When the beer steins clank and sound of the “prost” toast joyfully bellows down Palafox Street, Bavaria becomes more than a place to taste real-deal sauerkraut, but a sampling of genuine German culture.
The Bavaria experience, which launched on 10 S. Palafox last fall, was built around authenticity, according to Bavaria General Manager Colby LeSage. The head chefs are German, the owner is German and the communal beer hall tables have seen a real Oktoberfest or three.
“On Saturdays, we’ll do the Oktoberfest theme prost song, and we put it over the speakers. We go around, and we pretty much obligate everyone to ‘cheers’ us as we are going around to each table. It’s a really fun, just awesome little atmosphere,” LeSage said.
Now, the restaurant is ready to take the experience one step further with an outdoor German beer garden. Or should we say, Biergarten.
“We really want to cater to that authentic Hofbrau Oktoberfest beer fest theme. That’s why outside right now, it’s just very simple. Simple decorations, flowers, umbrellas and obviously German imported beer. Just trying to keep everything simplistic and authentic as possible,” LeSage said.
All four of the inaugural beers on tap have made the trip from Germany and cater to different tastes. A pilsner, lager, hefeweizen and a citrus wheat all have a place on the biergarten’s inaugural lineup. A short walk inside the restaurant offers about 8 other varieties. There is not a domestic in sight, but the staff are well-equipped to match the tasting notes you’re craving to the domestic’s German counterpart.
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Friday marked the first day open for the biergarten, where the outdoor stage hosted a German band and a DJ-hosted “club night” commenced in the spirit of a Gallery Night afterparty.
Now, the biergarten will be open consistently with restaurant hours, but hours are subject to change as the biergarten develops. There are two entryways, either through Bavaria’s front entrance on Palafox or from the back entrance by the Jefferson Street parking garage.
Guests can order food outdoors also if their beer is begging for a giant Bavarian pretzel to keep it company it, but it’s also okay for restaurant guests to pop into the biergarten for a quick pour. It’s even encouraged, as extra stacked chairs are on standby. The space is intended to foster community amongst strangers, where you could strike up a conversation with the person standing next to you.
“Our goal is to honestly just spread the idea of a community getting together, and a biergarten is supposed to be that kind of communal thing,” LeSage said. “You want to sit down at the same table as someone you don’t know, a stranger, and make friends with them over a beer. There’s nothing better than that.”
Although the atmosphere is undeniably German, with hand-painted canvases and memorabilia representing German cities strewn together throughout the dining hall. But the owners realize German food may not be for everyone, so they have a Neapolitan American Style Pizzeria called Dieci Pensacola that co-exists in the back section of Bavaria.
Following suit from the German portion of the restaurant, no shortcuts are taken. The oven is from Italy, with a three-ingredient sauce and farmer’s market fresh produce.
More updates and information can be found on the Bavaria Pensacola Facebook page.
Source : Pensacola News Journal