Hofbräu in NYC

Hofbrau is a renowned German restaurant and beer hall that has been a staple of New York City’s dining and drinking scene for nearly a century. Founded in Munich, Germany in 1589, Hofbrau is one of the oldest breweries in the world and has a rich history that dates back more than 400 years. In this article, we will explore the history of Hofbrau in NYC, from its early beginnings to the present day.

Hofbrau was first established in New York City in 1933, just after the repeal of Prohibition. The restaurant was located on 54th Street and Third Avenue, and it quickly became a popular destination for New Yorkers looking to enjoy German food and beer. The restaurant’s success was due in part to its authentic German atmosphere, which included waitresses in traditional Bavarian costumes and live oompah music.

Despite its popularity, Hofbrau’s early years in NYC were not without their challenges. The restaurant was forced to close for several months in 1934 due to a dispute with the New York State Liquor Authority, which claimed that Hofbrau was violating state law by selling beer in large steins. The issue was eventually resolved, and Hofbrau was able to continue serving its famous brews in traditional glassware.

In the years that followed, Hofbrau continued to thrive, attracting a diverse crowd of locals and tourists alike. The restaurant’s popularity was bolstered by its appearance in several popular films, including the 1945 musical “State Fair” and the 1951 comedy “The Lemon Drop Kid,” starring Bob Hope. Hofbrau also played host to a number of notable events, including the first Miss Rheingold contest in 1941.

By the 1960s, Hofbrau had become a fixture of New York City’s cultural landscape. The restaurant’s success led to the opening of a second location on the Upper East Side in 1965, which was followed by a third location in the Financial District in 1972. The latter location, which was located on John Street, was particularly popular with Wall Street workers looking for a place to unwind after a long day at the office.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Hofbrau continued to attract a loyal following, thanks in part to its festive atmosphere and extensive beer selection. However, the restaurant’s success was not without its setbacks. In 1982, Hofbrau was forced to close its Third Avenue location due to a rent dispute with its landlord. The restaurant relocated to a new space on the same block, but its popularity waned in the years that followed.

In the early 1990s, Hofbrau underwent a major transformation. The restaurant’s owners, the Lederer family, sold the business to a group of investors who set out to modernize the Hofbrau brand. The new owners remodeled the restaurant’s interior, added a sports bar and a live music venue, and expanded the menu to include a wider range of German and American dishes.

The changes proved to be a success, and Hofbrau once again became a popular destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike. In 1996, the restaurant opened a fourth location in the heart of Times Square, which quickly became one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. The Times Square location featured a massive beer hall and a large outdoor seating area, and it was frequented by celebrities, sports stars, and politicians.

Throughout the 2000s and 2010s, Hofbrau continued to expand, opening new locations. The restaurant also continued to innovate, introducing new menu items and hosting a range of special events, including Oktoberfest celebrations and live music performances.

Today, Hofbrau remains one of New York City’s most popular restaurants and beer halls, known for its festive atmosphere, authentic German cuisine, and extensive beer selection. The restaurant’s four locations in NYC offer a range of dining options, from casual pub fare to fine dining, and are frequented by locals and tourists alike.

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hofbrau has adapted to the changing times, offering takeout and delivery services and implementing safety protocols to ensure the health and wellbeing of its staff and patrons. As the city continues to recover from the pandemic, Hofbrau remains a beloved institution, embodying the spirit of New York City’s vibrant and diverse dining scene.

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