Euro-inspired beer halls have been cropping up all over Brooklyn, with their appropriately import-heavy tap lists and their
mostly pretzels signature food offerings. There’s Radegast, the Koelner Bierhalle, and Spritzenhaus to name a few. It’s also just been announced that Downtown Brooklyn is going to be getting a “massive” beer hall. But amidst all the hype, we’ve got a question: what’s so great about beer halls?
Hear us out: besides their sprawling size and trendy menu, beer halls aren’t all that welcoming. For one thing, the acoustics are terrible. In a large room made almost entirely of polished stone, you find yourself screaming just to be heard above the general din echoing off the walls. It’s like a community board meeting, that costs more money.
And another thing: service at beer halls is notoriously terrible. It’s not exactly anyone’s fault; communal open seating is just a dining-out nightmare. It’s fine during quieter hours, but on rowdy nights servers can’t tell who’s in which party, and they have to ask, and then there’s more yelling. The space also gives off the impression of a counter-serviced, casual setting where you can just sit wherever. But let me tell you, I can’t count the number of times that someone has disappeared from our party before the bill comes. And either they left some cash with a less-than-table-service tip, or they moved to the bar and forgot to tell anyone where they went.
Seems to us like in order to have a well-functioning beer hall in Brooklyn, you have to behave somewhat like a corporate machine, keeping tabs on everyone who sits down. The beer halls with the best service also become the most sterile ones, and that barely evokes whatever made a giant room full of drunk people so popular over in Germany in the first place.
Lastly, do you really need that much beer at once? Many of these beer halls offer iconically-large steins, and sure, it’s fun to clink massive flutes of alcohol together with your friends. But beer that comes in a giant glass also forces you to drink faster before it gets warm and flat. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather sip slowly on 12oz of really good beer, and savor the flavors in it, than try to chug down 32oz in the same amount of time.
So weigh in, brokesters: are beer halls really the drinking scene of the future, or are you partial to the low-ceilinged, wood-paneled local dive bars of yore?