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Ludwig's Garten

Not Rated.
Ludwig's GartenLudwig's Garten
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

58 Ratings
Ratings: 58
Reviews: 58
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.93%
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask:
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1315 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19107
United States
phone: (215) 985-1525
// CLOSED //



Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 58 | Reviews: 58 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RBorsato
3.7/5  rDev -12.5%

Visited on 09/26/06 for lunch and 10/10/06 in the late evening.

Attempt made to look like an old Euro/German beer bar/cafe. Split into 2 rooms - one for dining - one a bar. The bar side was maybe a bit to modern-ish ...

FIrst off, the beer: The fact that they don't have a beer menu is MOST annoying when they're sitting there asking what you want and you have to walk around looking at all the taps to see what they have. German beer selection actually leaves a bit to be desired in the fact that if you 've ever had more than 10 or 12 German beers then you've probably had most everything they have on tap. The beer list on the website is so far from accurate that it must be years old !! There was one Belgian tap that I didn't recognize and the bartender couldn't tell me what it was ... it was a Belgian Dark Strong Ale and I drank that most of the night ... pretty good - wish I knew what it was... :-(

Beer samplers were small considering the price... so you may as well stick with regular sized beers.

I had a tasty German dish (Spatzle) for lunch the day I ate there and it was quite good !

Not sure I'd rush back for the beer selection alone... but the food may intice me back there again.

RBorsato, Nov 13, 2006
Photo of gueuzegeek
4.16/5  rDev -1.7%

I cannot believe I have not rated this place yet!! I have been there enough that I should have gotten to it before now, but I must say, the thing that prompted me now was a very pleasant visit this past weekend!!

It was not all that crowded, so we got plenty of attention from the bar tender. She has only been there two months but seemed to have made a very good effort to know something about all the beers on tap. Perhaps, when some people have gone, they had temporary bar tenders in for things like Octoberfest or the World cup, but I have to say, it seems Paul DOES want his staff to know what they are serving.

Another thing I noticed was they did have some odd-ball bottles from Germany I have not seen anywhere else in Philly. I generally just look at the draft board, and this time, there seemed to be more interesting seasonals than I have seen in the past. Sure they have their normal big-name breweries, but they definitely had something for everyone. They were nice about letting us try something before getting an entire glass.

I also found out they sell a scaled down size (.3 litre, I believe)for those who do not want a full .5 litre of something.

Overall, I do like the small side of the bar better, but when you have more than two people, it is nice to have the larger bar on the left hand side to go to.

I did not get any food, as I am a vegetarian, and don't usually opt to eat here, but in the past I have gotten things specially prepared and they were quite nice about doing that as well.

The prices of the draft at 5.00 for .5 litre I thought to be pretty in-line for an import beer in the area.

gueuzegeek, Nov 13, 2006
Photo of carlosd74
3.18/5  rDev -24.8%

I am know that I am in the minority but this place is so overhyped. Yes the atmosphere is better than your typical suburban Chili's but compared to otehr downtown haunts this place is not outstanding. The waitresses are nice enough and cool in their Eastern European way but I have never had great experiences with the bar staff. They are usually not very informed of the beers they are pouring. They do a good job of being attentive especially when busy with World Cup or Oktoberfest.
The biggest problem is with the overpriced and very average menu - both food and drink wise. You get better German food at otto's in Horsham, PA. The Old Blue Ox Brauhaus (or whatever it was) had more food selections and at better prices. I ordered wild boar and it tasted like sauerbraten...$30 sauerbraten!
Beer selection??? Please...I think people give these guys way too much credit for having the old German standards, macro Euro brews and a few interesting Belgian bottles.
So it is a great place to watch football and certainly worth a stop if you are in Center City East but not worth the #3 ranking!

