Although I don’t get to visit as often as I would like, one of my favorite places to drink beer and eat in Pittsburgh is at the Hofbräuhaus in Southside Works. I actually got a chance to go there this past weekend, as we celebrated my girlfriend’s belated birthday with her mom and brother, so I decided to take some pictures and write up a quick review.
The Hofbräuhaus in Pittsburgh opened in 2009 and it is one of only a handful that exist in the United States – the Newport, KY location was the first in 2003 and there is also one in Las Vegas. The bar / restaurant is modeled after the 400+ year old original location in Munich, Germany.
The atmosphere is always festive and there is usually always live music being played in the main beer hall room. We visited on a Sunday around noon, and although the place was not very crowded, there was still a live musician performing at the front of the hall.
When you enter, you are given three seating options. You can sit in the main dining area, sit in the giant beer hall which includes the bar, booths, and table/bench seating, or you can sit in the giant outdoor area, which overlooks the river (I think there is a heated outdoor portion in the winter as well, but I’m not 100% sure). We sat in the beer hall area so that we could listen to the music.
The food menu consists of many traditional German dishes, including potato pancakes, cabbage, sauerkraut, giant pretzels, mashed potatoes, and various types pork and sausages. They also have several American dishes including burgers, nachos, chicken sandwiches, clubs, etc. – but if you are coming to a place like this you might as well get the German food!
Unfortunately because of the new year, I made the mistake of attempting to start a low carb diet a few days before, so I was limited in what I was able to eat (though I cheated by drinking a few beers). I ate the Nürnberger Würstl and Sauerkraut appetizer – which is basically just a group of sausage links sitting on top of kraut. It was great, but I had to sit back as the rest of the table went with “The Works” sampler. The sampler includes several potato pancakes with apple sauce, fried pickles, sauerkraut balls, and soft pretzels with homemade bier cheese. Although I didn’t have any of it on this day, I’ve tasted it in the past and it is all very good – my favorite being the pretzels with the cheese.
The Hofbräuhaus offers up four regular beers that are always on tap and then a monthly seasonal beer. The four beers that are always on tap include a traditional lager (their top seller which has been brewed since 1589), a weizen (which is a wheat beer), a light beer (a lighter version of the lager), and the dunkel (which is a darker version of the lager and my personal favorite). On this occasion they actually had the December beer and January beer both on tap as well.
Don’t come to the Hofbräuhaus expecting to get a Miller Lite or Coors Lite, as they only serve the beers that they brew, though they do have liquor (shotskis of Jägermeister are a popular thing to do when the crowds start to get rowdy – a snow ski is filled with 4 shots of Jäger and 4 people do the shots together in front of the bar as the crowd cheers them on). On weekend nights the place can get crowded and lively, with the band playing and people standing on the benches, singing and waving their mugs in the air. The outdoor area is also a lot of fun in the summer. There is a giant bar outside and plenty of bench seating, with a nice view of the river and the city.
Overall we had a great time and even had a personal serenade from the live musician for my girlfriend’s birthday. If you’ve never been and you’re interested in tasting some good German food or drinking some great German beer, and have a fun time in the process, then head on down to the Southside Works and check out the Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh.
2705 South Water Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
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