Appetizers
January 2, 2013
LowBrau celebrates grand opening on New Year's Eve

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The new year rang with grand opening of LowBrau, a much anticipated German styled beer hall with a sausage-focused menu at 20th and K streets. LowBrau takes over the former spot of Lounge ON20, which shut down in May after a challenging four year run. Meanwhile, on Dec. 31, LowBrau hosted a sold out crowd which included a live performance by the electro-pop Sony recording artist St. Lucia, plus sets from leading local DJs.

Many folks have a business stake in LowBrau. Two members of its ownership group are fairly new to the restaurant industry. Clay Nutting is best known as a local music promoter behind "Concerts 4 Charity," while Michael Hargis' background is primarily with interior design. Nutting and Hargis collaborated this summer to present LAUNCH 2012, a six day festival of music and fashion that culminated with a concert at Cesar Chavez Plaza featuring DJ Shadow and the Joy Formidable. The ownership team behind Shady Lady - Jason Boggs, Alex Origoni and Garrett Van Vleck - are acting as consultants for LowBrau. They're helping to design the food and cocktail programs among other functions, and also have an ownership stake in LowBrau.

I dropped by LowBrau last Friday for a sneak peek of LowBrau, and so far so good. (The pic above is from the soft opening, not the sold out shindig). The new design has more of a funky, quasi-industrial feel and the bar moved closer to the center of the room. Gone are the South Beach-isms and wanna-be Vegas VIP flavor of Lounge ON20. LowBrau is more about wood furnishings, including community tables, that feel comfy and welcoming.

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The menus are still being developed, but do yourself a favor and opt for the pretzel bread as a bun option when ordering a sausage. This pretzel bread is made by Freeport Bakery, sturdy enough to hold up any bratwurst, and with a nice chewy center. We're also liking the curry ketchup as a condiment, along with a thoughtful drink menu that includes a wide selection of beers and some interesting spirits offerings. We were wowed by a cocktail made with a thoroughly delicious German pear brandy. Overall, our taste buds left LowBrau plenty happy but do think the bratwurst itself could be a bit bigger. Look for some of LowBrau's sausage offerings to be sold hot dog cart style on its patio in the near future.

LowBrau is now open for lunch as well. For more info., visit LowBrau's Facebook page.

FROM THE BEE:

* Lounge ON20 to shut down this weekend

* Launch festival officials cite doubled attendance

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