The Bier Garden

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The Bier GardenThe Bier Garden
51 Ratings
The Bier GardenThe Bier Garden

Type: Bar, Eatery

438 High St
Portsmouth, Virginia, 23704-3622
United States

(757) 393-6022 | map

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Ratings: 51 |  Reviews: 37
Reviews by antique:
Photo of antique
4.15/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Whenever I'm back in my hometown, I MUST go to The Bier Garden at least once.

It's a German restaurant (despite "garden" over "Garten") with plenty of very good German dishes, and as such it functions well as a place to take the whole family or an intimate group of friends. The decor is a bit tacky, but I've heard a few native Germans contest that it actually feels like a German cafe or something, so that's probably a good thing. Also, most of the appetizers are a godsend. Especially with beer.

So let's talk about their beer. Quite simply, their selection rules. Over 400 on demand, so the menu claims, and I've only twice (been there maybe 20 times) asked for a beer they were out of. It's overwhelming in the best way possible. All the beer they serve is well-kept, at a good temperature and their taps are always insanely fresh tasting. The bartenders--specifically this one guy who knows me by name--are supremely knowledgeable and friendly, and whenever I sit at the bar exclusively (and even a few of the times I haven't) I'll end getting a drink or two for free, making some visits quite the value for the beers I'm ordering.

If you wanna go to the restaurant part on really any day you should call ahead if it's around dinnertime, because this place gets packed quickly and stays packed until the restaurant closes. The bar is open till 2 (sometimes even a bit later) daily, which is dangerous, and all in all it's a wonderful place to be.

Some of the beer, specifically the bigger craft names that you can often find in your local grocers, can be a bit pricy, but for the deeper, more micro stuff the prices are right on par with what you'd expect usually. Food entrees can also test price limits now and again, but the menu has plenty of good and cheap choices too (including a number of snackier platters that go really well with beer and groups of drinking friends).

Anyway, it's a great place overall, and if you ever happen to be in Portsmouth (for whatever godforsaken reason) you owe it to yourself to visit here at least once, as I guarantee you'll find tons of stuff you haven't had before.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Boone757
4.19/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of Jae61
4.45/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of BillW
4.58/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of frank87
4.63/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of oldn00b
4.39/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Great local spot - about the only reason I can think of to visit High St. in Portsmouth.

Bottle selection is good and tap selection is limited but just as good - Aventinus on tap is fine with me any time.

I don't have a lot of experience with German food but really like what I had here. It definitely gets crowded and isn't the most spacious location. Still if you're in the area it is probably the best place in town to stop for a beer.

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Photo of hophugger
4.24/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75

Photo of feak22
4.76/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of ChrisFu
4.75/5  rDev +8%

Insanely good selection of beer, and the single solitary place I have found in the USA that stocks Augustiner. If only I had a checked bag to return home with...

Having recently returned from Oktoberfest and a week in Munich, this place was just what the doctor ordered for satisfying my craving for more of the great cuisine and Munich Helles I loved while over there.

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Photo of Hrodebert
5/5  rDev +13.6%

This is only regarding the beer here, because we did not eat.
Decent tap selection, and great bottle selection.
Sat at the bar and had a very enjoyable time talking beer with the German gentleman behind the bar.
Both the staff and the regular customers in the bar made this a very enjoyable stop.

 296 characters

Photo of WasupBeerQueen
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Wonderful restaurant. HUGE beer menu. Amazing German food. Great family staff. Bar is also amazing.

100 characters

Photo of Brycehuben
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of BoilerUpNavy
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Pabst82
5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of Beer-A-Lot
5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of RonJeezy
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of thebiergardeninc
5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of EvilBambi
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Hanzo
3.74/5  rDev -15%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

I have mixed feelings from my recent trip to The Bier Garden. The hostess that seated us was terrible, we stood at the "Please Wait to be Seated" sign for five minutes and then just decided to walk in to find the hostess just standing there, she said "well, we tried to put that sign where people would actually look at it"....ok, we did, and we waited, why didn't you come out to get us?

