As early as this winter, the outside of a building on St. Mark’s Place between 4th and 5th Avenues in Park Slope gave away most of what the inside would hold. Before the inside could be finished, the exterior had a sort of Bavarian theme, and the sheer size of the building screamed for hundreds of happy beer drinkers. Finally, those beer drinkers have been let into Die Koelner Bierhalle (84 St. Mark’s Pl, at 4th Ave., Park Slope) to enjoy an unmatched German beer experience.
Look, we like to celebrate American beer as much as everyone else, but Germany’s rich beer history and culture are too strong to ignore. And if you can’t take a trip to one of the World’s beer breadbaskets, you should let it come to you. That’s what Die Koelner Bierhalle (no relation to nearby Der Schwarze Köelner) strives to do with a big, booming beer hall that looks like it could’ve come straight from Cologne.
The space includes masses of communal picnic tables with waitress service (and a small bar for those flying solo), plus a food area in the back with a menu of bratwurst, spaetzel, and pretzels for an authentic German beer hall experience (order at the kitchen). The huge space with hard walls can get a little loud, and as with any Park Slope bar, the stroller mafia will naturally become a part of the clientele, but you might argue that’s exactly how an active, boisterous neighborhood beer hall should be.
The draft beer selection here - 30 strong - is impeccably curated and can satisfy lager and ale drinkers alike. From Kölsches to Dunkelweizens to Zwickls to Helles Lagers, no German beer style goes overlooked. And even more impressive, each beer is served in its appropriate glassware from the brewery. The staff is willing to make recommendations, which might be helpful with a large party and a daunting beer list. This is not your father’s German beer selection. The beer menu will please even those Americans who scoff at “boring” German beer, which still adheres to Reinheitsgebot, the nation’s beer purity law that dates back to 1516. Even Germans will be impressed by the selection of beer here - and they can take pride in the fact that there’s nary a drop of American beer in the house.
For those American craft beer snobs who are skeptical of an all-German beer spot, live a little! There’s a whole world of beer out there that you’ve probably never experienced. Sometimes, you need a break from over-hopped beers with a half-ton of blueberries, lime peel, and yeast from some dude’s beard. Die Koelner Bierhalle is a good place to take that break.
At a Glance
Die Koelner Bierhalle (84 St. Mark’s Pl, at 4th Ave., Park Slope)
Hours: Monday-Friday 2pm-4am, Saturday Noon-4am, Sunday Noon-2am
Payment Options: Cash and credit cards
Opened: August 8th
Serving: Beer, wine, and cocktails
Taps: 30 in 0.2L to 1L sizes, $3-20
Food: Bratwurst, pretzels, brugers, and other German specialties, $5-15
Happy Hour: No
Best Bet: Currywurst on kaiser roll with sauerkraut and a Bayreuther Dunkel, $13