When my husband and I first moved to Fort Greene from the East Village a few years ago, we quickly developed a wish list of places that we missed from our old neighborhood, that we couldn’t find replacements for in Fort Greene. Among these places were: a butcher, an Ethiopian restaurant (we used to love going to Ghenet on Mulberry), and a beer garden a la Zum Schneider, on Avenue C. I’m happy to say that many of our wishes have already been granted (Provisions, Bati), and now, we’re going to have the beer garden we’d hoped for 7-minutes walk from our apartment! Der Schwarze Koelner will soon occupy 710 Fulton (as rumored on Brownstoner and originally on the Real Fort Greene in January. Dale, a Mancunian who lived in Cologne, Germany for 15 years and his girlfriend Randi, a native German from Stuttgart, will be opening the beer garden come late June or early July. I had a chance to talk to them about their plans:
Can you describe the beer garden? We’ll have communal tables, sidewalk seating, and a small garden out back, and we’ll offer snacks and full meals. The food will be inexpensive -- we plan to price 80% of our meals under $10. We really want to focus on inexpensive food – we live here and it’s hard to go out to eat for 2 for under $40.
Why Fort Greene? Why not? Best neighborhood in Brooklyn. Plus, we live here.
What does the name -- Der Schwarze Kölner – mean? It can be read a few ways – it refers to a big cathedral in Cologne, and the literal translation is “The dark Cologner” or “The dark-skinned Cologner”, which kind of describes me.
What beers do you plan to have on tap? A lot! Here is a preview: Weinstephaner, Schneider-Weisse, Hofbräu, Gaffel Kölsch, and Reissdorf Kölsch, etc. We’ll have 2 Cologne beers on draft and 1 in a bottle—right now that’s all that’s available in the U.S. We’re working with a distributor to get more from that area.
All of our beers are going to be served in a glass exclusive to that particular type of beer –for example, it’s important that a wheat beer be served in a glass big enough, so that the yeast that settles at the bottom gets mixed throughout.
And the beer won’t be expensive, either -- $4 for a small beer, $6 for medium and up to $12 for a gigantic mass, as the huge jugs of beer are called in Germany.
We’ll offer a list of good, inexpensive wines as well.
What type of food? Typical Rheinland food; in Germany you have a number of states – Bavaria, Hamburg, Nordrhein-Westfalen… We’re going to be focusing on Nordrhein-Westfalen, where Cologne is located. We’ll do lots of sausages, “Halber Hanh” which is a half chicken on a rotisserie for under $10, and currywurst, to name a few dishes. We also plan to celebrate lots of German holidays, like Fasching (German word for carnival), Oktoberfest and Advent.
What's your mission? Our mission is to provide people with a place to eat inexpensive food, drink excellent inexpensive beer and wine, and share a communal table with their neighbors. They can sit with a stranger and leave with an acquaintance. There will be NO TVs. We want the focus on conversation and community. We’re offering kids’ meals as well. Families are very welcome here.
What will make you a unique addition to the neighborhood? We really want to get involved in the community, by sponsoring events for local associations and street fairs to bring awareness to all that Fort Greene has to offer, and attract visitors to the neighborhood. We really want to advertise Brooklyn to a wider community. And though this is a Fort Greene establishment, we want to emphasize that all are welcome here – from Prospect Heights to Bed Stuy to Manhattan and beyond. We hope to be a positive addition to the neighborhood and to Brooklyn in general.
When do you hope to open? The plan is about 3 months from now, sometime in late June or early July.
Is this biergarten your only business? No; my girlfriend and I import design pieces from Germany – take a look at our site: http://www.ex49.com/products/
Dale, Randi – Good luck to you. We are very eagerly awaiting our first sip! Prost!