Old-school German fare in a historic setting

Inhabiting the attractively renovated space that previously accommodated an 1890s horse-and-steam-engine fire station and—about 100 years later—the Columbus Music Hall, Gemüt Biergarten is like a time-bending portal that connects our city’s past to its present. This German-themed brewpub with dramatic stained-glass windows, custom-built communal tables and a scenic Olde Towne East beer garden pulls off another impressive feat: It’s become a hip and happening place by honoring the old-school food and drinks of the German immigrants so instrumental in forging Columbus’ early identity.

Bucking the tired trend of focusing on IPAs, Gemüt’s house brews are mostly produced in styles long popular in Germany. This is the place to sip on a marzen, helles, pilsner or dunkel—preferably in a liter-sized, everyday-is-Oktoberfest glass stein. Another reason to drink it by the liter: Gemüt’s fast-casual service means that everything—including every beer—must be ordered at the bar.

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If that order includes one of the excellent schnitzels or wursts (sausages made in collaboration with The Butcher & Grocer), it’ll have you slapping your lederhosen—OK, jeans—in delight. The crackly crusted flammkuchen (or Alsatian flatbread), with melted Gruyère and Cambozola cheeses playing off arugula and caramelized onions, is another strong dish. Ditto for the cheffy salad called grüner salat.

Gemüt’s terrific crispy trout topped with a tangy herb sauce might even outpace those pleasures. Just a snack? The Macedonian kebapi—think spicy kefta kebabs—warrant getting back in line for a second helping.

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