Marty Duvall, who oversees the new operation, said there’s a demand for a good outdoor beer garden in Benicia and Lucca Beer Garden fits the bill. “We anticipate bringing a lot of energy into the neighborhood, and for it to have a real special vibe. We want to create an atmosphere both creative and inviting,” Duvall said. Another goal is to create a spot that is friendly to all concerned, including beer aficionados, neighbors, families and music lovers. The beer garden features a selection of 20 draft beers in a newly installed 40 tap draft system duplicated for both the inside and the outdoor setting. The beer menu has microbrews plus regional, national and international craft beers, and also some old standard beer selections so that no one feels left out. A full bar is also offered, along with wine and pitchers of house-made Sangria. Meanwhile, food is prepared in an outdoor grill area surrounded by picnic tables with wine barrel seats. Duvall stressed that the garden’s outdoor menu is separate from the indoor restaurant.

Music is a vital ingredient. The musical lineup showcases local talent and many musical styles, such as rock, blues, folk, bluegrass, Americana, gypsy jazz, Latin, country and more. Both beer and musical offerings will change regularly to keep everything fresh and in season. Heading up Lucca Beer Garden is owner Jan Lucca and General Manager Sonya Battersby, who teamed up more than 15 years ago when they first operated O’Leary’s Pub in the Tannery Building on First Street. Battersby said she and Lucca decided to take advantage of the empty lot on West E Street and “give Benicia something it doesn’t have.” Duvall is also no stranger to First Street and Benicia restaurants, having been associated with Union Hotel, Nantucket Fish Company and the Commandant’s Residence, plus other ventures. For several years he also owned Duvall’s Coffee Roasting, now closed, in the Tannery Building. Of Lucca Beer and Garden, Duvall said, “This will make a mark on the downtown.”

Lucca Beer and Garden is open Wednesday through Sunday and available by reservation for private events on Monday, Tuesday and on selected occasions. For more details go to or