Ludwig's Garten

Ludwig's GartenLudwig's Garten
Ludwig's GartenLudwig's Garten
Bar, Eatery

1315 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19107
United States

// CLOSED //

View: Place Reviews
Reviews by nlmartin:
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nlmartin from Ohio

3.09/5  rDev -27%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5

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.

Jun 16, 2006
More User Reviews:
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gwong from New York

3.23/5  rDev -23.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4

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.

Jan 04, 2008
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fourohstudent from Maine

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5

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.

Sep 25, 2007
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jjboesen from Maryland

4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

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.

Sep 04, 2007
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mymrnngjckt from Pennsylvania

3.86/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

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.

Jul 25, 2007
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calibryan84 from Pennsylvania

4.06/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

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.

Jul 23, 2007
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PorterNicole from California

4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I've been down to Ludwig's quite a few times now...first to sample the beers and then to sample the food. I sought out this place because I knew that they had the delightful Spaten Optimator on tap and assumed that the rest of their selection would be just as good....I was not disappointed.

The food at Ludwig's is always amazing and everything is fresh and tasty. The Spaetzle are particularly delicious and they have over 4 different dishes with them. I am also a huge fan of the Sauerbraten, which they give you a huge portion of. The service is also good as they do not try and rush you out of their restaurant (which is great when you are trying to enjoy a nice pint).

The beer list comes separately in it's own book and they have a great selection including Oktoberfests, Hefeweizens, and Dobbelbachs. If you're a beer wuss, they also have domestic beers on tap if you don't want to sample anything from their extensive German beer selection. The last time I was there, they were featuring:

Spaten Optimator
Franziskaner Hefeweizen
Paulaner Dunkel Hefeweizen
Reissdorf Kolsch
Stella Artois
Warsteiner Pilsner

I'd recommend it to everyone. Great food, good atmosphere, AMAZING beer.

Jun 25, 2007
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sraimondi from Connecticut

4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped here a couple of times during a biz trip 2 weeks back. Upon entering you feel as though you are at a European tavern/restaurant. On the right is a upside down L-shaped bar. Probably about 14 bar chairs, and about 5 or 6 tables/booths. On the left is a good sized dining area with it's own bar. I only sat in the bar area.

Draught lines during my stay were:

Ramstein Dunkelweisse
Ramstein Maibock
Paulaner Salvator
Hofbrauhaus Lager
Gosser Blonde
Dinkelacker Pils
Spaten Optimator
Jever Pis
Warsteiner Dunkel
Franzikaner Dunkelweisses

I had about 5 different beers, all served in the proper glassware and at a good temperature.

In addition, they have a bunch of bottles, mostly European; including Augustiner. Has some appys while there and the potato pancakes were really good. Another nice touch is that the bar staff speak German.

When you are in Philly, try this place out, especially if you into German beers/food. One of the better German joints I have been too outside of Germany.


May 20, 2007
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John_M from Oregon

4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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.

May 13, 2007
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leftmindedrighty from New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

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.

Apr 10, 2007
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sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

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.

Dec 31, 2006
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RBorsato from Virginia

3.7/5  rDev -12.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

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.

Nov 13, 2006
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gueuzegeek from New Jersey

4.16/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

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.

Nov 13, 2006
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carlosd74 from Pennsylvania

3.18/5  rDev -24.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

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!

Oct 25, 2006
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Phatz from Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

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.

Oct 01, 2006
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jmatthew from Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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.

Sep 07, 2006
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StoutHearted from Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

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?

May 30, 2006
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gbarron from Georgia

4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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.

May 25, 2006
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elmocoso from Nebraska

4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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.

May 10, 2006
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BillyB from New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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.

Feb 06, 2006
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Billolick from New York

4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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.

Jan 19, 2006
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DarkerTheBetter from Minnesota

4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

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.

Dec 02, 2005
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RollingRock from Pennsylvania

4.8/5  rDev +13.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 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.

Nov 14, 2005
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Dennycurr from Pennsylvania

4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

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 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 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"... (-:

Sep 09, 2005
Photo of jmc44
jmc44 from Pennsylvania

4.68/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

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.

Jul 26, 2005
Ludwig's Garten in Philadelphia, PA
Place rating: 4.23 out of 5 with 58 ratings