Sunday, July 12, 2009

Renbarger’s Brewhaus replaces Dublin Cellar on Baxter as the wheel is given another spin.

Good scoop from Sara, the Bar Belle: Germans do it better? (fingers crossed).

The bar formerly known as Dublin Cellar (and Wet Willy’s and then just Willy’s) is changing its name, atmosphere and origin of choice once again — this time to Renbarger’s Brewhaus, a German-themed bar.
In theory, there’s always room in the markeplace for a competently executed concept -– witness the profusion of Irish pubs from Billings to Baluchistan.

However, the owner(s) of the spot most of us still associate with Willy’s have already failed to make a go of Irish blarney. Perhaps the failure of Dublin Cellar isn't unexpected given the close proximity of Molly Malone’s and O’Shea’s, two places that do Irish/Anglo fairly well. But in turn, doesn't this prompt legitimate speculation as to why an Irish theme was attempted in such a location in the first place?

Creativity, anyone?

Now the same management will retrofit the operation while the doors remain open. What are the criteria for a competently executed German theme, and does existing management have the expertise?

Color me skeptical, though it may not be all management's fault. The problem with German themes in American food and drink is that Americans generally know nothing about Germany save for cliches that pertain specifically to Bavaria, and the Bavarian “beer, pretzels and kraut” bit has been done to death in its common, purely stereotypical form - which isn't very flattering to reality on the ground in Bavaria.

In short, chances are that there won’t be very much truly German in a broader cultural sense about this new establishment. The beer will be the same lagers we see everywhere (as a hint, any "German" place selling St. Pauli Girl beer is out of the running), and the whole thing smacks of the random concept generator.

As always, I hope I’m wrong. I will give it a fair chance, and am ever prepared to eat my words.

If so, I'd like my words served with Senf, please -- the sweet kind that goes with Weisswurst, and not the spicier mustard more appropriate with Leberkase.


Doctor Tarr said...

To be an authentic German shouldn't they be selling Pilsner Urquell? Just as English restaurants serve Stella Artois?

Rick said...

I hope they don't continue Dublin Cellar's practice of serving everything in plastic cups.

Aaron said...

Dublin's Cellar could barely be considered a restaurant. Although open during the day, in reality it functioned exclusively as a late-night bar. I live in the neighborhood and I only attempted to eat there once. During that visit they were out of chicken wings, fish, and a couple of other items I first attempted to order. Ketchup and bleu cheese was also unavailable to go along with the frozen chicken tenders and fries I eventually was forced to settle on.

The first two beers I ordered from the list they provided were no longer available, and the third I ordered was served to me in a plastic cup. Curiously, the India Pale Ale I had settled on had the distinct flavor of coffee and a hint of chocolate, which I thought peculiar for the style...

I never made my way back, content with the outside view whilst passing the Cellar on my way to Oshea's, Molly Malone's, and Flanagan's.

Needless to say, I have hopes that Renbarger's Brewhaus exceeds my already low expectations. It certainly couldn't be worse than the previous establishment.

-Aaron Thomas

Madelyn said...

Isn't Pilsner Czech and not German??

The New Albanian said...

The original Pilsner beer is from Plzen or Pilsen, now in the Czech Republic.

The term's been freely borrowed for almost 200 years, and describes arguably the most popular style in German. In spite of everything, the original is still good.

At one time, or so I've been told by a German national and former restaurateur there, places shooting for top Michelin status needed to carry Urquell and/or Budvar, both Czech. This may or may not be true.

Doctor Tarr said...

When I was in Berlin, which I admit was a a couple of decades, it seemed that every restaurant had a Pilsner Urquell sign in the window. I found it amusing that the most visible beer in a country known for beer was an import.

At least it was a good one, unlike the Stella and Budweiser one finds all over England. That's a crime.