Wolff's Biergarten preview


Wolff's wurst.

By Jessica Pasko

So last night I checked out a preview of Albany's new German-themed Wolff's Biergarten. The club formerly known as Noche and Jack Rabbit Slims has been given the full Bavarian makeover, turning the firehouse next to Miss Albany Diner into an authentic-seeming wursthaus.

Under the direction of Bombers impresario Matt Baumgartner, the one-time tapas lounge has given up the leather couches and ritz for antler light fixtures, rustic picnic tables and a large, paper mache tree "growing" out of the center of the room.

In fact, with the sawdust on the floor, the trays of peanuts and the wood-paneled walls, it sort of feels like being in a barn -- but in the best way possible. Imagine a place where it's Oktoberfest every day, somewhere outside of Epcott Center. Honestly, the only thing missing from the atmosphere was a few corseted tavern wenches and an oom-pah band.

How was it?

The wurst part wasn't even the best part!

Wolff's officially opens Thursday, but readers of Steve Barnes' Table Hopping blog were invited to come to a special preview night Tuesday (here's what they thought). Being the big sausage lover I am (clean thoughts, please!) I was all over that.

Wolff's sprouts.jpgAnd seriously, the food is pretty damned good. We tried the knockwurst, which came with sauerkraut and bacon-onion mashed potatoes for $8.95. The sausage was good, and the potatoes were awesome. The Brussels sprouts with bacon and leeks were also tasty, and so was the weiswurst we sampled.

The real standout was the German potato pancakes, served with sour cream and applesauce. Oh. Maw. Gawd. I could eat a ton of these, which apparently I'll be able to to do on Thursdays when Wolff's serves all-you-can-eat pancakes for $9.95. Oh, and vegetarians -- there's a tofu frank on the menu too.

Stein o'beer.jpgAdmittedly, neither my boyfriend nor I are beer connoisseurs, so I'm afraid I'll have to let the beer list speak for itself. He tried a German pilsner, which came served in a giant glass mug that was about the size of my head, but I was content with a glass of pinot noir. I know, I know, but I came for the wurst, okay?

Perhaps more importantly, fans of non-American football (that's soccer for you philistines!) will love this place. Wolff's plans to show plenty of soccer and rugby games on their large-screen televisions, and it's sure to become a hot spot for European ex-pats. Ping pong tournaments and a dart league are also in the works.

For the time being, you might want to hit up a cash machine before visiting Wolff's. They're not taking credit cards yet.

Tweets about Wolff's : what other wurst lovers are saying.

Find It

Wolff's Biergarten
895 Broadway
Albany, NY 12207

Weekdays 11am to 2am
Saturdays 9am-2am
Sunday's 9am-4pm


I'm most excited about the brussel sprouts! Charlie say what?

I'll definitely be making a trip! German food is fantastic, and there never do seem to be enough places in the area that serve it (although the Heidelberg Inn in Queensbury is made of WIN). Their beer list could be a little more comprehensive, but hey, not everybody can be Mahar's. Not a bad selection for a overall.

Plus, the in-laws are all soccer nuts, so this will be a good place to visit when they're in town.

Ah! Scratch that about the selection not being comprehensive enough... the list you linked to was only the draft beers; their bottled beer selection brings even more to the table!

So it may also, by extension, become a place to go flirt with European ex-pats. Not that I need another reason beyond the potato pancakes to check this place out.

This review made me... wait for it...

I'll go just for the built-in puns alone (for I, too, am a lover of big sausages). It'll be the best of times, it'll be the wurst of times. Oh, I could go on all night.

Good review. A lot of the commenters over at Stevie B's blog were pretty critical, but it really is a nice place. Excellent beer, great food, good atmosphere, good TV coverage.

I'm not sure if Euro expats will even make a big dent -- there are a lot of football fans native to the area, all of us dying for a place to watch matches other than a lonely sofa at home.

Is anyone reading this an F1 fan? I'd love to sit at a bar on Saturday mornings watching the European part of the F1 season.

F1 is fine with me, but Saturday mornings are football time August through May.

There are Euro expats in Albany? Where do they hang out?

As far as ex-pats go, there are at least my stepfather and his friends. I'm pretty sure he'll love this place.

They're not buying the Klitschko-Gomez fight this Saturday by any chance are they? Footie and boxing, that's all I need when it comes to sports.

@Julia: yes, there are a lot of expats around here (at least a reasonable French mafia). There are mailing lists, Meetup.com and Facebook groups you should look for around Albany, but they are usually organized/sorted by country. Or Wolff's tonight, some of "us" will be there.

Why can't they list the !@#$%^ prices for the beer on their menu?

@Lucy: bring it! I, for one, will be wearing a speedo under my jeans.
OK, wait, that was too much information.

@Ellsass - I screwed up - they are usually Sunday mornings. :)

I went there last night with my boy-freund and had a great time. It was so much fun just crushing the peanuts on the table and dumping the shells on the floor, then washing it down with a nice beer. I thought the food was a tad pricey but not unreasonable. Albany really needs a better transit system to get folks down there.

Heck I don't mind a herumlaufen but that's a bit much of a hike even in most comfortable lederhosen.


Oh boy, there is brunch on weekends. Make Your Own Belgian Waffles! German Apple Pancakes served with maple syrup, sliced strawberries and fresh fried bacon. Count me in!

@-S It's on! I'll be the one talking really loudly in English about money. (Is that a good American stereotype?)

Went tonight, it was really good. Nice choice of beer, yummy sausages, and indeed some pretty delicious potato pancakes. It was *packed*, but the wait was reasonable. The place was very very loud though, it will probably get better once they open the massive front door. If you are an expat, you may want to bring a pen and work on your drawing skills. There is a massive fake tree in the middle, not nearly as tall as Kristi G, who made an appearance and interviewed a few people, *while* wearing said potato pancake on her head: she is really that good.
So really, a nice experience.

@Joe - I am so with you on the F1 action. I would become a permanent fixture if I could watch F1 at the bar with a brat or two and some lovely alcoholic beverage.

As -S said, it was a dense crowd last night, but everyone was in a good mood. The wursts are good, not as good as Rolf's but who would expect that? It's kind of fun to watch slightly pompous middle aged guys in business suits down entire liters of beer in five minutes as they ogle long haired twenty-something girls.

I didn't notice too much else because -S is correct, Kristi showed up, and I was too distracted by her sparkly silver shoes.

Excellent food, and sitting at picnic tables indoors is always fun. The heavy rotation of Beatles songs was pretty sweet, too.

@joe @sarah Absolutely. If Wolff's became an F1 pub I'd move in...

So some friends, Mrs. Slacker, and I went to check this place out Friday night. Holy hell was it crowded. Good food, good beer... just way. too. crowded.

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