Forget St. Patrick’s Day, I’m going German

Last week I decided to try something new and visited the Old German Beer Hall, 1009 N. Old World 3rd St. It is undoubtedly German, from the menu to the décor, and the ambiance was casual and laid-back.

The first thing I noticed about the place – well, first after the mounted stuffed moose – was the table and bench style seating. According to the establishment’s website, the benches are replicas from the “Schwemme” at the original Munich beer hall. The seating style reminds me of pulling picnic tables together so everyone can sit close to each other, and this arrangement creates the same sort of feel in the bar.

If you are with a large group, everyone can sit together and feel connected. If you are with a small group, chances are you’ll end up making new friends with the people you share your bench with. It also showcases live German music throughout the week, which adds to the lively culture of the venue.

Its beer selection includes the popular Hofbrau Original, Hofbrau Dunkel – a darker version of the former, Hofbrau Strong Bock, Munchner Kindl Weissbier – a fruity brew, Weibgerber Amber and a seasonal Hofbrau. Liters are $11 and half-liters are $6.50. Most of the patrons I saw supported the liter-sized glass mug, which is both larger and much heavier than you’d think.

Drink specials include half off liter beer from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays, College Night on Thursdays and an all week special that’s tough to pass up: Show up wearing Lederhosen or Dimdl, and your beer is half off.

In addition to drinks, the hall offers a very German lunch and dinner menu, with most of the items ending in “wurst.” It features a tempting $5 lunch special every day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., which includes any sausage with any side dish and a 1/3 liter of Hofbrau beer or root beer. It also incorporates Wisconsin tradition into its German roots with a Friday fish fry from 11 a.m. to close. This meal includes one half-pound of Hofbrau beer-battered cod Pommes Frites, rye bread and coleslaw, all for $8.

Whether it’s for the food, beer or merely the atmosphere, The Old German Beer Hall is a fun change of pace. It opens daily at 11 a.m.