Monday, September 27, 2010

Could Hofbrauhaus Replace ESPN Zone?

Here's something to chat about during Baltimore Beer Week -- Could Hofbrauhaus replace the ESPN Zone in Baltimore?

An anonymous commentator says he/she talked to the manager at the Pittsburgh beer hall and was told that they're negotiating to take over the ESPN Zone space in the Inner Harbor.  The Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh appears to operate under a license from Staatluches Hofbauhaus in Munich, which means that the German beer and food must be pretty close to authentic.

I won't get excited yet because it's an anonymous comment on a food blog.  But I would love some sausages and pretzels.  The Hofbrauhaus in Pittsburgh has a dining room and then a beer garden overlooking the river.  That business model seems to take advantage of the harbor view and the big space in Baltimore.
Anyone know more?  As always, thanks for the comments.

(Update: Oh, no!  Robert says in a comment below that Hofbrauhaus is more tourist than authentic German, and the other review that I heard was "Their beer is just OK . . . [but] could be a fun place."  So it's a rumor, and it may not be as exciting as I thought.  We'll see.  But a fun tourist spot does make sense in the Inner Harbor.)


Rob said...

Love your blog, but I don't share your enthusiasm. Even the Hofbrauhaus in Munich is a tourist haven. It really is all marketing and hardly authentic. Plenty of better places in the area to get good German beer and bratwurst.

HowChow said...

@Robert -- I guess the Inner Harbor is a tourist spot. But I really could use a good bratwurst source. Where would you go?

arrtee said...

A good source of bratwurst, weisswurst, and other German sausages in the Baltimore area is Binkert's (

Brandon Miller - Milhouse44 said...

For authentic German food and beer served by Germans, my favorite place to sit and have a meal is The Old Stein Inn in Edgewater (they also have a Biergarten). If you want to pick up fresh German sausages and meats to cook at home then Binkert's is THE place.

Rob said...

The Old Stein Inn in Edgewater is probably the best restaurant. Keep hoping Blob's Park evolves into something bigger. I agree about Binkerts. I also order online from Usingers. In my opinion, their fresh bratwurst is the best and as good as anything I have had in Bavaria.

Rob said...

That's two simultaneous votes for Old Stein Inn!

Biketraveller said...

Hofbrauhaus in Munich may be touristy, but the beer is good and the food pretty representative of biergarten fare. Lived there 6 years and pretty much went to every Southern Bavarian fest. Would love a Munich Hofbrauhaus here!

Anonymous said...

Sure, Hofbrauhaus gets alot of tourists. That's what makes them successful. How else would they be around after 421 years of serving German beer? How many "authentic" German beer locations in Maryland have a 421-year history? It's a tourist haven because of its authenticity, not the other way around (encourage you to research them). Let's not be so dismissive until we give them a chance. The Inner Harbor needs to fill that spot with something appealing to tourists anyway.

Thanks for the tips on other good places though, will have to check them out.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Germany for 12 years, 9 of which were in Bavaria. I just returned from a trip to the Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh. The bier is authentic, brewed on site by a German Biermiester. The food is also authentic. I had Yeager Schnitzel, a worst platter, and sauerkraut. Many Americans don't like real German sauerkraut because it doesn't have the STRONG bite that the stuff we make here does.

The building is not a replica of the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, the entry tries to look similar, but is smaller. Lets face it, construction costs would be astronomical and you would have to import the artisans to replicate the paintings.

Pittsburgh has done a remarkable job rehabilitating the area where the Hofbrauhaus is located and there are many stores and shops to attract your attention when you need to walk off all that worst.

I found the experience well worth the trip.

David P said...

Another vote for the Old Stein Inn. That's been popular with the German Embassy for decades. I actually thought it might have closed, but apparently not. :-)

BTW, it's spelled "Staatliches".

Unknown said...

Just came across this site because I'm sitting in Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh and googled "Hofbrauhaus Baltimore".

I lived in Munich as a kid, and now I live right by BWI, and work in Annapolis. So I've been to Eichenkranz, Blob's and Old Stein multiple times. Well, Eichenkranz is mediocre at best (IMO), Blob's is closing in 3/2014, and Old Stein is wonderful.

Is even the HBH in Munich a tourist trap? Hell yeah, but it's also awesome. That's why all the tourists want to go there. I still go every time I'm in town.

Tourist trap as it may be, I would sell my body for a HBH in Baltimore. It's not a great German restaurant, but it's a great German beer hall!

In closing, Old Stein is fantastic, but it's a close third to Schmankerl Stube in Hagerstown, and the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, WV (I went to Shepherd U). :)