Paulaner: The Big, Bold Beer Hall on The Bowery

It’s certainly not news anymore that New York City’s legendary skid row along the Bowery has become more of party-time restaurant row for area swells over the past decade. Some of these spots are good–Bar Primi is a personal favorite, along with Pearl & Ash and The Wren, and I hear Narcissa and Cherche Midi are worth their high-ish prices–while others are considerably less appealing. And no matter what, I recommend steering clear on the weekends. Anyway, about a year and a half ago the German brewing giant Paulaner opened a massive beer hall just below Houston Street, and my thought at the time was to avoid it at all costs, assuming the place would just be way too loud for me and packed with frat kids. Turns out, however, as a pair of very satisfying recent visits have shown, I was wrong about Paulaner, which is far more “grown-up” than I imagined (at least on weeknights), with plenty of solid, hearty, sausage-y food to go with all of the brewed-on-site beers.

What To Drink at Paulaner

Paulaner seems to always have at least four beers on tap–their signature Hefeweizen, as well as a Munich Pale Ale, a Munich Lager, and a Munich Dark–and usually one or two more seasonal specials. These arrive at your table or barstool in a variety of fun formats, from $10 tasting flights to standard-looking beer-hall glass pints to outrageously large steins, and are the obvious beverage of choice. In fact, on both nights that I went in for some dinner, there were more people drinking in the expansive bar area than were eating-and-drinking in the even-bigger dining room. In other words, there’s plenty of room here, for folks with all sorts of priorities, whether beer, food, or both.

What To Eat at Paulaner

And the food at Paulaner is not designed just for absorbing all those suds! This is genuinely tasty stuff, all of which obviously goes well with beer–and, in fairness, much of it could be called bar food–but stands up to scrutiny on its own merits as well. Like: you’d want to eat these things even if there wasn’t a beer in sight. There’s a designated special dish for each night of the week, and on one of my nights at Paulaner that special was the Traditional Blood Sausage and Potato Skillet. Now, I love a good blood sausage, so although the format here was a bit unexpected–basically it’s crumpled up with spuds, then fried–I still was very happy wolfing this down, especially since it all sat on top of a mound of very good sauerkraut.

The only starter I tried, Fried Camembert Cheese, was definitely good–it’s hard to mess up chunks of fried cheese–with the lingonberry jam adding a welcome hit of tart and sweet, but the serving felt a little stingy for $11, with the three small triangles looking lonely on their platter. A heftier plate can be found with the $15 Bratwurst Burger, the juicy sausage topped with mustard and that good ‘kraut, all of it on a pretzel bun, with a side of serviceable fries. Finally, I tried Paulaner’s namesake sausage, which is made from smokey, beery beef and filled with oozy cheddar cheese. This comes with some nicely vinegary potato salad, and totally hits the spot.

For Location And For More Information

The Paulaner Brauhaus is located Bowery between Houston and Rivington Streets, and is open weekdays at 3:00 p.m., weekends at 11:00 a.m., and serves until 11:00 p.m. on Sunday through Wednesday, and until 12:00 midnight from Thursday through Saturday. More info and the complete Paulaner food and drink menus can be found here.

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