carlosd74, Oct 25, 2006
Photo of Phatz
3.8/5  rDev -10.2%

Ludwigs was a cool enough place. Lots of classic old wood style decor but it didn't do much for me today. Maybe coming from Monks didn't help. I heard Ludwigs recently had an Oktoberfest party that was off the hook! But today was pretty dead. Still, the bartender was pleasant and she served the beer in propper glassware (they have an extensive collection of glassware I noticed around the room). And they had a number of German beers and others I never had before. So it was a decent place and well worth the stop but we didn't camp out here for long.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Phatz, Oct 01, 2006
Photo of jmatthew
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%

Very unassuming and lack-luster exterior tucked back on a minimally-traveled street, but the atmosphere once you step inside seems to immediately transport you somewhere else. Dark woods, low lighting, beer paraphernalia, and appropriately garbed staff set the hole-in-the-wall local German pub mood. Obviously a good German tap selection. A majority of the taps are immediately recognizable (Franziskaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Paulaner, Schneider, Spaten, Warsteiner), but there are a few nice surprises, like the occasional Samiclaus. The Victory Mad King's Weisse, exclusive to Ludwig's, is reason alone to visit; not to mention a nice local addition to the taps. Beer prices are a good value across the board. The drinking is coupled with all the quintessential German eats you would expect: spatzle, wurst, schnitzels, and sauerkraut. Food as well is generally good and also a value. The establishment is broken into two halves, and I would recommend the bar on the right as it is darker and more cozy, and usually draws livelier patronage than the restaurant on the left.

jmatthew, Sep 07, 2006
Photo of nlmartin
3.09/5  rDev -27%

I must say I wasnt impressed with Ludwigs Garten overall. The bottled beer list was intially impressive; however, after trying to order about 6 different beers I ordered from the tap list. Dammit they are out of Victory Mad King Ludwig. I almost gave up at this point. I settled on a Frankinser Hefe on tap. Not to shabby. From here my wife and I had a few more on tap offerings. Not a bad place to get a pint. The room is a bit smokey but almost all the bars are smokey. The staff provided seeming indeferent service. Hell I guess your mileage may vary. The food didnt look particularly inviting. I will probably give it another try next time.

nlmartin, Jun 16, 2006
Photo of StoutHearted
3.8/5  rDev -10.2%

I accidently found this place when I was staying at the hotel across the street a few years ago. I've been back a few times a year since, and the place is pretty consistant: Good German beer selection and excellent German food.

The atmosphere gives off the impression of a German hunting lodge, especially at the front bar. If you're in this room, look up towards the ceiling around the bar: there's a dried hop garland, a nice touch. Service at this bar usually takes a while; getting the bartender's attention has tried my patience. My last visit, it took about ten minutes before the bartender stopped talking to a coworker and came over to see what we wanted. To his credit, he was apologetic and checked up on us later. The front bar fills up at night with a young crowd and loud music plays (strangely not German, but 80's rock. The atmosphere almost begs for a polka, but that might chase the Chai-may crowd away.)

The back bar is usually a haven for the older crowd, and it's more quiet. I get better service here, so I prefer this area. It's the perfect place to relax with a pint and a bowl of potato salad, which is fantastic. I remember having a sausage dish here once- while its name escapes me, I haven't forgotten how delicious it was. Great place to go for dinner.

The beer selection is heaven for German beer fanatics, obviously. You may have to practice saying the name of what you want in your head several times before you order (What is it about Germans and their love of long words?). I discovered Rauchbier here, but they always have some sort of bock and a heifeweizen (Lemon-haters beware! Warn your bartender!). Nice bottle selection as well, which usually includes the aforementioned rauchbier.

Oh, and guys: The waitresses are dolled up like a St. Pauli Girl label. They bend over your table to put your beer down. Why aren't you there yet?

StoutHearted, May 30, 2006
Photo of gbarron
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%

Hit this place on the advice of several BA's while on business in Philly a few weeks ago.

It appears to be divided into two somewhat distinct bars -- on the left, is a quiet room with no TV's, etc. On the right (where I sat down) is a louder room with piped in music, TV's, and smoking. Bartender was a lovely young lass who clearly knew her beer. She asked me what I wanted to try and I asked her what bocks they had -- she immediately rattled off a list of several rarely seen German maibocks and regular and double bocks on tap. The rest of the wait staff is composed of young ladies wearing very attractive Bavarian outfits and bustiers.

