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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:
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(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 58 | Reviews: 58 | Display Reviews Only:
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 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 gwong
3.23/5  rDev -23.6%

So I came here with a few other BAs in December as part of a Philly-area bar crawl excursion and I was extremely disappointed with the place. Right from the start, we spent quite a bit of time waiting to be seated at a table on a not so busy night - there were tables available but it took them a long time to bus and seat us.

After we were finally seated, we were presented with a menu with a fairly large selection of beers - awesome! In reality, however, our choice of beer kept getting shot down by our server as they were no longer available - not so awesome. Giving up with the menu, I mentioned a beer off one of the taps I saw while waiting to be seated. The server didn't seem to know what I was talking about so I had to physically show her the tap, only to be told that it wasn't actually available on tap. At this point, I gave up and had her recommend me a beer since she would know what was available.

The high point of the experience was the food - they certainly do know how to make good schnitzel.

gwong, Jan 04, 2008
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 mymrnngjckt
3.86/5  rDev -8.7%

Stopped by here on a little center city pub crawl. The place was dark. Very dark. The waitress working this particluar afternoon was very friendly. The four of us in our party all ordered draft and were marveled by the selection of German beers on tap. Who would have thought a German bar would have German beers on tap. My one compadre who only drinks wheat beers was marveled by the fact that she had more than one choice when it came to draft. In addition the draft beers were all 22 oz glasses and only $5. Really great prices for center city.

All in all a great place with a great happy house.

mymrnngjckt, Jul 25, 2007
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 aracauna
4/5  rDev -5.4%

This place is pretty tiny and a bit cramped, but it seems like all the bars and restaurants in this area are that way. Regardless of this, they've got a very cool little hole-in-the-wall bar set up here with an amazing selection of German beers. I ordered a Paulaner Salvator and expected it in the typical 16 oz or even a 10 or 12 oz glass that many bars serve this type of beer in. Instead, they poured it into a half liter hefeweizen glass. I wasn't wanting that much beer (luckily, I liked it) and it kept me from being able to make it to Standard Tap later in the night like I had planned, but I won't hold that against them.

aracauna, Jun 10, 2004
Photo of jjboesen
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%

If you are into German food and, ahem, German beer (bier) then this is the place... And since it is around the corner from McGillin's (see my review) and is strategically located between Nodding Head (see review) and Fergie's, Ludwig's is perfectly situated for a Center City pubcrawl.

There are two sections: to the right, is the homey L-shaped bar surrounded by a smattering of booths and tables and stuffed to the rafters with all sorts of Bavarian paraphernalia; a larger and more formal dining area is to the left. In addition to deutsches bieres (Optimator, Fransiskaner and my personal favorite Kostritzer Black Lager), Ludwig's also offers several Belgians (Stella and Grimbergen) - all served in the appropriate glassware.

And the food is geschmact! Especially the wiener schnitzel, naturlich.

jjboesen, Sep 04, 2007
Photo of calibryan84
4.06/5  rDev -4%

This place was great. I never would have thought to go in but I had read from previous reviews that I would be surprised, and I was.

The atmosphere was amazing. It really felt like we had just stepped into a true German bar. The bartenders and german accents and dressed in german attire.

There were many types of beer. It was my first experience in a German bar so I let the bartender choose the beer for me. She did a great job and the price was not too high. I expected to pay a little bit more in this bar compared to a brewery and I did. They also sell, i guess you might call yards, where you could get multiple liters and everyone share from the spout.

All in all, I am glad I tried it out and cant wait to go back.

calibryan84, Jul 23, 2007
Photo of leftmindedrighty
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%

I've visited here many times, but never reviewed. This is a go to place for those in search of a real German bar.

When you first walk in, the sight of solid wood decor and women wearing lederhosen should tell you that this place takes its German roots seriously. They always have a great selection of Hefe's and Dopple's on tap, from Ayinger, Paulaner, Franziskaner, and many others.

They used to have a variety of house beers, most of them made by Victory especially for Ludwig's, but apparently Victory doesn't want to be bothered with that anymore.

