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Taps: 12 / Bottles: 6
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1355 H St NE
District of Columbia
phone: (301) 775-4710
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District of Columbia
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
The bad: BierGarten Haus opened to a World Cup crush they weren't ready for on the first weekend...
The GOOD: they're improving/sorting things out very quickly: I've been twice in the first two weeks, And things are looking up already:
Atmosphere: This is the closest you're going to get to a German beer garden without getting on a plane. A nice stained wood interior with German signage and steins for decoration make it feel like a cozy Bräustüberl. The rear outdoor area has nicely finished, rustic styled wooden tables and benches. Plantings and large authentic German umbrellas add to the Biergarten vibe. Outdoor seating is communal, particularly as the place fills up. I've met cool/friendly new people both times I was there. Don't be afraid to join a table if the place gets crowded.
Quality: Tap beer was fresh, and the selection was deep. Early problems with over-gassed taps appear to have been solved. Everything was pouring freely last time I was there (17 June '10). Disappointingly, the glassware isn't traditional German style, and doesn't have fill lines. But the glass mugs are decent enough (.5L & 1L), and I didn't get any noticeably short pours. The bartenders are paying attention.
Service: Service was friendly and competent, but they're still getting things sorted out. During an after work gathering the service started fine, as the night wore on, the place got packed, and the service slowed - to me that's understandable. They have full restaurant service even in the biergarten area. They are set-up with a biergarten style counter - but still use servers? They would probably do well to make the outside self-service, and reserve the interior for people who want meals. As-is servers are spread thin when the crowds hit. They sort of split the difference between Restaurant & Biergarten; so if you go in expecting one or the other it can seem 'off' even when everything is fine objectively.
Selection: I didn't try any bottles. They had on tap (IIRC): Paulaner, Weihenstephan, & Franziskaner Hefeweizens, Paulaner and Spaten Lagers, and Kostrizter Schwartzbier. Also had Celebrator, Optimator, & Aventinus DoppleBocks and Gaffel Kolsch. THis was the at the downstairs bar - I don't know if the selection was different upstairs. Seriously, how many places are you going to find with 3 dopplebocks on tap? That said, I'd have gladly traded one for an Alt.
Food: They have Laugen Brotchen (soft pretzel rolls) served warm with mustard & cheese. Get them. Charcuterie plate was OK, but nothing too exotic. I haven't eaten a full meal there but what I saw being served (mostly wursts and 'kraut) looked quite good. Menu leans toward full dinner options, and has a good selection of German classics. Obatzda was on the PR menu but not available when I was there. I hope they add it soon!
Value: Reasonable for the city: .5L prices are about $1 less than other places in DC for the same beers, and 1L prices tend to run $1 to $2 less than 2x the .5L price - so the large mugs are a good value.
Summary: This place is good now, and has the potential to be great when they get over their teething problems. I'll be going back - probably often.
06-23-2010 21:30:26 |
More by twg
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 2.5 | $$
OK, I'm going to be clear that I'm giving this place a few more tries before I completely dismiss it. Currently H street is under construction for the trolly, so getting there is a little bit of an adventure to begin with.
This place decided to open the same week the World Cup did, so the night we went was a Sunday night and the place was pretty busy but clearly the crowds had fallen off by the end of the night. We chose to sit outside in the biergarten. A very cool space with a bunch fo TVs on the walls and tables with brewery umbrellas. Trees and lights, very neat. Here is where the problems start, hopefully most related to this being opening weekend.
A waitress finally notices us and gives us a menu. We had been sitting there trying to get her attention for more than 15 minutes. She comes up and tells us that the kitchen just closed a minute ago so we can't order food. DAMNIT! Fine, I love me some German beers, you have 70 bottles and 30 drafts I understand can I see a beer menu. She hands me a beer menu and immediate tells me that the drafts aren't working and they are almost out of bottles. I ask her to repeat the part about the drafts not working then she tells me that I can have Kostrizer, Aventinus, and Spaten Lager and that's it, those are the only taps that "are working." Fine, Kostizer. Beer came in a 0.5L stein and I blew through it like nothing so I wanted to order another beer but I couldn't find our waitress. After about 20 minutes I get someone's attention and they said that she might have gone home and they can't find our tab. I GRACIOUSLY tell them what we had and try to order another beer but this waitress tells me that only one tap is working now and it wasn't one of the three the first waitress told me about. FINE. I'll take the ONE beer you have, 1 L stein.
My wife orders a krystalweiss in the bottle, the waitress returns and says that they don't have any and suggests something else, she orders whatever the suggestion was but then I see her a few minutes later deliver a tray of krystalweiss to the table next to us. This place has a serious WTF problem overall. I'll go back in a few weeks to see if they get the kinks out but I'm pretty underwhelmed.
06-17-2010 21:54:42 |
More by drabmuh
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Biergarten Haus in Washington, DC