With the U.S. Oktoberfest season getting underway, it's high time for you to get thee asses to a large gathering of drunk people & hoist up a stein in celebration of the harvest, or whatever the hell it is that Oktoberfest is supposed to commemorate.
For the proper Oktoberfest feel, you obviously have to get yourself to a beer garden or beer hall, right? Which one though? That is the question here in Park Slope.
First came Greenwood Park, a beer garden that opened its doors in the shadow of Greenwood Cemetery last June. Then in early August, Park Slope became home to another beer haven when Die Koelner Bierhalle opened for business on St. Marks near the corner of 4th Ave.
So, which one has the upper hand?
If I were basing my decision strictly on where I get the most satisfying, unintentional ass views, Greenwood Park would take home first prize. Whilst hanging out there with a group of friends a few weeks ago, a group at the table to the right of us got up to leave. In doing so, one curly-haired, short dress-wearing girl, instead of kneeling down to pick up her bag, just bent over at the waist & showed me her ass. I didn't get that at Die Koelner.
By itself, unintentional voyeurism is a lame way to judge the awesomeness of a drinking establishment though, so let's rate each bar according to traits that people really give a shit about:
Greenwood Park has a total of 13,000 square feet of room to play in. The indoor bar is built in a former auto body shop. Outdoors, there's a bar housed in a repurposed shipping container & a large yard that makes up the majority of the space, which is enclosed by shipping-palette walls. The crowd enclosed within those walls seems to be teetering dangerously close toward the Jersey set. Luckily, the open-air environment keeps their Jersey cackles from doing a bad number on your ears. I've been there a few times, and though I keep expecting to see copious amounts of puking & fucking, I've seen neither. The first time I went, I did see a baby run out the front gate while his father chased after him, but they've since imposed the 21+ after 4pm thing, so I assume I won't be seeing THAT disgusting-ness again.
For Die Kollner, the owners converted a 4,000 square foot lumberyard into a Cologne-style beer hall with 20-foot high ceilings and 15-foot long communal tables. The open, communal atmosphere is nice & all, but as the place starts to fill up, the din from the crowd bounces around the vast space, which gets a bit too loud for my tastes. Beware though...they're not 21+ until after 6pm.
While both locations have an extensive beer list, Greenwood Park's beers are mostly American, with a few European beers mixed in. Die Koelner's are strictly of the German variety. You can get $18 pitchers at Greenwood Park. Pitchers are totally fun, right? Well...once you realize that you basically get three beers per pitcher & many of their beers go for $6 in the first place, you discover that you're paying the same amount to pour your own beer. Add in the fact that you get to drink it out of a plastic cup, and it's sort of a letdown. At Die Koelner, they have a number of beers that can't be found anywhere else east of the Mississippi. AND you can drink your beer out of a glass boot. They've even got a wine & spirit list featuring pretty much only high-quality stuff.
Both places have a lot to choose from as far as food goes, but unfortunately there's nothing too out-of-the-ordinary to munch on at either locale. Die Koelner has a German style food/bar set-up, where the food's ordered from a counter at the back of the place. The menu’s heavy on wurst & brat platters that come with fries & sauerkraut. Though Greenwood Park's menu features a lot of good stuff like wings and burgers, I've learned that when they get busy, the quality of the food suffers slightly.
While both the garden and the hall have their positives & negatives, the outdoor, open-air atmosphere of Greenwood Park makes it seem like the more relaxed atmosphere of the two. Both are loud as fuck though, so I guess it's all relative. The food's sort of a wash, so when you take into account Die Koelner's unique beer list, I have to give the nod to them. As it is, I'm assuming that once the cold weather really starts to take hold, it'll be the better option by default. What about you? Been to either? Bitch away down in the comments.
Read way more from Shawn at eatdrinksnack.com & eatdrinktaco.com.