First Look: Schroeder's, SF's Legendary German Beer Hall, Reborn
San Francisco needed a beer hall where the food was strong, the steins large and the cocktails stiff. Last night, the city's oldest, largest German restaurant, Schroeder's, reopened - after four months of closure and renovation - with a promise to deliver all three. New owners Jan Wiginton and Andy Chun of Press Club bought the space from the former owners, Jana and Stefan Filipcik, who retired at the end of last year. Wiginton lived in Salzburg, Austria, and both she and Chun studied the German language in school - so they're pouring a lifetime of passion into this space, which has a history in San Francisco dating back to 1893. Gone is the neon and linoleum, replaced by wood covering most of the 5,000 square feet of floor. There's enough German authenticity - a museum-like collection of steins, communal tables - to feel like the heart never left these wood-paneled walls, while massive, circular chandeliers light the room with a medieval-meets-modern glow. Thankfully, the Herman Richter murals remain, glowing like never before. Live polka bands, a month of Oktoberfest celebrations and stein-holding contests are all in the works.
As far as revamps go, Wiginton and Chun have followed the Tosca Cafe route: retaining the spirit and history of the place while elevating the food and drink. Chef Manfred Wrembel (formerly of Plum and Incanto) puts out a menu of modern Cal-German food. Beverage director Mauro Cirilli (also Press Club’s sommelier) showcases Austrian and German varietals in his wine list. Master Cicerone Rich Higgins consulted on 22 international draft beers, only five of them from Belgium and the U.S.; the majority are German, Czech or Austrian. Claire Jane Hunter (formerly of Rye and Future Bars) has crafted a cocktail program that smartly features a Germanic spirit in every cocktail, with a passion to import rare schnapps - not the sour-pucker liqueurs you've come to know. Now take a peek through our initial favorite dishes and glimpses of the decor below. 240 Front St.; 415-421-4778