Enjoy a beer, maintain social distance at Bremerhof beer garden in Kaiserslautern
Under clear, blue skies in mid-May at the Bremerhof beer garden in Kaiserslautern, Germans did what they do every spring when it’s warm enough to sit outdoors: They soaked up the sun and emptied their beer mugs.
But all was not business as usual. The Bremerhof reopened its beer garden on May 13, after a monthslong closure due to the coronavirus, but with strict hygiene rules in place.
Gone, for now, are the long tables crammed with strangers. No longer do guests sit a mere sausage-length away from neighboring diners.
Face masks are a mandatory fashion accessory while walking to a table or the restrooms. Even the servers wear them.
Under new guidelines aimed at preventing a resurgence of the coronavirus, tables are supposed to be a minimum of 6.5 feet apart — and they were at least that, with room to spare, in the Bremerhof’s spacious beer garden. It was an odd feeling to have a sense of privacy, along with quiet, in a setting that’s typically loud and crowded.
It was my first time in a restaurant since the pandemic hit. For the most part, I felt comfortable, mostly because everyone was so spread out and the tables looked clean. They’re supposed to be disinfected after each use, but I didn’t see it with my own eyes and had to trust that it had been done. I wish I’d brought a few disinfectant wipes to do the job myself, to be certain.
The menu was printed in black and white on disposable paper. I’m guessing it’s thrown out after each use, since it would be difficult to sanitize a piece of paper.
Though the food choices are fewer than before the pandemic, there’s plenty of variety, from traditional German fare such as rumpsteak or schnitzel to salads and flammkuchen. I tried the goulash, a Hungarian stew with chunks of beef and pork, onion and bell pepper. It was delicious and reasonably priced, at just under 8 euros (less than $9).
Beer usually flows aplenty in a beer garden — and the Bremerhof serves up the usual German lineup of pils, wheat and dark beer, cola beer and shandy, or radler in German — a 50/50 mix of beer and lemonade. Wine, alcohol-free beer, coffee and juice are also available.
The Bremerhof asks customers to make reservations, but it’s possible to be spontaneous and get a table without one. Either way, customers need to leave their names and a phone number, in case they have to be contacted if another guest or a staff member is diagnosed with the virus.
email@example.com Marcus Kloeckner contributed to this story.
Location: Bremerhof 1, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany
Hours: Vary each week; call ahead to check.
Prices: Flammkuchen starts at 8.90 euros (just under $10); salads range from 9.90 euros to 12.40 euros ($10.85 to $13.85); on the more expensive side, larger cuts of rumpsteak (beef steak) cost 19.90 euros ($21.80). Credit cards are accepted.
English menu: Yes
New rules in place because of coronavirus: Reservations are encouraged but not required; customers must leave their name and contact information before being seated. Face masks are required while moving around the restaurant, including going to the restrooms.