Food is excellent, I recommend any of the Spaetzle's, as they have a great variety of them. The potato pancakes are also dynamite.

leftmindedrighty, Apr 10, 2007
Photo of leeenglewood
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%

First off go in the tavern, the dining room as a bar in it, as it has much more personality then the dinning room and you also have quicker service because it has more refrigerator space for the bottle selection no running back and forth to tell you what they do or do not have when it comes to bottles. Draft selection is always ranges some days from 25 to 16 beers but you will always find something that soothes your pallet and does not just offer German beers as they always have a good Belgian or two and some good American interpretations of German styles. Never have I experienced poor service here and the bartenders in general are some of the most knowledgeable in the Phila area. The food is good even though it can run a tad bit pricey but you have to remember it is a center city location and as such the prices i say are reasonable.

leeenglewood, Jul 29, 2003
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 John_M
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%

Visited this place on a very rainy night in Philadelphia. As it was raining and a Saturday night, I'm still amazed I was able to get a parking spot within walking distance of the Ludwig's.

Had not been here in some time, but the impression I had was that little has changed from when I was last here (several years ago). The restaurant is split between two large dining rooms, both with a nice size bar running along the back. The place was kind of dark and noisy the night I was there, hardly surprising (the noisy part) considering this was a Saturday night in Philly. This place always has a very solid selection of German Beers on tap, the best I've seen in the states. On the other hand, for some reason they were out of a couple of selections (Schneider weisse and a maibock I tried to order). That struck me as a bit odd, considering this was a Saturday night. Ludwig's also has a number of Belgium beers on tap now (now why does't THAT surprise me in Philadelphia?), consisting of a couple of lambics, the Hoegarten and Corsedonk Brown. I think they also had the Hennepin on tap as well.

The service was OK, though the bartender seemed a bit distracted. Nevertheless, I didn't have to wait long to get my sampler of 5 German beers, which I was happy to see included the Aventinus draft. The sampler is a pretty good deal, consisting of 5 8 oz. pours for $7.95.

All in all, I had a pretty good time at Ludwig's, and will certainly go back... though next time hopefully not on a Saturday night.

John_M, May 13, 2007
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 fourohstudent
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

I've always loved going to Ludwig's. The waitresses are dolled up and the beer is always great. Obviously it has a focus on the German styles, but there will always be a good selection of domestic and imports. Plus Victory brews a beer just for Ludwig's. The food is wonderful, true german meat and potato dishes. Don't go there looking for a meal at a great price, but if you have some extra cash and you're in center city, this a perfect place to start off your pub crawl as there are loads of great bars around the corner.

fourohstudent, Sep 25, 2007
Photo of sulldaddy
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

I visited this place with my wife and her uncle during a recent visit to Philly. We had hit up Monk's and nodding head already during the day. Guess who was picking our tour stops?
This bar is easy to find, with a large sign on the front wall and some flags as well. Entering the front door you can go to the right for an area more for bar experience, or to the left for a dining experienece.
The right side has mostly bar stools around the bar, maybe 18 or so, and then some small two seat tables and a few other seats. Not too accomodating, but like I said this is a bar side, grab a pint and stand its ok. The decor is kind of eastern european meets modern american. Ok modern in late 80s early 90s. I remember not thinking the black and white tile floor fit with everything else. We left and went to dine on the other side.
There is a rectangular bar on the dining side with about 15-20 stools and about thee same amount of taps, a mix of German brews and other Europeans, plus a few locals/regionals if I recall. There are several table and a row of booths as well. The booths have a wooden trellis frame over them draped with hop vines. They are real, but very old. I smelled them and the aroma is pretty dead.
We orderd some food, I had a pulled pork spatzl which I found to be delicious, my wife and her uncle enjoyed their dishes as well. I didnt write down their orders, but all was enjoyed. The bottle beer list is pretty immense, and although I wasnt able to get my first bottle order, there are plenty to choose from! Over 100 I think!
Our server was friendly and helpful with beer selections, and was aware that some bottles were out when they were ordered. I dont know how much she actually knew about the beers she recommended, but she tried.
You should hit this place up when in Philly. There are better places sure, but this is worth the stop if you like some brews other than Belgians.

sulldaddy, Dec 31, 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 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 PSUDREW
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%

I was very impressed when I first walked in here. Lots of nice woodwork, period paintings, animal heads. Closed booth, open tables, and bars all available for seating. Service was so-so, but then again, it was about 1 a.m. This was just one of those places you really gotta go and enjoy.Enough beer for all interests. I really want to go back and further review this, but thus far I was pleasently surprised

PSUDREW, Oct 05, 2003
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Ludwig's Garten in Philadelphia, PA
94 out of 100 based on 58 ratings.