The Standard downtown opens rooftop biergarten
Hotelier André Balazs and chef Kurt Gutenbrunner have converted the rooftop of the downtown Standard -- an early-2000s landmark known for its vibrating waterbed pods and mojitos -- into a biergarten (just in time for Oktoberfest).
"The whole premise behind the Standard is that it's an affordable boutique hotel," Balazs says. "Similarly, with a biergarten it's fun, high-quality and available to everybody."
Like the biergarten at the Standard hotel in New York, the open-air space -- with pretty glorious downtown views -- features a classic German menu by Austrian chef Gutenbrunner (Wallsé, Café Sabarsky, Blaue Gans). Meanwhile, servers sport T-shirts with screenprinted designs of lederhosen and dirndls.
The rooftop's so-called grassy knoll now features communal tables that seat 105, a foosball table and a ticket booth. Each $8 ticket buys guests two sausages, two salad options, a big pretzel, a beer or a glass of German soda or wine.
On Gutenbrunner's menu are currywurst, spicy pork bratwurst with curry and white radish salad, and Bavarian weisswurst, made with white veal and pork, with cucumber and potato salad. Side salads such as sauerkraut with Riesling, and red cabbage salad with apples and walnuts are optional sausage accompaniments. Beers include Bitburger Premium Pils; Licher, a German hefeweizen; and a Kostritzer dark beer.
"It feels just like Bavaria," says Gutenbrunner, who along with Balazs was in Los Angeles for the weekend. "We took this idea of the German street food –- dishes like the currywurst, which is hugely popular in the Cologne area, and weisswurst, a very classic Bavarian sausage. The beers –- I'm a strong believer that beer tastes the best if the keg is fresh and it doesn't sit around too long. I have only three beers which cover the range of German beers -– pilsner, unfiltered wheat beer and a dark beer.... That's the way we do it -- every beer garden has a commitment to their own beer."
Balazs says he is planning a new concept at the restaurant at the Standard in West Hollywood. No plans for a biergarten; for now they're still serving cosmos there.
550 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, (213) 892-8080, www.standardhotels.com/los-angeles/. Hours are noon to 1 a.m.
-- Betty Hallock
Photos: From top, the Standard biergarten, Kurt Gutenbrunner, the ticket booth. Credit: Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times