Construction Watch

A New German Beer Hall Opens in Former Market Street Old Chicago Space

Beer and sausage halls are becoming a trend around town: Wurstküche brought its modern, Los Angeles interpretation of a traditional German hall to downtown in February and Frisco-born Prost Fine Beer and Sausages planted its second beer garden and bar in West Highland last year. Those come on top of existing tube-steak taverns like the mini empire of Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs, two branches of Uber (Uber Sausage and Uber Eats), Boulder's Bohemian Biergarten, and the more diverse but still gemütlichkeit Euclid Hall, making for quite a sausage party in the metro-area dining scene. But there's always room for more at the community table; Seattle-based Rhein Haus opens next week on Market Street in the space where Old Chicago had dispensed suds for more than twenty years before closing in March 2014.

The new Rhein Haus, spread out over 14,000 square feet and two floors in LoDo, is only the second in the U.S., but the ownership group, which includes restaurateurs James Weimann and Deming Maclise, also operates several other eateries in Seattle. Co-owner Rich Fox notes that Old Chicago never used the second floor, so Rhein Haus will be considerably larger than its predecessor and will feature floor-to-ceiling windows at the front and back of the building. "I used to live in Denver and actually worked for Old Chicago," Fox adds, so he's looking forward to bringing back a beer-centric establishment to the address.

The menu and decor definitely skew German, but bocce (or boules, as the restaurant's website explains) is also part of the program. In terms of food, "there's always a local component to everything we do," Fox says. So the menu, created by Seattle executive chef Pete Fjosne and overseen in Denver by chef Eric Hiob (formerly of Beatrice & Woodsley), will offer some of the same sausage, schnitzel and sauerbraten as the original, there will also be house specials like bison and bourbon link.

From the bar, Rhein Haus's 24 tap handles will be about 75-percent lagers in a spectrum from light to dark, with "some really cool, family owned breweries in Germany," according to Fox, as well as Colorado beers, like a house helles brewed by Prost Brewing.

Although Rhein Haus will capture a traditional German beer hall ambiance, don't expect rows of long tables. The place will certainly be big, with about 330 seats indoors and an additional 48 on the patio, the layout will conform more to standard restaurant seating.

An exact date for next week's opening hasn't been set yet (there are still some finishing touches to the space), but once open, the beer hall's hours will be 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday, with brunch on Sunday only.

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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation