Our correspondent vowed to have a drink at every single bar in Hoboken and did so successfully with Spirits in the Sixth Borough.” Every Friday morning, we’ll pick up where he left off, showing you distinctive bars in each New York City borough perhaps for the very first time, perhaps to refresh your memory of a fun place you’ve ducked into, or perhaps to suggest a new spot for you to check out as you gear up for the weekend. You can follow our sudsy travels every week with LocalBozo.com’s “Drink Here Now.”
265-267 Bowery near Houston Street, Lower East Side
Getting There: 6 to Spring Street; J,Z to Bowery
Drink Here Now: Paulaner Brauhaus
With the massive spaces like Reichenbach Hall, Houston Hall and Flatiron Hall popping up over the past twelve months, it was with great anticipation that we visit the latest big bar opening to hit New York City. This time, the Lower East Side would finally be graced with a gigantic German style beer hall as the authentic Paulaner Brauhaus officially opened its doors late in 2013. But the modernized space, formerly a burlesque, is more about the beer itself than it is about the clanking together of large steins festively and refreshingly, the bar/restaurant fits the surrounding area in ideal fashion.
Arriving on an early Friday evening, I was certainly surprised to see such refinement from a place that I expected to be entirely rowdy. In place of the now commonplace long communal tables, we found folks enjoying traditional German fare calmly in the main dining room. The bar, while filled, was lined quietly by after work types chatting casually with each other in front of the enormous copper beer tanks behind them- certainly an eye catching piece of decor to the narrow bar area. What’s most interesting about Paulaner Brauhaus is the fact that all of the beers on draught are brewed quite literally in house. Aside from seasonal selections, the Brauhaus offers three additional and classic styles- their original “Munich Lager,” the “Munich Dark,” and the “Paulaner Wheat Beer” – a hoppy Hefeweizen style that is both refreshing and delicious. In this very location sits the only current US location brewing Paulaner beers which alone makes your visit worthwhile, considering some of the recipes being utilized to craft the beers are more than 300 years old.
Though the beers are exceptional, the cuisine here has been tailor-made for pairing with Bavarian fare like pretzels, wienerschnitzel, spaetzle, sauerkraut and locally made sausages that will have you longing for Oktoberfest. And the Bavarian Cream Pie is as rich and exceptional as you would imagine. Paulaner Brauhaus is an inspired beer hall-lite that manages to be both upscale and relaxed at once, adding a little touch of class to an old fashioned style of beer.
Bar Type - It would be a misconception to classify this as a German biergarten- so don’t. Come for the beer and stay for the casual atmosphere inside.
When to Visit – Anytime. The space is more conducive to a restaurant setting so make sure to come hungry. Otherwise, pop a squat at the bar and enjoy pints, half liters, or liter sized pours of their fantastic Paulaner beers.
Value - Considering what this place is probably paying in rent based on its sheer size and in this location, I can’t imagine you’ll find $3 beers here. But that said, they don’t beat you over the head price-wise either and beers are entirely reasonable here.
The Lowdown – The mood is noticeably subdued during our first visit, a much welcomed reprieve from the loud dive bars with loud music and dartboards. Paulaner Brauhaus allowed us the opportunity to actually enjoy a beer for what it is- a tasty, crisp, refreshing glass of suds- and gave us the chance to catch up with our party without having to scream. Finding some space at the bar to sit was the only challenge that we faced and that was eradicated in only a few minutes. The friendly staff and awesome beer offerings make Paulaner Brauhaus a must hit spot on Bowery- even if it’s for only one beer before you begin a more wild night out elsewhere.