The draft selection was outstanding and logically appeared to focus primarily on German products. As I said, they had several rare draft maibocks on as well as over a dozen other types of German helles, hefeweizens, etc.

On reflection, I should have sat on the quiet side, but I wanted to watch the baseball game on TV. The loud side got a little too loud for me and the cigarette smoke became a little much after awhile, but that is my own fault.

Prices seemed to be very, very fair. I ordered a Spaten maibock which was served in a beautiful Spaten bock .5 liter glass mug with an amazing bock "logo" or coat of arms type thing on it and was pleasantly surprised when my bill was under $5.

Highly recommended. Unfortunately didn't try the food as I had eaten at Monk's only an hour or so earlier.

gbarron, May 25, 2006
Photo of elmocoso
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%

Another stop on our one night Philadelphia beer scramble, our last for the night. We walked into a cozy little joint that was hopping with customers, most of them drinking 1/2 litre German beers and i should have got one too, but was in a Belgian mood, which they had plenty of. Nice selection of German/American/ and Belgian beers. The waitress was friendly and informed. She wore a traditional German summer dress, and even spoke with a German accent, which added to the atmosphere.

I didn't try the food, but from what i saw, it looked good.

I would hit it again.

elmocoso, May 10, 2006
Photo of BillyB
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

The best German beer bar I've been to. If you're looking for German beer and nothing but German beer I highly recommend Ludwigs. They have a nice atmosphere with a friendly (a good number of them actually German)staff that dress in traditional Bavarian outfits.
The tap selection was excellent and the bottle selection was even better. Besides Germans they had some hard to find American micros as well like Dogfish Head.
I didn't try the food but I did notice it was a bit pricey. The beers were reasonably priced though.

BillyB, Feb 06, 2006
Photo of Billolick
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%

German themed, center city , Philadelphia place. Just down the road from the Nodding Head. As you enter, the dining room and bar #1 are on the left and the less formal dining room and bar #2 are on the right. German beer, German food, German decor and yes waitresses dressed in the familiar and pleasing to the eye german barmaid outfits. life is good. About 17 on tap and plenty of bottles. No time to eat but tasty platter of good smelling German grub looked very good. Well worth a visit, for fine German brew, food and ambience. Fits in well on a downtown pub crawl.

Billolick, Jan 19, 2006
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.6/5  rDev +8.7%

Ludwig’s is a fantastic place to get Bavarian cuisine and authentic brew.

The atmosphere is nice with a separate dining room and tavern. The tavern has a few booths, some wooden tables and the bar with all of their beautiful German tap handles to stare at and drool. The selection is really top notch. The dining area is nice with partitioned cozy booths that are adorned with hop vines. There is also a bunch of Bavarian pictures and beer steins on the walls. The only down side is that there’s another bar in the dining area! Great for drinking, terrible for eating. It’s hard to enjoy an expensive/delicious meal when some jack ass is cheering at a television. That’s the only real downside to this place.

The food here is awesome. Great Bavarian food reminiscent of my time spent in Bavaria. It’s hard to get the intangible bit of quality down, but they’ve managed to do it. Well done. Then there’s the magnificent beer selection. Their Franziskaner is always fresh. I mean really fresh. Freshest I’ve ever had it this side of the Atlantic. Geeze. I think I might stop there after work today to get a half liter just thinking about it. They also have a hard cover beer menu incase you weren’t in the mood for Deutsch Brau. There, they have a ton of Belgians, British and a bunch of other countries to offer in bottles. They’ve really surpassed my expectations for fresh kegs and bottled selections.

The service consists of young women wearing traditional Bavarian outfits. You really can’t ask for much more than that. A good deal of them actually have German accents. Tragically, when speaking with one of them, she revealed to me that she was from northern Germany. Gasp! That totally ruined the experience for me. (not really) They do a spectacular job of knowing the selection and coming around regularly. Top notch!

