The opening of a 2000 square foot heated beer garden with a retractable roof was anticipated with the kind of excitement only obsessives can muster. Rather than sci fi obsessives waiting for the release of the latest comic book adaptation, Radegast had an army of foodies, beer hounds, and party animals waiting with bated breath. There were a few troubles opening, rumor has it that it had something to do with the C of O and water issues, but when the doors finally were flung open, we were there with a whole gang of friends to honor Mike's birthday.
Initially, two things struck me. First, the space itself is stunning and?massive and manages to feel well worn with love and age even though it's brand new. Second, there was a tangible machismo vibe. The tables are communal, so when confronted with a crowd of tough, rude men – they are not going to give an inch to a bunch of kids and even said so. Such an atmosphere among the patrons colored the beginning of the evening with a barbaric tone, but later on the atmosphere had shifted so much, that it was easily forgiven and forgotten.
By the end of the night, the crowd got younger and younger and larger and larger. So large, in fact, that people were no longer permitted to enter. Be sure to come early, especially on weekends, to avoid the same fate. At about one o'clock, after being there for six hours, we looked around and founds ourselves reeling with jovial, beer hall energy. People were singing, dancing, laughing on table tops and on the floor. It was a special sort of mayhem, a rare bar experience where everyone seems just as happy and loopy as you.
Unfortunately, the only unhappy guy there was a red headed bar tender who yelled at me “What the fuck do you want, a free drink?” after I returned a jagged broken glass (not mine) that I found in the women's bathroom sink and didn't want anyone hurting themselves on. It was an unfortunate bump in the evening, but one jerk shouldn't define an entire business.?Besides, everyone else who works there was sweet as sugar, and the distinguished gray haired gent who runs the door (and it seems the whole establishment) is cool like ice and I think I might love him.
The variety of beer is vast and a pitcher runs about $20 with tip. My absolute favorite is the darker Dunkle option, a deep rich caramel tasting brew. Venison sausage is the best option from the grilled menu. I have yet to venture onto the pricier dinner menu but options like Braised Rabbit a la Radegast served over Viennese Gnocchi sound spectacular.
Opening a beer hall in the neighborhood was ingenious and it was done right. All we need now is a movie theater.?