Würst Bier Hall in Fargo, North Dakota
For a bar and restaurant that hasn’t yet turned two, Fargo’s Würst Bier Hall sure seems to have emerged fully formed. Maybe that’s because its owners have their hands in several local businesses. Husband-wife duo Bert and Lisa Meyers ran a hot dog joint together for more than a dozen years, and Bert and Klaus Meyers, Lisa’s twin brother, have run another Fargo standby, Dempsey’s Public House, for several years as well.
“I visited just a few days after it opened,” regular John Jorgenson, a 49-year-old digital marketing manager who lives about 10 blocks from Würst, recalls. He’s a regular at Dempsey’s too, calling it “one of the best bars in downtown Fargo.” As such, he says, “I came with high expectations.”
They were exceeded. Jorgenson says the focus on beer from local and regional craft breweries sucked him right in, but he also cites national brands he’d never tried before like Deschutes, Green Flash, Goose Island, Bell’s and Lift Bridge. General manager Whitney Myhra says that buying for customers like Jorgenson is only part of the challenge of running a quality beer program.
“When we first opened up, we were lucky enough to start with a staff that really knew about craft beer, so a lot of it was self-educating,” Myhra says. “Now we have a mix of beer nerds and people who know the basics but are eager to learn. That’s a fun part of our job. There are few things more satisfying than being able to find a craft beer for someone who claims not to like beer.”
To complement a list that mixes German imports (think Schwaben Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr and Hofbräu) with North Dakota staples like Fargo Brewing and Drekker Brewing, Würst serves up loads of hearty German fare. For starters, there’s a chargrilled schnitzel with mushroom gravy and braised red cabbage, and more than half a dozen sausages. But there’s also the unassuming star of the show: a warm, soft, Bavarian pretzel trio.
“We developed a concept that would focus on the beer as much as the food,” co-owner and founder Lisa Meyers says. “And we want everybody to feel welcome, whether they want a specialty beer or prefer whatever is least expensive.”
That comfort lends itself to the bar’s aesthetic as well. Inside, naturally weathered reclaimed wood from an old grain elevator in Wisconsin contrasts with industrial iron beams. But it’s all very cozy—the kind of place where you could drink a few beers, have a sausage, then maybe pass Das Boot around the table with your pals. And with 36 taps to choose from, it’s also the type of place you could hang out in for a while.
“The sheer number of variations I’ve been able to sample have really enhanced my enjoyment of beer,” Jorgenson says. “Having an opportunity to try small batch brews, like sours or aged beer, has led me to find many new favorites. I always look forward to my next visit in hopes of discovering something new.” ■