January 10th, 2012

Bar Munich: Happy to Have Hofbräu in Houston

In 6 Words: Dunkel, Bier, Prost!, Party, Fußball, Unpretentious

A couple of years ago, I stumbled home from a pilgrimage to Munich and the Dunkel-drenched tents of Oktoberfest, straight into a nasty bout of beer depression. Don’t get me wrong. I love Houston and I love our Texas brewers. But I was suddenly discontented with most of my former haunts and their lack of sudsy German goodness. Even my sanctified Arnolds stouts seemed incapable of lifting the fog of post-festival ennui. Just as I was preparing to buy the German version of Rosetta Stone, start shopping for an apartment off the Marienplatz, and abandon all hope of ever again leading a normal Lone Star life, Bar Munich opened its doors early in 2011. And I’ve pretty much been there ever since.

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Bar Munich proprietors Edmond and Raymond Chan came back from their own trip to Oktoberfest years ago with the inspiration that would allow them, as well as withdrawal symptomatic people like myself, to have a little taste of Germany right here in Midtown. Now don’t head for Bar Munich expecting Oompah music on a constant loop or bartenders that wear alpine hats and lederhosen 365 days a year. This isn’t a pit stop on a Disneyworld ride. Rather, Bar Munich is a tasteful homage with subtle touches of the legendary German festival, blended with the clean styling and laid back atmosphere traditional of Houston drinkeries. But before I lose all you gimmick-seekers out there, be advised that you can spot the staff in authentic garb and dance the night away to the polka tunes of Das Ist Lustig during the actual weeks of Oktoberfest. So if that’s what you’re looking for, just hold out. More beer for the rest of us, in the meantime.

And speaking of beer…

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This, Frauen und Männer, is a liter of Hofbräu. A liter. Get your mind wrapped around that for a second. That’s over 33 ounces of pure imported deliciousness. And Bar Munich is the only place in town that’s got it. With Original, Dunkel and Hefeweizen always on draft as well as a rotation of seasonal Hofbräu, Spaten or Franziskaner, these babies are not exactly for beginners. For all you folks out there who claim to disdain German beer (I don’t understand you, I really don’t), they also keep Texas craft brews on rotation and some stand-by bottle options behind the bar. But seriously, did you come all the way to (Bar) Munich to have a Shiner? At the very least, ask one of the friendliest barkeeps in town for a flight of the German offerings and see what you’ve been missing out on. You’ll probably be pounding Das Boot solo before you know it. And yes, Bar Munich really does have Das Boots for those looking to live out that Beer Fest fantasy moment.

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Anyone for Würste? Good, because the menu revolves around them – all the Brats and Knacks a sauerkraut lover could ever wish for. But if you suffer from some sort of Freudian affliction that prevents you from partaking in sausage schmorgasboards you’re welcome to cuddle up with a non-threatening Bavarian soft pretzel instead. Hot or sweet mustard? Both. Always get both.

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Bar Munich has tapped into the soccer subculture of Houston, opening early and offering drink specials for key Premier League, La Liga, and Bundesliga games. While spirited debate is consistently on hand throughout these football and beer brunches, I’ve found the general atmosphere to be far less confrontational than at some of the other early-open soccer establishments. Maybe it’s the soothing effects of all those liters and signature shot Munich Bombs (honey liqueur and hefe), but soccer at Bar Munich always manages to be more of a party than a brawl. I used to think that was impossible…

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I can’t remember the exact visit when Bar Munich became my favorite place to spend a Friday night (or a Saturday morning, or a Tuesday afternoon). And no, my lack of adequate memory is not due solely to temporary impairment caused by my gender-defying ability to down two liters of Maibock. Maybe I started loving Bar Munich when I heard about their ‘beat the clock’ happy hour specials or when they installed giant Jenga out on the patio. Or maybe it was the night when I finally noticed the Xbox Kinect in the corner and spent hours failing dismally in a quest to master the moves of Dance Central. There is no one reason. I love Bar Munich for the jolly rancher infused vodka, for the overall laid-back attitude that inspired an advertisement for their recent New Year’s Eve party to read “No Cover, No Dress Code Bull$hit,” and for the fact that it’s owned by a couple of the hands-down-nicest guys anyone could ever hope to meet. I’ll say of Bar Munich, in the somewhat cloying spirit of everyone you’ve ever known who’s been to the original Oktoberfest, “You seriously haven’t been yet? You don’t even understand. You just have to go.”

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Where2616 Louisiana St., Houston, TX 77006
What – An unpretentious place to find German beers, food, and both international and American football
Wear – Lederhosen und dirndl, ja! Jeans and a T-shirt will do just fine, too
How much – Fairly priced for what you receive
When – Weekdays from 4:00PM 2:00AM; Weekends from 12:00PM to 2:00AM
WebWebsiteFacebook; Twitter

— Kerri

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