I can’t seem to get here enough. The over all quality of this place is fantastic, but their prices keep me from eating here more regularly. When I do have the disposable cash, I look forward to coming back.

DarkerTheBetter, Dec 02, 2005
Photo of RollingRock
4.8/5  rDev +13.5%

One of the best, if not the best bar in Philadelphia. Plus the food is excellent. Amazing sauerkraut!!! Has the best selection of beer I've seen. A lot of Germans and a lot of Belgians. Plus selections from numerous countries. The beer menu is divided into countries. A lot of rare and unusual beers and beer styles. The only place that I know of where you can get The Optimator. Excellent beer. The waitresses and bartenders are very knowledgeable. Very clean and very nice. The beer comes in very generous size portions. They have an excellent nighttime special during the week and that $3 draft beers! An excellent price for excellent beer.

RollingRock, Nov 14, 2005
Photo of Dennycurr
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%

It's ALL ABOUT THE BEER!!
Simply the best bar in the city of Philadelphia for GOOD beer.
Seemingly dozens of German and Belgian beers on tap and even more in bottles.
Is somewhat small but they do have an upstairs for banquets or...if the crowd is too big.
I've been there many times to drink and a few times for dinner. Some of the times I've been there after a big event...(for instance, the night after an Army/Navy game) they will be understocked.
The bartenders ARE knowledgable...in fact, they are required to take a course on good beer before they start.
Do NOT go in there and ask for a Coors or a Bud....you will look like an idiot and is taken as an insult by the establishment.
One more thing I LOVE about this place is....heh, heh,....all the waitresses are dressed like "Heidi"... (-:

Dennycurr, Sep 09, 2005
Photo of jmc44
4.68/5  rDev +10.6%

Ludwigs has quickly become one of my favorite places to grab a brew (outside of Eulogy). It has an impressive array of beers on tap, which are changed regularly and very fresh. More impressive array of bottled beers. Bartender is Irish and very knowledgable of beer styles and brands.

Food is good, although it cannot compare to true German cuisine, it is among the best I have had in America.

The bar is relatively lively, but not outrageous. It is a nice place to sit back and have a Salvator frisch vom Fass.

jmc44, Jul 26, 2005
Photo of ark57
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%

For as long as I've been in the Philadelphia area I just made my first trip here very recently and I was not dissapointed. I was in the mood for some good German food. The place made me feel like I was in Bavaria, though some might think the theme is a bit much. Service was firendly and fast. The selection is much better than average, but their listing of what was on tap was not the most up to date. I had Weihenstephaner lager and Jever Dark on Tap, but they had an impressive selection of bottles for both German and non-German brews including a decent selection of Belgians. Over all it is the place to come for german beer. I thought the food was really good and the prices were not bad at all. Witht that said, if you don't like German food, then this won't be your thing regardless. I happen to like pork products, sausage, and cabbage. I had the farmer's platter which included a bratwurst, a knockwurst, a smoked porked chop, saurkraut, and my choice of another side (I had the potato pancake). For dessert I has the apple strudel, though I wished I split it because it was quite large. Definitely worth a visit even if you don't want to eat and just want a few to drink.

ark57, May 31, 2005
Photo of ithacabaron
3.85/5  rDev -9%

Went here for dinner the other night with a friend.

As soon as we came in the door, a lovely young waitress in traditional dress came up, greeted us with a friendly "Gutentag!" (Is there such a thing? If so, her greeting was it), and showed us to our table. The majority of the place's seating area is comprised of hardwood booths with dried hop bines running along the top.

Our waitress was very enthusiastic to get our order -- and by that I mean that she handed us a beer menu that had 300 choices on it, and said, no less than 10 seconds later, "So, what would you like to drink?" Now, I appreciate this attention to serving the customer right away, and I'm sure lots of regulars come in and have the same thing each time. For me and my friend, however, we would have liked a few more minutes to look around. As it was, we asked her for a few minutes, and eventually settled on our choices.

