First Look: Sauf Haus Bier Hall Opens in Dupont Circle Thursday

By Rina Rapuano  |  July 22, 2014

Word came yesterday that Sauf Haus Bier Hall will serve its first German beer this Thursday in its Dupont Circle location in what used to be a guitar shop above Shake Shack. General manager John Issa told us more about the new bar, which he says is named for the German phrase for being drunk or “sloshed.”

He says proprietor Edwin Villegas also owns two bars and a construction company in town, and he's the one who first came up with the idea and brought it to Issa. “Edwin loved The Standard up in New York City, that beer garden there, and then the [Dupont Circle] space became vacant,” Issa says. “I wasn’t too keen on it to begin with, but all these beer gardens started popping up in the city, and I went to check them out.”

Obviously, he came around.

Issa says the two-story bar will serve Bavarian beers on draft for $8 per half liter; $14 per liter; and $35 for a two-liter glass boot that you get to keep. (Bring it back in and you’ll get a discount on refills.) “We have five beers in a can, and that’s where we go a little more local,” he says. “We’ll also have a cider, a gluten-free beer and some IPAs.”

He says that to keep things simple, most things will cost $8 — beer (the half-liter size, anyway), wine, schnapps, cocktails. He adds that they’ll have five simple, German-inspired cocktails that will rotate, with the opening menu including one called Rocco’s Daytime, a blend of grapefruit hefeweizen and housemade vanilla vodka. They’ll also mix lager with a soda like Coke or Sprite. Happy hour will run weekdays from 4-7 PM and shave $2 from drink prices.

Issa says he hired a chef yesterday, and the bar will start serving pretzels, sausages and oysters in August. Pretzels, offered with a beer sauce and spicy mustard, will come from Arlington’s Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe, which is working on a custom 1-pound pretzel for the bar. Two small pretzels will cost $8; the one-pounder will cost $13-$15; and the two-pounder costs $20 and will come with a to-go box or bag.

He hasn’t settled on a sausage purveyor yet but says it’ll be someone local — and adds that “Fells Point Meat is looking pretty good right now.” The sausages will be served German style, meaning on a platter with sauerkraut and potato pancakes instead of in a bun.

Sauf Haus occupies the second and third floors of the historic building. On the second floor, imbibers will find a foosball table and two TVs. The third level will use a projector to show soccer matches and other games as well as provide access to the roof deck.

For the most part, Issa says he wants to keep things “very, very, very, very simple.” German beer, German bites, across-the-board pricing — seems simple to us.

Hours: 4-11 PM weekdays; 4 PM-2 AM weekends.

1216 18th St. NW