And now to answer one of the great burning questions of mankind: no, not where do we come from or why are we here? Rather, can Hofbräuhaus, the world’s premiere establishment for beer lovers, be enjoyed by those who do not drink alcohol?
The Las Vegas Hofbräuhaus offers a few sweet reasons for the non-imbiber of fermented drinks to bask in its German ambiance.
The main dining hall is a typical Vegas hoot–a warm-hearted reproduction of another time and place, this one with a huge, open space whose high ceiling is painted in an authentic Bavarian style–or at least what we might all imagine an authentic Bavarian style looks like.
Everybody’s seated at big, long tables and benches, creating a casual communal atmosphere.
Fun, vaguely folksy bands play live some evenings. They seem quite good.
The waitresses are costumed like a medieval German fantasy, and look like Hooters girls, if Hooters were staffed by wenches from a nearby Renaissance fair.
And, of course, if you’re a group of mildly rowdy young men (the kind of rowdiness you see in 80’s teen comedies, not the kind you read about in Charlie Sheen’s Twitter feed), you can ask a waitress to give you a swat on the bottom with a shot glass-carrying paddle, while your friends hoot and take pictures. Father’s Day is right around the corner, so keep this in mind if your dad is into playful punishment.
Oh, also, there’s food. For about what you’d pay at Olive Garden, you can gorge yourself on some awesome sausage and kraut-based dishes. As is the norm these days, you get a heaping plate full for your money. Their menu is well stocked with the German fare you’d expect (strudel, oversized pretzels) as well as the retinue of popular restaurant standards (flavored lemonades, french fries).
There’s a gift shop at the entrance where you can buy corny hats, neat-o statues, stuffed bears, steins the size of your great aunt’s bunions, or, if you’re like the Hustons, a refrigerator magnet so you can remember your magical night every time you need milk or apple juice.
You get the idea.
If that much tacky giddiness isn’t your cup of tea, there’s an adjacent room called the Beer Garden, which is quieter, dimmer, smaller, and decorated in a forest-y fashion (green stuff on the walls and hanging above you; plus, a central fountain). It’s vaguely romantic, and you’re not likely to get lost, even if you don’t leave a trail of bread crumbs.
One more thing: they have valet parking, which is kind of a joke since A) the parking lot is ridiculously small, B) the parking lot is right next to the entrance anyway, and C) the self-parking is actually even closer to the door than the valet parking. So if you pay someone to park your car for you, you’re really just paying for the privilege of walking an extra five feet.
Also, I’m told that Hofbräuhaus has some good beer, if you’re into that kind of thing.
It offers a lot of wonderful food in the most fun atmosphere you’ll find this side of a rathskeller. The Hofbräuhaus is a fairly old institution, and there aren’t that many of them, so the chance to dine at one is special. If you’re not lucky enough to live in Las Vegas, don’t fret, their Wikipedia page lists all the other locations worldwide. Good grief, there aren’t any in California yet, but they have one in Dubai.