South Florida, congratulations! We can officially say we've entered a new age of beer, a time when nearly any brew-related craving -- no matter how obscure -- can be satisfied by our growing community of brewpubs, breweries, craft-beer bars, and even, dare we say, a biergarten or two.
Which brings us to Bäd Ragaz Hall & Biergarten, a new South Beach-swank-styled beer hall that opened several months ago in the Las Ventanas retail shops at the corner of Woolbright and Federal Highway in Boynton Beach. Dubbed a "perfect restaurant for foodies and bier aficionados" by owner and creator Alessandro Silvestri, Bäd Ragaz offers 24 draft pours and 50 imported bottles featuring a wide selection of international beers.
Currently open for dinner only, Bäd Ragaz is a fresh take on the neighborhood bar, hangout, and restaurant that every up-and-coming destination neighborhood needs. Named after a small municipality in Switzerland, Bäd Ragaz brings a modernized twist to the old world biergarten, mostly thanks to the sleek, modern décor -- a combination of stark white accents and slate-colored faux cement walls.
Patrons can choose a seat at the room's centralized 360-degree circular bar that seats close to 30 or at one of seven white-leather half-moon booths where sophisticated "table taps" serve a choice of three draft beers. The only traditional touch: several long, communal tables for beer-hall-style socializing.
Although this new world biergarten offers a mix of sophisticated elegance and refined menu options -- not the sort of thing you associate with a beer hall -- here it works, bridging the gap between those who want a nice night out and the area's raucous beer-loving locals.
The real novelty here, aside from the extensive beer menu, is the way the beer is served. Although there is a bottle menu, it may be a second choice over the fresh pour from one of the bar's custom ceramic tap towers -- or the unique self-serve "table-top taps" at any of the stand-alone booths neatly lining the perimeter of the main seating area. Patrons can pour their own pint to their heart's content, each table billed by the ounce, using the only such taps in Palm Beach County.
Like any true European beer hall, Bäd Ragaz offers the traditional sausages, bratwurst, and bockwurst -- that heavy, greasy food meant to pair nicely with the bar's selection of strong, hoppy, or specialty brews. However, the menu is also reminiscent of Silvestri's unique approach to his favorite dishes.
As executive chef at Tramonti in Delray Beach, he serves an array of European-focused fare, from Viennese schnitzel and the French croque monsieur to Italian spedini. Signature dishes include a charred octopus salad, steak tartare, and a chicken paprikash -- farm-raised chicken braised in paprika, onions, lemon zest, and sour cream and served with authentic German spätzle.
The restaurant is open Sunday through Wednesday from 5 p.m. to midnight and Thursday through Saturday until 1 a.m. and will offer brunch starting October 5 on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Weekly specials currently include a "trinken hour," when you can get $5 draft pours or half-off a flaschen (dinner-bottle-sized serving) and $6 glasses of wine Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m. There's also the "wurst" night of the week on Tuesday, when the restaurant pairs up to five of its international bratwursts with a half-liter of beer. Combos range from $11 to $12.
Bäd Ragaz will be open daily beginning September 30, and be sure to keep an eye out for an upcoming Oktoberfest celebration beginning in early September and continuing with specials, live entertainment, and events every weekend until mid-October. For more information, visit the Facebook page and website, or call 561-336-3297.
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.