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Posted at 4:48 PM ET, 03/19/2010

Biergarten Haus brings a German beer garden to H Street

By Fritz Hahn

The Biergarten Haus patio has room for more than 300 revelers, plus a bar, kitchen and room for an oompah band. (Fritz Hahn - The Washington Post)

Get ready for a year-round Oktoberfest on H Street.

Biergarten Haus, the city's largest -- and only -- German-style beer garden, is poised to bring bratwurst, hefeweizen and strolling accordion players to 1355 H St. NE next month. (There's still some construction to be done, says co-owner Aaron McGovern, so the target date is "early-to-mid April.")

The centerpiece of Biergarten Haus is its enormous courtyard, which holds more than 300 people. In Oktoberfest style, much of the space has long rows of communal hardwood tables and benches. Trees and hanging plants are dotted around the brick patio. Flags representing Germany's 16 states fly from a small carriage house, which is being turned into a bar and kitchen.

To heighten the you're-not-in-Washington-anymore atmosphere, there will be polka bands on weekends and strolling accordionists playing German tunes, plus the regular airing of traditional drinking songs like "Ein Prosit."

Flags representing Germany's 16 states fly over the long, communal wooden tables, which were imported from Lithuania. (Fritz Hahn - The Washington Post)

And now for the most important part: The all-German beer list includes a dozen on tap -- served from giant German beer towers -- and two dozen more in bottles, selected by beer expert Bill Catron, who created the all-Belgian menu at Brasserie Beck. Gaffel Koelsch, Franziskaner Dunkel, Einbecker Mai-Ur-Bock and Veltins Pilsner are among the drafts that will be served in liter and half-liter sizes.

From the kitchen, expect hearty German dishes -- a variety of wursts, spaetzle, sauerbraten, Wiener schnitzel, sauerkraut and potato salad.

During the World Cup, Biergarten Haus plans to be open for all games, which will be projected onto brick walls outdoors and shown on large flat-screen TVs inside.

I plan to spend most of my time outside at Biergarten Haus, but there is a two-story indoor bar that is being redone to look like a hunting lodge from a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Think stained red chestnut wood trim and paneling, fake finishing for a worn-in look and a display of vintage beer steins. The gigantic head of a red deer stag will hang over the upstairs bar, while a bighorn sheep's head has a similar place of pride downstairs.

McGovern explains that he and partner Arturas "Jeepo" Vorobjovas, who also own Russia House, wanted to create a bar that was like nothing else in the city. Well, the've succeeded.

Between now and the grand opening, there are still a number of pieces in flux; For example, the owners have floated the idea of having a "Stein Club" where you could keep a half-liter stein of your own behind the bar, but they haven't worked out the details. We'll keep you updated when we have the dates locked down. Sipping that first liter of Schneider Weisse on the patio is one thing that I'm really looking forward to this spring.

-- Fritz Hahn

Biergarten Haus's carriage house is going to be turned into an outdoor bar -- picture a counter cut out of the wall at the end of this row of tables. (Fritz Hahn - The Washington Post)

The head of a bighorn sheep hangs over the as-yet-unfinished indoor bar. (Those beer towers lying on top of the bar were imported from Germany.) (Fritz Hahn - The Washington Post)

A selection of antique steins hangs on the wall in the second-floor bar, which is designed to look like a Black Forest hunting lodge. (Fritz Hahn - The Washington Post)

By Fritz Hahn  | March 19, 2010; 4:48 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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But will there be any boots?

Posted by: iceicebaby | March 19, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

...and will Augustiner Muechen be there as well?

Posted by: FrankfurtFreddie | March 21, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Is there going to be enough space to dance? Blob's up in Baltimore has a dance floor-it would be awesome if the Biergarten Haus had enough room for those of us that know how to polka to actually dance to the bands.

Posted by: queendweeb | March 21, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

This is GREAT news! Cafe Berlin and Mozart Cafe are great, but this looks like the real deal.

P.S. Queendweeb, no Dancing allowed. Only hardcore belching and chugging.

Posted by: willh101 | March 23, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

DAS BOOT! This place looks money, gonna drink a Schneider Weisse for Gam-Gam.

Posted by: schlutz5 | March 23, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Arlingtonian2 | March 24, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

In a city such as this, where everyone eats salads and drinks decafe latte, this is welcome news. Let's see how the food menu is: heavy, hearty with tons of sausages and potatoes. No DC froo-froo crap!

Posted by: CubsFan | March 25, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

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