In the latest nod to Brooklyn’s edge over Manhattan, Ford just rolled out a commercial featuring tourists who key “Brooklyn, 81 Broadway” into the GPS of their car (called the Edge), then leave the bright lights — for Marlow & Sons.
We applaud the sentiment, but the hotspot everyone will be — should be — trekking to is at 113 N. 3rd, home of the deservedly hyped Radegast Hall & Biergarten. If the sheer ambition of the place, with its retractable roof beer garden and stunning, crazy-polygon of an oak bar doesn’t impress, one drink should. Drafts come in two sizes: cartoon-big, and “I can’t believe this is the small.” A liter of Weihenstephaner Dunkel Weisse later, and the beer garden, which will be heated by this weekend, gets toasty enough to sit in.
The mostly German and Czech beer list resembles Astoria’s Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, for the simple fact that one of the owners, Ivan Kohut, was head bartender there before teaming up with his chef-wife Joanna, partner Andy Ivanov, and his fiance Petra Katrusinova, to up the ante.
“The Bohemian Hall is a 100-year-old establishment, with 100-year-old walls and trees which we don’t have,” said Ivanov. So they went upscale, on a less than million dollar renovation of two candy warehouses– but not much less. “The concept is an Austro-Hungarian, classy, authentic establishment from the turn of the last century, a time in Europe of spiritual and cultural awakening.”
The result is genuinely transporting. Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Wilhelm II stare down at you at the bar, the barmaids are dressed like St. Paulie’s Girls, and the music (at the beginning of the night) sounded like the fast-tempoed soundtrack of a silent Eastern European film. When it later segued oddly into Mexican folk rock, it was just another welcome distortion of reality.
The grilled sausages, served with delicious homemade mustard, sauerkraut and fresh (albeit soggy) fries hit the spot, but ordering from the dinner menu will save you from standing on the grill line. We were rewarded on our first try with an insanely tender, steakhouse-quality ribeye, big enough to share (begrudgingly) with friends. Which is yet another reason to visit: even at the height of the bar party season, there is plenty of room for your entourage.
113 N. 3rd at Berry in W-Burg, 718-963-3973, radegasthall.com
Above photo of bar by Melissa Horn.