Word has gotten around in blogdom that the ornate Lowenbrou Keller on Beverly Blvd in the Historic Filipinotown area - not "Silver Lake-ish" as other sources say (why do hipsters insist that anything midway between Downtown and Hollywood is all "Silverlake, CA" [sic]? Answer: Hipsters like to pretend that ethnic communities don't exist) - is closing down, so the Militant and one of his operatives decided to bid auf wiedersehen to the establishment on Thursday evening with a dinner and some beers (Spaten Munich, baby -- there was once a time when the Militant did not like beer...until he visited Germany).
The Militant parked his bike in the restaurant's lot, which was unusually full. Though it wasn't packed, it had perhaps eight times more people than there were the first time the Militant ate there when he used to work nearby.
The restaurant, which was supposed to close down on Friday, is staying open a little longer -- "until the food runs out." For those of you planning to bid them a final guten nacht, please make dinner reservations in advance or come in a small group. A group of about seven people got turned away.
There was no menu, but instead the waitress gave us the choice of either the Farmer's Plate (smoked porkchop, ham and sausage), the Chicken Schnitzel, Bratwurst or Hungarian Sausage. I opted for the Farmer's Plate (pictured right), the operative had the Schnitzel.
The food took a while, but the kitchen staff of two people were already overburdened. The Militant didn't really care for the porkchop and the ham, but the sausage was great and so was the schnitzel. The grilled potatoes were a nice bonus, as well as the sauerkraut.
A photographer for a major area newspaper dropped in and snapped photos of the ornate, Teutonic-themed interior, a quasi-kitschy collection of woodcarved beer barrels, elk busts, stuffed birds, armored knights, cherub statues and travel posters promoting Bayern (das ist Deutsch für "Bavaria") designed by movie set designer George Eder, who opened the restaurant 40 years ago. His widow, Renate Eder, the owner, urged the photog, "No more photos!" and even offered him a free pint of beer to make him stop -- apparently the sudden surge of word-of-mouth publicity has been too much for them to take.
Much has been discussed about the fate of the restaurant and its surrounding land parcel, which is being sold to its new Korean owners (trust the Militant, they are not "Chinese," as other blogs have reported). Word is that the decor will remain, but that the place will reportedly be renamed "Medusa Lounge." For those of you worried about the name, fear not, it will most likely change its name after six months of opening (a well-known secret in the expatriate Korean business community timed in accordance with the terms of small business loans and the expiration of B-1 visas). Whether the new incarnation of Lowenbrau Keller will be a publicly-accessible bar/lounge or a private-membership club remains to be seen.
The Militant is fully aware that the near future will see a land-grab war in the gentro-vulnerable west-of-Downtown area which encompasses Historic Filipinotown, Westlake and parts of Pico-Union. White hipsters seek to see an expansion of all that is "Silverlake" and expatriate Korean investors seek an expansion of all that is "Koreatown" (and operate under an entirely different set of rules than celebrated Korean American entrepreneurs like Pinkberry's Sherry Hwang or ice cream guru Tai Kim of SCOOPS fame - both of which have built their respective successes through a more mainstream clientele). The Militant takes no sides, of course, but would just [sarcasm mode: on] love [sarcasm mode: off] to see how this battle turns out.