Food and drink alike come in large proportions, with all beer at least a half liter, and the plates of sausage, red cabbage, and grilled pork overflowing. If you come hungry here, you certainly won't leave that way.

Selection was pretty good, with a very wide range of german offerings and styles represented. You'll find big-boy brewers and smaller producers as well, all well taken care of, and presented properly.

You're not going to find the multi-national gathering of beer that is Monk's here, but that's not what you came for, right? You came for good, honest, generous servings of German food and beer. At least I hope you did.

And, in the end, that's exactly what you'll find. No more, no less.

One suggestion: Oompah band. Because that would be awesome.

ithacabaron, May 16, 2005
Photo of Sammy
3.35/5  rDev -20.8%

My wife thought it was very homey, I thought it tacky, with plastic tablecloths and cigarette butts. Also I do not have the see so much flesh on middle aged women who themselves drink a lot of beer. Several taps, I think 15 operational, of a variety of German beers, some better rated than others, but mostly fair. Which I like, however the beer tasted old and overcarbonated. You would think this crowded place would have a lot of turnover in product. Also being middle aged people. Centrally located, allowing me to go to other places quickly.

Sammy, May 12, 2005
Photo of Jason
3.58/5  rDev -15.4%

A decent place to grab some German suds. Some what cheesy atmosphere and it seemed like the staff was not too much into it. I had one lightly stale beer out of the bunch but the rest seemed fresh. I thought it was odd to see Non-German brew on tap. It was awesome to see some German pilsners that I have never had yet as well as a doppelbock. The glassware varied which was nice ... there were many authentic glasses. Next visit I'd love to sit for dinner and get a better feel of the place cause the bar area was sort of blah.

Jason, Mar 28, 2005
Photo of whartontallboy
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%

Even from the outside, this place looks like a German beer hall with the hanging flags, stucco facade, and Paulaner sign. The tavern section inside is pretty nice, with the most beers on tap I've seen in Philly. A lot of these, like Gaffel and some of the other lighter lagers. The atmosphere is only okay...it's kind of smoky and the interior fake greenery, vinyl tablecloths, and downright bizarre outfits on the waitresses, but the food was pretty great. For only eight bucks, the wurst meal I had was quite a bit of food, and the potato salad was incredible. Our waitress was friendly and polite, but she was the only person working the 10-12 tables in the room on a pretty busy Friday night, and it was hard to track her down. The selection is hard to beat for Germans and a few Belgians, and the prices on the 4-5 my buddies and I tried were pretty reasonable (under 5 bucks for a draft). I'll try this one again, maybe on a quiet night.

whartontallboy, Mar 26, 2005
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%

As you approach Ludwig's, you will get the feeling that you really are approching an authentic German bar. The decor is done to look authentic inside and out. Inside, Ludwig's is sizeable with two main areas for customers. The main bar as you enter is a dim smoky square room with the bar in the corner and a few benches at the windows. Decor is a bit schmaltzy with the aesthetic side sorta overboard. The waitresses wear those Saint Pauli girl outfits. A cuckoo clock behind the bar , German bier paraphernalia jammed into each crevice like an antique shop and flags just make this place feel like it frozen in time a la Munich 1955.

A giant proper glass pour of Aventinus which took 5 minutes was a nice touch. Five huge pour towers at the bar dispense endless German choices of thee types of Stapens, Gaffel, Kinsale, Saison Dupont, Framboise, Samiclaus, Leikhem weisse & Lager, Jever Pilsner and others. There are two cold boxes behind the bar. Make sure that you check both on the left and right side if you choose bottles. Ludwigs has all three Aecht Schlenkerlas, DFH WWS, on and on...

Since the place was basically M-T, (no body else was here) the server was quite chatty, friendly and full of suggestions. Does this pass the "Could you bring Mom here test? Well, I'm gonna say no, unless Mom smokes and yearns for a taste of the Old Country.