Then she said we had to leave our stroller outside (it folds very compactly but whatever, sure we will). Then two other couple brought theirs in while we were eating...guess the rule doesn't apply to everyone.

Looked at the beer menu, what's that, you have Cantillon Classic Gueuze? Sure I'll take that. "Let me check if we have that"...."nope we're all out". Ok, well Cantillon doesn't come in very often, how about taking a couple minutes to notate the beer menus?

So I order a Vitus and had that with my meal which was good. Waitress was nice enough. Overall their selection was solid and the food was good, but I really don't get the huge draw of this place. I mean if I were in the area I could see going back, but I wouldn't make a special trip. And their draft list is pretty small, a lot of the bottles could be found locally. Meh, I just didn't "get it" I guess.

 1,263 characters

Photo of Cyrano41
4.24/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

I've been going here for several years now. It's a little bit expensive, so it is an occasional treat rather than a hang out. Beer selection is outstanding; the servers are very knowledgeable and ready to make recommendations with a little guidance about your likes. Most of the brews are bottled vice on tap but you can count on the right serving glass. The food is classic German fare meets classic pub fare. I personally love the spatzle with just about anything. Looking forward to meeting some friends there tomorrow!

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Photo of BanjinTsuki
4.63/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

I was on a business trip to Portsmouth VA when I saw the Bier Garden and its claim to serving over 350 beers and, of course, had to give it a go. The results were pleasing, even for my vegan teetotaler friend who was with me.

Atmosphere - um, imagine a German Bier Garden. Seriously, the place is quaint with a German decor on the inside with appropriate ambiance decoration and character, without going overboard. I've only been to one other German restaurant (Cumberland MD - now closed) which beat this place out on decore. Though we didn't get to sit outside, the garden seating area looked very welcoming and pleasant. The only drawback to atmosphere is the restaurant suffers a bit from being a little overcrowded. But with 350 beers and decent food, it is easy to understand why and look the other way. Oh and sorry - no beer maid dresses for the waitresses - but I was there for beer, not cleavage.

Quality - The Bier Garden has few peers. At least when compared to the restaurants in the local area, you certainly wont find better (though the pizza joint down the street had better than average pizza and beer). But the food is authentic, well varied (remember my vegan friend), and they obviously pride themselves on being the best in the area.

Service - Exceptional. The waitresses knew the beers. I bet if I quizzed them on all 350, they would pass. They even chased be down to give me the beer glass I left behind - it was buy a draft keep the glass night.

Selection - 350 beers, 'nough said? Sure they were out of the first brew I picked, but complaining of that would be obnoxiously picky. So, I went with a New Holland Dragon's Milk Oak Barrel Ale (more a stout really) and a draft dark unfiltered wheat Schneider Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock. Both are excellent and when can you say you followed up a bourbon barrel stout with an unfiltered dark wheat? When can you say you drank the milk of dragons? Consider both questions a challenge by the way. No go do it!

Food - Traditional German fare. I had the brats with red cabbage, squash, and potato soup. Nothing I couldn't make at home, but it was well made. I mean, squash is squash - there is only so much you can do with it. It would be unfair to complain that their squash wasn't stellar. Again, they are vegetarian friendly and my vegan friend had no trouble having a decent meal too. If you go, you must try a pretzel. That is not a challenge, it is an order. Don't get all "you can't order me around you pretentious jerk!" It is the best damn pretzel you will ever taste so you must try it. Period. And a $3 (might have been $2), it is foolish to not try this divine treat.

Value. 2 brats, red cabbage, squash, soup, bourbon ale (at 10% ABV), draft unfiltered wheat, and a tip for just over $35. Seems pretty reasonable.

Enjoy when you go; and don't forget the pretzel.

