Here at Nook, we have a passion for people, places and properties. There is a reason that we say people first, for what makes a neighborhood special if not the people who live there? Welcome to #TastemakerTuesday, where we’ll feature the visionaries in our favorite nooks who are dedicated to building a better community through their talents.
Even though we’re still deep in the Oktoberfest spirit here at Nook, we understand that it’s hard to cram all the Bavarian festivities into your fall schedule. If you only have time for one good meal, let us guide you to the best locations in our favorite Nook Neighborhoods. Yes, we are taking Tastemaker Tuesday literally today!
Brotzeit Lokal (translated to “snack pub”) does what Oakland does best: take a tradition and make it better with a distinctly local flavor. A family used their life savings and a lot of help from friends to build a successful business by the Oakland Marina. You can see some beautiful sights from the biergarten and most of the indoor seating. True to brand, Brotzeit combines local beers, Belgian beers and unique, small German and Austrian breweries.
The Gaumenkitzel (“tickle your tastebuds”) German Restaurant feels authentic for a reason. Husband and wife team combine their northern German roots for delicious dishes like smoked pork chops, luscious soup, and fish based meals. Known for pouring their vast assortment of beer perfectly into a glass specific to each brew, Gaumenkitzel makes sure you leave with more than a beer belly but also knowledge: order a flight and the glasses arrive with arrows on a map showing you where that taste originated.
Wurstküche is a downtown LA must-visit. When it’s my responsibility to find a DTLA meeting place, it’s hard not to choose this one every time. Their sausage sandwiches and 24 draft beers with a side of Belgian fries offer such a variety of great taste that you could go every day for a month and never have the same meal.
The Red Lion Tavern in Silver Lake has a few different rooms and environments you can choose based on the kind of night you’d like to have. Directly inside is an old fashioned cramped yet comfortable dining area; just up the stairs and past the vintage cigarette vending machines is a small bar with room nearby that is great for parties (I may be partial to this room since it’s where my husband proposed). Then there’s their rooftop biergarten, complete with its own bar and table service. I can’t really pick a favorite entree here, as they’ll all transport you back to Bavaria, but I can say that the sauerkraut alone is worth the trip. Amidst the hipster laden Silver Lake, it’s not only refreshing to walk into such an Old World locale, but the resilience of The Red Lion is a great reminder of times when this house on a hill was considered a diamond in the rough.
Rasselbock Kitchen and Beer Gardens pours 35 German and Belgium beers. Let me repeat that: Rasselbock pours 35 German and Belgium beers on a normal night. Then they have homemade sangria, German and California wines, and multiple vegetarian, vegan and kid-friendly versions of their traditional cuisine. Just 10 minutes from downtown, Rasselbock’s big boast is that it is Long Beach’s only German restaurant and beer garden, snuggled into the cool nook of Bixby Knolls. Their Oktoberfest celebrations spread into the parking lot and promise “all the fun stuff you see in Munich, Germany”.
The Bierstube German Pub means “coziness,” which fits perfectly into Orange County’s laid back attitudes. With 4 flat-screen TVs in the main room, you can show them your used Angels and Ducks tickets for Happy Hour prices (same day only). The Bierstube is part of The Phoenix Club, a membership organization to preserve German, Austrian and Swiss culture, customs and language. You can even learn German at any level! Even without that level of commitment, however, their Oktoberfest specials set a high bar for any weekend.
Chuck Alek Biergarten is one of those rare breeds of breweries with a foundation in old styles flavored by “new school palates” that has really hit their stride. Head Brewer Grant Fraley tells his story of homebrewing, heavily influenced by a trip through Europe and the creative passions of grandfathers. It is clear that at Chuck Alek, the labor of brewing is the most fun part, which brings a vast knowledge and enjoyment to sharing it with you, the guest. Their biergarten is a beautiful place, complete with a garden, welcoming to pets and families. Many weekly events surrounding the arts, food, civic engagement and community are hosted by Art Produce, a nonprofit cultural center.
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Photo courtesy of Rasselbock Kitchen and Beer Gardens website.