Last call: They actually answer the phone in German. Too smoky with Oldies palying kinda gives Ludwigs a twist, for better of worse. This is not "The Best Bar in Philly to grab a pint, IMHO. The bathrooms are a dump and the wooden stools are uncomfy. Only monks beats Ludwigs on bottle selection. Monks might have the most taps in the city, though.

blitheringidiot, Mar 17, 2005
Photo of ascavuzzo
3.55/5  rDev -16.1%

I have been to Ludwigs several times over the past year since I first discovered it during New Years Day 2004. The Beer selection is very good. They carry a large variety, most are German. If you love German beers, this place is for you. I only had the food once and it was the night I proposed to my fiance, I figure we head over for dinner since we never ate there before. Bad idea! I ordered mussels as an appetizer and weiner schnitzel (veal cutlet) as an entre. The mussels were not good, I mean they literaly weren't good, they smelled and tasted rotten. We couldn't even eat them. I was hoping the veal cutlet would make up for it but it was nothing but bread crumbs on a piece of veal that was a nano meter thick, the meat was honestly no thicker then the credit card I used to pay for it. We did however enjoy our dunkels. If you like German beer, the place is a must, just eat before you go.

ascavuzzo, Feb 14, 2005
Photo of MarcGetty
5/5  rDev +18.2%

**WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO LUDWIG'S?!?!?!****

Most of the service staff are new and not that good and they are CONSTANTLY out of beers! Two weeks ago there was not a single Weissbier on tap! A Bavarian bar/restorant with no Weissbier is a crime! Last night we played a game trying to determine if they actually had anything we ordered.

Bring back the Ludwig's of old that actually had beer (and pretzels at the table if you want to be nostalgic).

I'm leaving my high ratings for now but if I don't see a change for the better soon...



Ludwig's is the best bar/restaurant that I have ever been to. I love the beer, the Bavarian motif atmosphere, the beer, the great food, and the beer!

I've been going to Ludwig's since the summer of 2001 and have blown ~1/2 of my net income there ever since. The quality of everything is top notch yet still so down to earth.

The first time I ever had my favorite beer (Paulaner Hefeweizen) was at Ludwig's, today I have a 50l keg of it at home!

The only drawback of Ludwig's is the price. You can easily blow ~$50 to ~$100/person on food and beer. Last week after describing Ludwig's I said that I always leave "happy, drunk, full, and broke".

MarcGetty, Nov 26, 2004
Photo of ECdOc
4.71/5  rDev +11.3%

Ok I checked out Ludwigs Garten on a Monday night, there wasnt very many people in there so what better time to check out their beer selection without fighting off a stream of generic beer drinkers and the such. The bartender was knowledgable in the different styles of beer they carried and the beer menu was extensive. The only thing about the beer menu is that the ABV #'s just didnt seem correct, even when matched up with some of the bottles ordered. They carry a great selection of drafts in abundance, im not even sure of the # of drafts but it is up there with Monks. They seemed to have two bars but I only needed to use the one, so that will come at a later date. The atmosphere was great, with the moody lighting and old wood interior along with the Belgian beer girl (dressed up like St. Pauli girl style as mentioned in another review) serving tables. There is a lot of things to look at behind the bar and they use the correct glasses for the beers you order. I will def. be back to this place. Service got a "5" because it wasnt very crowded and we received utmost attention, I dunno how it is on a peak night and didnt try the food.

ECdOc, Nov 09, 2004
Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

OK so we stopped here on a late Saturday night at about 1:30AM and it was dead. The atmosphere looked nice, decidedly German with some nice decorations and a girl dressed up in a St. Paul Girl like uniform....ouch! The quality of the beer sampled (Saison Dupont) was good, but at $7 for a 12oz glass it was damn pricey as well! The service was fast and friendly though. The selection of German tap beers was awesome, but we opted for the Saison Dupont which was fresh and tasty. The food looked and sounded good, but i'm off of meat again, and for people like me there are not too many options. Anyway, the beer selection seemed pretty awesome, although very themed and German and the service was good as well. I'd like to come here when it is absoluteley jumpin'

francisweizen, Nov 01, 2004
Ludwig's Garten in Philadelphia, PA
94 out of 100 based on 58 ratings.