An Oktoberfest Gift from the Beer Gods

Rejoice, forlorn fans of the recently deceased Ludwig’s, the last German-style beer hall in Philadelphia! That sweet, sweet orange transfer sign pictured above is just for you, as it’s delivering big big BIG beer news. As the cherry on top of our Oktoberfest coverage, we’re bringing it to you first: a new German beer hall is coming to Center City. The orange sign was just slapped up in the window of 718 South Street last night by owners Doug Hager and Kelly Schmitz, who expect to open Brauhaus Schmitz in March of 2009, just in time for Beer Week, (if construction and government bureaucracy don’t gum up the works). Why should you be excited about this, other than the fact that SOMEONE IS FINALLY OPENING A GERMAN BEER HALL? How about twenty taps of German beer? 100 bottled beers? Bratwurst sold by the meter? Lots more details, a photo and rendering after the jump.

The brauhaus will be located in the high-ceilinged first floor of the South Street building, which was previously home to furniture store American Pie Abode. It’s a long, narrow space with an unusual mezzanine that overlooks the ground floor. The pair is in agreement to buy the building, pending the license transfer and the plans are for a rustic look with exposed brick and butcher’s block tables. Here’s what the exterior looks like now:

Hager, a project manager in construction, and Schmitz, a headhunter, are married and plan on running the place together. The two spent two years living in Cologne, Germany and both worked in bars and biergartens there. Hager also strapped on his suspenders and tended bar at the late, lamented Ludwig’s in its golden days, so he knows his way around German beer. And there will be lots of German beer. He’s still tossing around whether or not the list will be 100% German.

As for the fare, they’re planning for authentic German – including homemade bratwurst that you can purchase by the meter – with some modern updates. Perhaps a traditional grilled pig knuckle (schweinshaxen)  will tickle your fancy? Somebody please make sure to let Rick know there’s going to be another spot for German fare.

Below is a rendering of what the facade of Brauhaus Schmitz will look like; Hager and Schmitz promise us more peeks once things get moving. So get your dirndl dry-cleaned and bone up on your dunkels, your rauchbiers and your hefeweizens – they’re planning on having the Reinheitsgebot painted up on the wall.