The revitalization of Asbury Park, the once-popular vacation destination in New Jersey, has scored another victory with the grand opening of the Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten. The festhalle is the latest in a increasingly long list of restaurants, bars, and music venues that are helping to spur forward the cultural rebirth of a town that long ago fell on hard times.
The new space will be the first true biergarten on the Jersey Shore—an open-air, convivial concept well known and loved by Europeans for centuries. The festhalle boasts a 6,000-square-foot indoor bier hall with a 9,000-square-foot rooftop biergarten, leaving room for over 700 thirsty guests during the summer months.
Long communal tables promote conversation while the list of 29 premium draft beers—including an exclusive house-made brew—and over 50 bottles will provide ample choice for even the finickiest of beer drinkers. Keeping in line with the rich musical history of Asbury Park, the Festhalle will also feature a stage opposite the bar for live performances.
The biergarten is the newest offering from Andy Ivanov, the man who brought us Radegast Hall & Biergarten in Brooklyn as well as the enormously popular Pilsener Haus & Biergarten in Hoboken, New Jersey. A native of the Czech Republic, Ivanov has proven to be an exceptional ambassador of the European biergarten tradition. Commenting on his latest brainchild, Ivanov says, “Our vision for the festhalle was to recreate the relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere that my friends and I grew up with in Europe…The biergarten is a long-time cultural tradition where all kinds of people gather—just like they do at the Shore—to have a good pint of beer in a fun and friendly environment.”
A cold stein of pilsner in one hand needs pretzels and weiner schnitzel for the other in order to achieve the perfect balance, and the Asbury Festhalle does not disappoint. Chef and Jersey native James Avery’s menu includes the Austro-Hungarian classics we’ve come to expect from bier halls, as well as refined modern interpretations. A veteran of Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and David Burke’s Fromagerie, chef Avery is combining old school regional European recipes with scratch-made and artisanal ingredients to produce his own creative interpretations. It’s proximity to the ocean means that the Asbury Festhalle will be offering an array of seafood dishes. Try the oysters braten—a play on oysters Rockefeller that uses sauerkraut and pretzels in place of the traditional ingredients of different herbs and breadcrumbs.
The Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten is sure to be a popular summer hangout where guests can beat the heat with a cold beer while enjoying a relaxed atmosphere, delicious food, and dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean and nearby Wesley Lake.