Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Initial Review - Biergarten Haus

It's been a few years since I was in Europe but that doesn't mean that I have forgotten what it is like to sit outside and drink a pint of good beer. That's why I had been trying to wait patiently (without much luck) for the much anticipated opening of the Biergarten Haus on H Street NE.

As soon as I found out the exact opening date I called to make a reservation for Sunday evening. I had been hoping that some of the craziness from the World Cup would have died down without any games currently going on. I was also hoping that after a few days they would have a good rhythm going in the kitchen and with the staff. Well, I was wrong - extremely wrong.

When I walked in the door and gave the hostess my name she proceed to tell me that they have been unable to honor reservations because they have been unable to control the crowds. I then asked if we could sit at the table in the front window that was occupied by a tray of silverware. The hostess informed me that they needed that table and wouldn't be able to give it up. I found this to be quite surprising when I walked around the corner and saw another table occupied by more silverware. If this was a game of soccer - that would have been a yellow card.

My dining companion and I went upstairs to see if we could find seating. Instead we found drunk soccer fans who could barely stand up straight. Now, I understand that part of the fun of going to a beer garden is getting to drink the beer, but that is really no excuse for the number of people that were falling over their own two feet because they are drunk. There comes a point where any self-respecting bar tender will cut off someone when they have had too much to drink.

After wandering around we finally found 2 spots at the bar downstairs. After speaking to the bartender we come to find that not only is the kitchen closed, but their taps aren't working (everything is coming out with tons of foam) and there are only 2 types of beer that are cold. I am willing to bet that my jaw dropped because it just sounded so crazy. No food and barely any drinks at a restaurant? I think that may qualify as a red card.

The bartender had a good point - there is nowhere to go but up. I just hope that they get their act together sooner rather than later, because if they don't they will loose a lot of customers. Believe me, I'm not going to abandon a restaurant in my neighborhood after a single bad experience, but I think the management just needs to take time to train their staff a bit better, get the kitchen under control and (maybe most importantly) get more beer. This is a place that has a ton of potential so I am looking forward to them continuing to reach beyond where they are now and get back into the game.

image: / flicker: inked78


  1. I was at the Biergarten Haus on Sunday, also. In their defense it has not been open long and they did make an effort to bring in more beer. They were running out of food, but the food they did serve was awesome. Germany won their game on Sunday 4-0, it is no surprise people were still there celebrating. They probably should not have taken reservations for Sunday at all. I think this is a great addition to H Street and once the World Cup passes I imagine the Biergarten Haus experience will improve significantly.

  2. Thanks for chiming in! I do understand that they hadn't been open very long, but I think that it is reasonable for me to expect that the owners/staff would know what they were getting themselves in to. I am looking forward to their improvement!