Your bro in brew,
Banjin Tsuki

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Photo of ash111
4.28/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

I haven't eaten here in years, but I've been for beers a bunch of times. The menu is impressive. Most beers are served from bottles, although they have a good number of beers on tap (between 10-20). Selection is impressive from all over the world, and they recently redid the menu so it's now organized by style instead of country.

The prices are reasonable. Domestic craft brews seem to be best deal (compared with other restaurants), and things get expensive as you get into the exotic and hard to find. But if you are looking in the $5-7 dollar range, you will have so many choices that it's almost overwhelming.

Finally, I would say that the bartenders/servers know beer. I've asked specific questions and gotten informative answers that have proved right based on an order. So I have to give them credit for knowing their products- even beyond the tried and true.

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Photo of KeithStolte
5/5  rDev +13.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

The Bier Garten is a local favorite of mine where I bring visiting friends and family that enjoy German Cuisine. Consistently the food is exceptional in quality and maintains a great selection of brews from around the world.

Atmosphere is like a small german bier garten with a patio surrounded by flora and trees. Very beautiful during the spring, summer, and fall. During the winter it can get on the chilly side. On the inside it is modeled after a traditional Bavarian county home with wood flooring and features. Very warm and cosy feel to the interior. There is also a bar also has a nice atmosphere particularly fun and enjoyable during the FIFA games.

Servers and Tenders are well informed and always have a great pairing with the food that you are getting or are planning to get. I personally find it amazing that they are able to keep track of the 100s of beers that they have.

Selection is widespread, with the beer menu being divided by what country they were brewed from.

Food is authentic german cuisine and are highly regarded in the area for being the best food of its kind.

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Photo of CourteManche
4.33/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

The Bier Garden in Portsmouth, Virginia is a godsend for beer drinkers and connoisseurs and should not be missed if you're traveling through Southeastern Virginia. It is located in downtown Portsmouth and is surrounded by historic landmarks, breath-taking vintage homes and the hip High Street.

Tucked between a corner tavern (Longboards) and the Court House Galleries Museum, you'll find a small, humble establishment that offers huge beer selections and authentic German foods. Bier Garden encompasses a cool, air-conditioned indoor dining area (with an expansive outdoor patio) and quaint bar located in the rear of the property. Bier Garden also has an off-premises license, so feel free to stop in at the bar to pick up a Westmalle Dubbel or Ayinger Celebrator to-go!

Expect a large beer menu, quick service, knowledgable bartenders and waitresses, great food, reasonable prices, beautiful decor, quality surroundings and an overall experience that's second to none.

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Photo of jporf911
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

In all of the 7 Cities of Hampton Roads, the Bier Garden is the best place to go for a combination of truly delicious beer and food. Although many of the available brews could also be obtained at one of the nearby Total Wine establishments, Bier Garden offers the benefit of a traditional restaurant atmosphere; however, the actual architecture of the place is rather odd. There are three main dining rooms that do not resemble one another in the slightest, yet each are comfortable in their own way. There is also outdoor seating and a bar that stays open once the restaurant closes. Given its location, it's a pleasure to take the ferry from Norfolk across the water depending on where you live (which also eliminates the problem of needing a designated driver).

As for the beer itself, I have sampled a wide variety of what they have to offer. From macros to craft beers to high-quality imports, they seem to have it all. They are the only place around here aside from the aforementioned Total Wine that sells Gulden Draak, Delirium Tremens, and a number of other brews that are difficult to obtain in this area. They also offer a number of beer samplers in case you want to experiment before settling on a beverage for the evening.

Having been to the Bier Garden with a party of 9 last time, everyone seemed satisfied with the food, both in terms of taste and portions. The cost is not overly prohibitive, and the selection generally seems to compliment the beers being served.

All in all, a wonderful experience that is not offered anywhere else in Hampton Roads.

*Note: for a list of their beer selection, check here:

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The Bier Garden in Portsmouth, VA
Place rating: 4.4 out of 5 with 51 ratings