1315 Sansom St.
Open All Week, 12 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Kitchen Closes at 10 p.m. on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays
Beer is the focal point at Ludwig's Garten.
Cozily situated off the Avenue of the Arts, Ludwig's Garten is a German style restaurant-bar, which specializes in imported beers. The lengthy list of beers on tap, which rotates seasonally, currently hosts names like Spaten, Paulaner, Celebrator and Hacker-Pschorr Weisse. Sunday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to midnight, Ludwig's hosts its "happy hour special": $4.95 drafts sell for $2.95.
On a busy night, the bar area feels clustered and awkward. Knees bump and waitresses collide as they try to navigate between the bar and the booths. However, the centrally-located, large, wooden bar lends Ludwig's Garten an air of Bavarian authenticity--this feeling is augmented by the wait-staff, some of whom wear St. Pauli Girl outfits. The cuisine is perhaps the most German feature of Ludwig's Garten. Ludwig's serves krauts, wursts and schnitzels. The portions are plentiful and the gastrointestinal repercussions are mighty, as they should be.
Thursday and Friday nights, Ludwig's Garden hosts live jazz and/or blues music. The groups are usually local bands, most appearing on a rotating schedule throughout the month. The musicians are situated awkwardly toward the front of the bar, making seat navigation more difficult still. But the room's acoustics are surprisingly decent, and the music serves a dual purpose: drawing in Sansom Street passers-by and adding a relative "cool" to the barroom atmosphere.
Despite its lack of breathing room, Ludwig's is a culturally sound institution, especially to celebrate Oktoberfest this fall. The beers on tap are heavy with glorious, frothy heads. And when you have good beer, little else matters.