Rolf's Bar NYC
Home Up Homebrewers of SI New Dorp Lodge 1092 F&AM About TomKo Picture Pages SI Yanks



by Thomas C. Kolakowski


Every now and again you find yourself lucky enough to find a bar/restaurant that has the perfect combination of good food, good beer and atmosphere. Rolf's (381 3rd Avenue at 22nd Street) is just such a place. This is an extremely comfortable restaurant where you can sit and leisurely enjoy a good meal, easily forgetting the hustle and bustle of the big city... at least for a little while. With excellent service and a rather unique menu (in a city where the unique often becomes common-place) you will find yourself coming back again and again.

The Holiday season is the perfect time of year to visit, as the entire establishment is transformed into a Christmas paradise, reminiscent of something out of a Fairy Tale set in Germany's "Black Forest". As soon as you walk through the doors you find yourself transported back in time to a restaurant celebrating a traditional 19th century Christmas. There are two beautiful Christmas trees at the front of the Bar, all decked out in what appears to be antique decorations. Pine branch garlands are draped down from the ceiling beams with lights, strings of beads, toys and nut-crackers of yesteryear... a sight so beautiful mere words do not do them justice!

The entire restaurant is done is dark wood that is old and in places worn with age. This gives character to the place. It has the feel of a restaurant that has been around for a century or more even though it has only been open for 37 years. Along one wall are a number of booths with a row of tables nearby. The back of the restaurant has a number of larger tables available for groups. The restaurant is a bit small so it is does get rather cozy. The furniture appears to have an antique quality, with richly carved tall backed chairs rather than the small plain chairs most establishments use. There is a several truly antique pieces of furniture to be found, including a gorgeous enamelled wood-burning stoves bearing a traditional German scene and a fully functional street lamp (the type that used to grace many a store front in the last century) is near the bar, which is itself a work of art. It is has beautiful carved features including animal heads and other details. The hinges on the cabinet doors look to be hand made, as are the nails used to fasten them. There is even a old clock, like a miniature Grandfather clock set into one of the bar's shelves. The entire restaurant is adorned with old paintings and artifacts which further accent the 19th century mood.

The food is as beautifully prepared as the decor. As the name implies Rolf's is a traditional German Restaurant, where you can choose from a wide selection of German dishes... some well known, others unpronounceable by this writer. Appetizers range in price from $3-6. And Entrees can run anywhere from $12.95 to $16.95. There are daily specials that include some combinations of their usual entrees, with prices ranging from $15.95 to $21.95. For those on a budget there are sandwiches that average around $8. Their Weisswursts and Bratwursts are a pure delight, unlike many store bought wursts that don't live up to their name! All their wursts are served with a boiled potato (with gravy) and German style sauerkraut. The portions are quite large, so bring an appetite! Due to the small size of the restaurant it's advisable to make a reservation for dinner or if you intend to go with a group.

While dining, be sure to quench your thirst with a nice .5L glass of beer. While they only have three taps the selection includes two brands you don't often find... Bitburger Pils and Kulmbacher Dunkel. The Bitburger makes an excellent companion to a plate of wurst. Rounding off the taps is Dinkelacker, a standard at most German bars. Their bottle selection is equally small, consisting mainly of Spaten Lager, a Dark Weiss and a Hefeweiss. For those not inclined to drink German Beer they have a fully stocked bar, as well as bottled Bud. A .5L glass of beer will run you $5. Rolf's is definitely not the place to go if you require a large beer selection. Their limited size has caused them to choose a few good beers that accentuate their German fare, rather than offer a huge supply of unrelated beers.

So if you ever get a craving for excellent German food in a setting that reminds you of days gone by, head over to Rolf's... you won't be disappointed!

	Rolf's Bar & Restaurant
	281 3rd Avenue
	Phone: (212) 473-8718 or 477-4750
	Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner


Last modified: 04/15/07