College night, but make it German: Hofbrauhaus wins best college night deal

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Despite being located outside of Oakland, Hofbräuhaus was voted “Best Of” 2019 in several categories, including beer, college night and 21st birthday spot.

By Beatrice McDermott, For The Pitt News

It’s 9 o’clock on a Thursday night, and the cavernous dining hall at Hofbräuhaus is filled with live music, locally brewed beer and soft pretzels the size of dinner plates. The restaurant knows how to get Pitt students out of Oakland on a Thursday night with cheap food, handcrafted drinks and live music.

Hofbräuhaus Brewery and Restaurant, located on the banks of the Monongahela in South Side, hosts a weekly College Night every Thursday, and was voted the best college night in town by The Pitt News’ readership. Entertainment is provided by the Haus Band on the first and third Thursdays of each month and professional DJs on the second and fourth. The College Night promotion, $6 liters of beer and soft pretzels, lasts from 9-11 p.m.

Hofbräuhaus, founded by the Duke of Bavaria in 1589, boasts a menu of handcrafted “bier” and cheeses, as well as entrees such as bratwurst and schnitzel. Its drinks are brewed on-site using a 400-year-old recipe. The restaurant received widespread acclaim in Germany before expanding to the United States, and in 2009, the Pittsburgh location opened in SouthSide Works, on the banks of the Monongahela River. It’s one of eight Hofbräuhaus restaurants located in America. There are also restaurants in Cleveland, St. Louis, Chicago, Las Vegas and more.

Now, every Thursday night, students over 21 can imbibe lagers Dunkel and Hefe Weizen. According to the Hofbräuhaus website, the Dunkel is “Munich’s favorite bier.” This dark lager is “medium bodied, easy to drink, with simple roasted malt flavor and slight caramel undertones.” The Hefe Weizen, another Munich specialty, is “a fairly sweet old-style Wheat bier” with flavors of banana and clove.

The other college night special is the $6 Hofbräuhaus German soft pretzels and bier cheese appetizer. A German staple, bier cheese is made with cheddar cheese, garlic, pepper and beer. Other dips that come with the dish include “Obatzda” cheese, a cold version of the bier cheese, and Sweet Bavarian Mustard.

Though Hofbräuhaus is located on the other side of the river, there are plenty of options for getting there. Pitt students can tap their IDs to ride the 75 bus, getting off at the Sidney Street and S 27th Street stop. The restaurant is only a two-block walk from there. Port Authority buses stop running at about 1 a.m., but students such as Stephen Barton, a graduate student from Carlow studying music, still make their way to a small slice of Germany in Pittsburgh. Barton said he recently celebrated his birthday at Hofbräuhaus because he wanted to go somewhere special.

“The atmosphere here is pretty awesome,” he said. “Really good beer, really good food. I like the schnitzel.”

Schnitzel is a method of cooking that involves pounding meat until tender, coating it with bread and then frying it in a pan. Though the dish is one of Austria’s national foods, German schnitzel, typically made with pork, is called “Schweineschnitzel.” The restaurant offers four dishes — Schnitzel Wiener Art, Jägerschnitzel, Bavarian Jägerschnitzel, and Bauern Schnitzel. Point Park University alumna Heather Reichl has been working at Hofbräuhaus for six months and has plenty of recommendations for what to eat and drink at the restaurant.

“I like the fried pickles, the bier cheese is super good,” Reichel said. “The lager is really good. The blood orange is really good too.”

Though other bars and restaurants in Oakland also offer college night deals, Hofbräuhaus maintains a strong student following. The restaurant was voted “Best Of” 2019 at Pitt last year in several categories, including beer, college night and 21st birthday spot. Students are also welcome to find a job a Hofbräuhaus. Maura Murray, a political science major who’s been an employee for a year and four months, said working at Hofbräuhaus isn’t an average restaurant experience — she even wears a traditional German dirndl to work.

“It’s very fast-paced, maybe not all the time. But most of the time it’s fast-paced, gotta keep up. Obviously it’s super well known, has a good name, so we have to keep up with that as well,” she said. “It’s been funny.”

 

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