Brooklyn Burger Bar Hamburg, Germany

I always spend some time every couple of weeks looking for new restaurants and bars around Hamburg. During one of those searches I stumbled across the Brooklyn Burger Bar which had opened up a few months back. Located in a former Apotheke this new restaurant came about after three friends spent time in New York City and decided that Hamburg needed a burger bar. They wanted to combine organic beef, homemade bread, and fresh ingredients in a hip setting with new and reinvisioned cocktails. They have also fallen victim to the overuse of the word craft and started describing their fair as craft burgers and cocktails. Once I saw that they also feature a craft beer of the month, I figured I'd put them to the test.

I made a reservation for Saturday night for myself and group of friends. The original time I requested of 7 pm was already booked completely so we opted for a spot when they open for dinner at 6. When we arrived I was surprised to see 15 to 20 people waiting outside to get in. Once the doors open they hurried in and almost formed something that looked like a queue (Germans are notoriously bad at queuing). We went in a moment later and were quickly shown to our table in the corner. I definitely would recommend a reservation for weekends.

The restaurant consists of two rooms. One larger but still small one in the front, which also contains the bar, and a smaller one with a few tables in the back. The place has a shabby chic vibe with a certain unfinished look that screams a desire to be overrun by hipsters. Overall it was comfortable, and I was ready to begin this burger adventure.

Our server arrived quickly and she handed us some menus. I was disappointed that they don't feature their beer list online, besides the "craft beer of the month", considering that the rest of the menu including the cocktails is present. That is something common in Europe that I just don't get. Previous "craft beer of the month" selections were BarBar from Lefebvre and Feuchter Traum from Kehrwieder Kreativbrauerei. This month showed the beer to be Citra Ale which is an American pale ale brewed in Germany by Häffner Bräu Hopfenstopfer. I was all set to order the Citra Ale when I spied the price of 6.50 and suddenly felt just a touch less thirsty (that is over $9 from the exchange rate I looked up while writing this). In the few shops that sell it in Hamburg it generally retails 1.99 and a case of 24 is available from their website for 24.90 which includes Pfand (bottle deposit) and cost for the crate. Despite this being one of my prefered German craft brewers and wanting to support small breweries, I'd rather not do it at a 600% markup.

The rest of the beer list was decent but unexciting. There is Weihenstephaner Helles from draft. I didn't know that they made none wheat beers but apparently they do. When I first saw it on the menu I assumed it was a Helles Weizen. I tried some and it was clean and refreshing and everything a Helles is expected to be. The other draft is Pilsner Urquell. The list of bottles consists of Grolsch, Miller (really?), Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, Jever Fun (alcohol free), and Brooklyn Brewery IPA. Overall I like that they are trying to feature some other beers here not commonly found in Hamburg, but I doubt that many people will be shelling out 6.50 or 7 euro for a bottle. It really does German craft beer a disservice. I settled on the Weihenstephaner Weizen.

Then came the decision for the burger. The best two options looked like the Def Jam and the Backyard BBQ. I went with the Def Jam because of my love of blue cheese and my distrust of Germans making bbq sauce. I was more than a little taken aback when we learned that the burger doesn't come with fries or any kind of side. The fries cost 4 euro extra and the sweet potato fries are 4.80. Considering that burgers average in the 9-10 euro range this place was quickly showing that it is way overpriced and clearly gouging customers. My lady and I decided to split an order of sweet potato fries.

I was impressed that our food came out quickly considering how full the place was. I dove into my burger and I have to admit it was awesome. The blue cheese and bacon tomato marmalade tasted great together. The arugula gave a nice kick from the greens. Despite using organic beef it didn't taste like anything especially high quality. The bun was decent but was surprised that it was described as home made. I also felt the burger was on the small side. The Weissbier was alright with the burger but the IPA or APA would have went better with the blue cheese. The sweet potato fries were good but the portion size didn't come anywhere near the almost 5 euro price tag. My lady couldn't finish her veggie burger version of the Chimichurri, so I gladly took care of it. Despite the disturbing pile of oil that it left on her tray it was quite tasty and obviously made in house. It was a really good blend of herbs and spices, and I think this place would be a good option for someone searching for veggie burgers. The food is really good but way overpriced. I think if they included fries with the burger or made the burger bigger this place would have real potential. Two beers, two burgers, an order of sweet potato fries, and tip came in at 35 euro.

Since I just reviewed The Bird, which is another burger place here in Hamburg, a few weeks ago I wanted to present a quick comparison. Beer list goes to The Bird for better prices and better selection. The burger as a whole goes to BBB as I liked the way it all came together with the toppings and the bread, and quite frankly the english muffin that the massive burger from The Bird comes on looks like a joke. The beef goes to The Bird, because it was just exceptional. The fries also were better at The Bird and came with the burger. I liked the atmosphere better at BBB, as it was easier to talk and the chairs and table were more comfortable. If you want to take a vegetarian out BBB wins hands down as both vegetarians in our party really liked the fare at BBB and didn't care for what they got at The Bird. I was also really impressed with the part of the veggie burger I tried from BBB and didn't care for what I had of the one from The Bird. Despite the slight edge looking like it would go to The Bird here I would consider this to be a tie for the burger place comparison, because I think the burger as a whole entity was better from BBB. In reality though these places need to get together because if you combined their beer lists and what they do correctly you would have a must visit place.

I think Brooklyn Burger Bar has potential, but I can't help but feel that the people who run the place went to NYC and came back thinking they should charge NYC style prices. The burger was really good but not including fries is just wrong. The beer list was decent but the prices for the better beers were unreasonable. The service was prompt and way better than what I'm used to in Germany. With some small improvements I would recommend Brooklyn Burger Bar, but unless you live in Hamburg this place isn't worth checking out.

Overall: 7/10

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About averageguysguidetobeer

Hi, I'm Colin, I love a good hoppy IPA, but I can find immense enjoyment in a solid session beer, imperial stout, quadrupel or a nostalgic beer from my past.


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