Bierbrunnen German Pub
427 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
It was a breezy, balmy early autumn day in Fort
Lauderdale when I jumped up to the emerald-green bar at Bierbrunnen, a
modest, open-air pub hidden in an alley just off the beach and a block
away from raging party spots like the Elbo Room. Fans cooled down
patrons who crowded around the bar and lounged in the long wooden
benches just outside the establishment. Fellas drank and watched
football; families ordered food from the bilingual menu (English one
side, Deustch on the other) that was packed with schnitzel.
Still, it wasn't completely tame: The young couple next to me, both sporting stylish sunglasses, had begun a fervent make-out session before I'd even spent five minutes on my bar stool. So my gaze immediately drifted to the impressive collection of beer-dispensing taps (22, to be exact) : Stone, Harp, New Castle, Spaten, Carlsburg, Warsteiner, India Pale Ale....
Gary, the dark-haired owner, interrupted my alcohol-inspired trance. "Can I help you?"
"I, uh, I'm writing about German bars," I said. Yeah. I'm awkward sometimes.
"We're the best," he said matter-of-factly. Then with a smug smile: "We hope to be the wurst
kept secret. You know; wurst, with a 'u.'"
"I got it," I said. "Clever."
"We have a stunning array of German beers - seven of our taps are German," Gary continued.
"Plus we've got some U.S retros." He gestured to the Pabst Blue Ribbon spigot.
Gary was friendly, and quick with the patrons, genially using their names when possible.
"Have any Oktoberfest beers?" I said.
"We have a Pabst Oktoberfest brew," he said. "But you know, in Germany, Oktoberfest only goes from late September to very early October. It's just Americans who make it a month-long thing."
Party pooper. I walked around the bar, past the European license plates, the jukebox, and the cigarette machine, and landed beside a dashing gentleman who went only by "Klaus."
Klaus' friend, Robert, was quick to extoll the virtues of the bar: great brews, fun place.
"It's not as German now as it used to be years ago, but I still always say Danke schön when I get my drink!" He nudged his frothy mug.
"You speak German?" I asked quickly.
"Yeah: 'Danke schön!'" he said. "And that's it."
By the way, I read your column," Klaus said. "You must be usually much more drunk."