Beautiful Places: Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten
The culinary beauty of Munich meets the hip rock n’ roll history of Asbury Park NJ on Lake Avenue in the form of the Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten. This two-story converted manufacturing building has housed the Biergarten for four years now, but it took only it’s first year for the Biergarten to become a MUST-GO for anyone visiting the Jersey Shore.
I’ve been to Munich several times where I’ve been able to experience a few different Biergartens. Each one has it’s own character but there are charming staple must-haves to be truly an authentic biergarten: communal seating, ‘comfort food’, great service and even better beer selection. In addition to this, while some were more on the quiet ‘neighborhood’ level, others were more joyous and boisterous, and featured live music. The Asbury Festhalle has captured all of this in one creatively-renovated building.
Inside the main seating area of the Asbury Festhalle, large heavy handsome wood communal tables span the space. While most of us initially find this type of setup challenging, it’s actually cozy and comfortable; People generally keep to themselves and there’s a feeling of camaraderie with it all.
With large heavy wooden tables comes large, heavy beer glasses - This place does not disappoint. Their selection of beer and ciders is spectacular and offers a wide selection for both the adventurer and the play-it-safer.
Authenticity presides in the food as well as the surroundings. In Munich, I fell in love with a light steamed sausage called weisswurst which is light in color and typically served at breakfast or brunch. I was delighted to see that not only did they serve this but its AMAZING. Like, Whoa. They also have the classic Bavarian pretzel - and it’s HUGE. Monstrous. Great for sharing and completely perfect.
Germans love salted meat. I learned this the hard way while traveling for work, staying at very traditional German hotels. I typically eat a light breakfast so on Day 3 of heavy breads, cheese and cured meats at the breakfast buffet, I came close to losing it. But I do appreciate their affinity for sausage because they do it so well.
The Asbury Biergarten has a great standard menu but also an amazing Specials board which features classic German fair as well as modern takes on standard cuts of pork and beef. There’s also plenty for the vegetarian to eat - fabulous spaetzle dishes, potato pancakes, mac n’ cheese varieties… so darn good.
This is a great place to come in the winter on a weekend to get a drink and a meal that will tide you over until tomorrow. You’ll be impressed with pretty much everything - drink, food, service, ambiance, music, the buzz around you. In the summer, head upstairs to the rooftop bar and delight in the view of Asbury Park while smelling the sweet home grown herbs they keep up there. I’ve never been disappointed by this place and its safe to say, neither will you.
Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten
527 Lake Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712