Full disclosure: I’ve never actually been to Germany or Oktoberfest, so I don’t know what that beer-soaked bacchanalia is really like, but Radegast Hall and Biergarten in Williamsburg is what I picture when I think of the real deal in Munich. It’s a neighborhood staple, and a true destination for beer-lovers and schnitzel-fiends alike. It’s great for birthday parties, a fantastic place to start or end your night, and is really just the kind of thing that needs to be experienced. Check out why, after the jump:
Number of Taps: True to its theme, this biergarten keeps a fully-stocked tap list of 15 mostly German imports, with a few standouts from the UK and Belgium. If you want to try something that encapsulates the feeling of summer’s end, try the Weihenstephaner Vitus, which is a cloudy, single-bock wheat beer with hints of banana and clove. Sounds weird, but it’s a good send-off to summer.
Number of Bottles: An overwhelming bottle list can be intimidating, but stay the course and ask one of the bartenders what they like from the categories, and you’ll be sure to find something. Their selection of lambics, sour beers and ciders is particularly strong, so start off with a Lindemans Framboise and move your way up to the excellent and tart Swedish Rekorderlig Pear Cider, which is a pleasant alternative to the standard apple-based ciders out there.
Vibes: Rowdy! You come to this place to have a good time, not to sit in a corner and contemplate life’s various injustices. With that in mind, this would not be a recommendation for say, a date or really any event in which there’s an emphasis on close conversation and hearing what other people are saying to you. Come because you want to have a night.
Price: Well, these beers are imports, so be prepared to pay a little more than what you’re used to.
Typical Crowd: People who come by because they heard there was this “great German bierehalle thing in Williamsburg”. People who are really into New Orleans-style brass bands. People who enjoy the novelty of quaffing large amounts of important beer out of liter mugs, the kind that you need to use two hands.
Music: It ain’t quiet, but it’s fun, and there’s live music every night, with no cover. The last time we were there, we saw a whole lot of people doing their own interpretation of what we presume was a polka-fotxtrot hybrid.
Food: Mmm, sausage. You like sausage right? If so, Radegast has got you covered. If you happen to hate the pleasures of meat in tube form, theree’s a full menu with standard German and European Old World fare, but the best way to handle it is to go in the back and order direct from the grill. Their currywurst is top-notch.
Seating: Guys, it’s a beer hall. It’s giant, sprawling, and full of chairs, tables, and then, in the greenhouse-like attachment, long communal tables that are usually sticky with beer but are the best place to sit.
Outdoor Space: None, but with so much space on the inside, does it really matter? We think not.