June 16, 2022
Brauhaus Schmitz, a German-style bierhall and restaurant in South Philadelphia, is celebrating 13 years in business with a summer block party next weekend.
'Sommerfest' is taking place on Saturday, June 25 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. along the 700 block of South Street. The festival features food, beer, live oompah music by The Heimaklange Band and dance performances around the 40-foot Maypole from the United German Hungarian Dancers.
The restaurant hasn't hosted a large outdoor event in nearly three years. Though most well-known for its Oktoberfest and Maifest celebrations, the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted its regular business. Owner Doug Hager sought to bring back the bierhall's Maifest celebration this spring, but inclement weather got in the way.
Next weekend's event has limited spots for face painting, as well as flower crown-making. Flower crown sessions are available for $10 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Games and activities for children and families are also going to be available.
"The restaurant business has been extremely difficult recently with so many ups and downs during the pandemic, and we are so happy and thankful to still be here," said Hager. "The time has come for a party to celebrate our lucky 13th year in business. We are ready to raise a liter with all of Philadelphia."
Hager opened the bierhall in 2009, serving German classics with more than 30 German beers on tap. The restaurant's largest block party also includes a wide selection of German specialty food, including currywurst, roast pork, bacon wurst, brats and pretzels.
All food and drink is available in the Biergarten, which has seating for up to 1,000 people. Guests can try out 13 beer options, including Kolsch, Hefeweizens, Pilsners, Kellerbiers and Spring Bocks.
Though the event is free to enter, food and drink is pay-as-you-go with tokens. Individual tokens can be purchased for $7 each, or guests can buy 10 tokens for $60. The regular menu will not be served indoors during the festival.
One token can get visitors a 16 ounce beer, a schnaps shot, or a roast pork or sausage sandwich with sauerkraut. Two tokens can purchase a liter of beer, a liter of beer in a glass mug (which can be returned for an extra token), or a roast pork or sausage sandwich platter with potato salad. Guests have two choices of sausages: bratwurst or speckwurst.
VIP tickets are $100 and can be purchased online. Ticketholders will receive access to a private dining room, bathrooms and air conditioning. VIPs also receive a commemorative glass liter, six tokens, exclusive beers and an all-day appetizer buffet.
In the wake of the mass shooting on South Street on June 4, which killed three people and injured 11 others, business owners along the corridor have expressed concerns about safety and operations.
Hager said that South Street is still a wonderful and safe place with much to offer and that the incident does not reflect the whole atmosphere of the neighborhood, much of which is residential.
"In 13 years on South Street, we've seen some things," Hager said. "But at the end of the day, it's still a very safe area surrounded by four of the best neighborhoods in this city. The tragic events that recently occurred do not define our district and what we stand for. Events like our festivals are opportunities for the neighbors to come together as a community and celebrate all the good we have in the area. We missed everyone and can't wait to come together once again."
Saturday, June 25, 2022
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. | Free, pay-as-you-go food and drink; VIP tickets $100
700 block of South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147