We know—we've worked this sausage-and-beer hall into just about every issue since it opened. But this is the quintessential new-school neighborhood bar. The long picnic tables offer a slice of downtown life, circa 2009. Fashion District employees with funny haircuts chat over obscure Doppelbocks. A birthday party looks as if it includes the entire lower ranks of Deloitte & Touche. A middle-aged couple chuckles at their rabbit and rattlesnake sausage, while underage USC students suck on their small-batch sodas, disappointed. The modern beer hall boasts the city's most impressive collection of Belgian and German brews—ideal for slow drinking and goblet smacking. Locals count: 12.5 percent. Signature drink: PBR (we kid!—though they have it). Go for the Optimator. Bonus points: Gourmet sausages range from the classic brat to nouveaux game meats.
Best Restaurant for a Man Date, August 2009
This modern take on a classic German beer hall serves one heck of a bar munchie: gourmet sausage. The house-made links range from traditional brat to a Filipino Marharlika to one with duck, bacon, and jalapeños—all with a choice of toppings. Our favorite: the spicy Austin Blues, with smoked pork. Fries are burly and cut Belgian style.