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August 18, 2010

Biergarten Haus is authentic German, hopelessly Washington

look at the size of these beer mugs! look!

I don't normally discuss Washington bars on Midnight Sun, but thought this one was interesting enough to warrant a mention.

Last weekend, Amie, some friends and I had drinks at Biergarten Haus, the new German spot on H Street in Washington.

Biergarten Haus has upstairs and downstairs bars and a big patio out back with long tables and benches. More on that in a minute.

First, the beer list. Oh my, what a beer list ...

Budweiser, Coors and Guinness are nowhere to be seen amongst the dozen German drafts, thank God. A sampling: Spaten Optimator Doppelbock, Paulaner Hefeweizen, Gaffel Kolsch, Eggenberg Pilsner -- the list goes on. They're available in half-liter and liter portions.

I ordered a one-liter glass mug of Hofbrau Original Lager ($12.72), a medium-bodied golden brew with a touch of hops and honey. We stood at the end of the sizable line to get to the outdoor patio, expecting to wait for a while and sip our beers.

Though the beer list (and the food, from the looks of it) is German all the way, the music was hopelessly Washington. I was prepared for polkas or other old school music. Instead, we got techno. Loud, pumping techno. Yuck.

Fortunately, we had only waited in line for a few minutes when a hostess walked up and told us we could follow her back. I guess our party of four was the smallest one in line.

We sat close to the end of a long bench, near the back of the patio. Biergarten Haus seats strangers at the same table, which was fun -- we chatted up our neighbors until they left about 20 minutes later.

Judging by the number of people in Biergarten Haus last weekend, it's already a hit. Though I can't speak for the food (we didn't have any), I highly recommend it for German beer lovers, or beer geeks in general.


(AP photo)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:46 PM | | Comments (26)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Thanks for reviewing this, I love german beer and didn't realize this place existed. must call dc people and go there tomorrow.

From what I remember from living in germany 10 years ago, it was all techno basically all the time. well and a lot of top 40 hits. but most of the bars were filled with techno music.

Really? That's disappointing. I was hoping they'd be playing American pop music from five years ago, or at least music from this guy:

this could/ should replace

1. Taps
2. ESPN Zone
3. Dick's Last Resort
4. Gameday Warehouse during offseason
5. And for the right amount of money.....

I heard this guy is big in Germany as well..

@Jason -- Ahahahahahaha

I haven't watched "Knight Rider" since I was a kid. Wow, that car looks so much crappier than I remember.

Yeah Germans definitely love their techno, so maybe this place is more German than intended?

Ja Ja Ja!!!

I spent a few Octoberfests in Munich, Germany at the Hofbrau Tent each year. My favorite beer, hope it travels well to D.C.

i remember back in the day going to Baltimore Brewing Company and drinking 2 Degroen beers and feeling great. That place was awesome, too bad it was, at the time, located in the middle of a project.

The best authentic German restaurant in the Baltimore-Washington area is Old Stein Inn in Edgewater. It's a little bit of a drive from Baltimore, but it's worth it. Friday and Saturday feature polka bands, accordion players, Alpine horns (you know, REEE-CO-LA), etc. The food is top notch, the beer list is great, and the outdoor area is beautiful at dusk. I went there for my birthday a few weeks ago and was very impressed.

two related things i am looking forward to:

german beer fest at max's in september

and a visit very soon to blobs park, in joppa, where you're sure never to hear techno and see lots of lederhosen. (they advertise as being the first place in america to celebrate oktoberfest)

I prefer Night Boat - also in German! Double Zink!

Baltimore needs a real German Beer hall!

Correction: Blob's Park is in JESSUP (actually next to Fort Meade), not Joppa.

There's a cover story on German biergartens and beer halls in the current Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, free at your good beer bar or retailer (at least the ones where it hasn't run out--Max's Taphouse is cleaned out....)

The Taps building would make a great German beer hall. Have huge beer steins, and good variety of hard to find beer would make it a destination bar as opposed to a "cheap budweiser" establishment. Plus they could use their small kitchen to cook up sausages, kraut, and whatever else it is that Germans eat. The upper floor could hold polka hall like events on occassion.

Okay, now, someone just go ahead and do that.

Real Germans (tm) would be listening to this in the beer hall:

One of the best times I've ever had in life was at the Hofbrau (sp) House in Cincy. Oompa! (and hi Sam! I'm back to life-ish after having the baby!)

@Volker -- Haha! I love the faces she makes. What the hell were they thinking when they made that? Let's put her on a dinghy and tow her through a dingy city river. Fun!

Also, how could we leave out Gummy Gummy Gummy Bear video? In German, no less:

Aaaah it's going to haunt me for the rest of the day.

@AC-M -- Welcome back! How's the baby? Hope you've been treating yourself to some delicious Rosina Gourmet sandwiches lately.

Baby Boy (Rex) is 4 months old and super fun. It's a whole new world! I did try the new Vino Rosina. Cool space, good wine, but the food: just aiight for me. I prefer their sandwiches.

I LOVE this place. And I can't believe how ordinary it looks from the outside. I went with a friend of mine who's also a big German fan, and we were in heaven. And I love how they do the European-style shared seating—really breaks down the typically D.C. conversation barriers.

Wasn't that impressed by this place and been there a couple of times.

Taps is going through an auction next week.

I just spent a recent evening at the Hofbrauhaus in Pittsburgh. Even though I was in Pittsburgh, I definitely enjoyed myself. The large hall had a fun band playing and had long benches and tables throughout. They didn't care if you stood on the benches and sang along with the band, but I got scolded by security when I did my Clark Griswold Oktoberfest dance impression on top of the table. I was kinda bummed because I didn't even get to the part where I started slapping people.

You had to go the Gummi Bear route.
Have this:

Or this:

For the final insult:
or this:


ZIEHFREUND - I can't see your post, BUT I CAN HEAR IT. Lose the caps and gain credibility. oh yeah, ZIG HEIL!

1. The area should have been the first indication that our experience was going to be bad 2. The food was not good (AT ALL) and made us all sick 3. You are charged for refills on soda 4. I had 3 in my family and went with another family with 4 people. They automatically added a 20% tip and the service and food was terrible. Not only was my meal brought out before everyone elses. But after I was done eating they brought the other meals and forgot one of my children's order. No apology, no nothing. Just the waitress stating that meals don't come out all at once, they come out sparadically. Fortunately I wasn't out too much money for such a bad meal since I purchased a Groupon. I will go to every website possible to warn everyone

First World Problems. Get a life!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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