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There’s a vegan beer garden heading to Highland Park this summer

Written by
Stephanie Breijo

There’s a lot to love about a German beer garden, and L.A.’s bountiful sunshine makes this city the perfect fit for soaking up rays at a picnic table with a stein of kölsch and some bratwurst in hand. How can you make the concept even more L.A.? Make it vegan. 

Highland Park’s Hinterhof German Kitchen and Beer Garden isn’t your average brew hall, and it’s even more tailored to Angelenos than what you might find in Deutschland: This modern beer garden is entirely plant-based.

It’s been five years in the making but Hinterhof is finally set to open along York Boulevard later this summer, bringing vegan schnitzel, ice cream, sausage and pretzels with beer “cheese” to one of the city’s most vegan-friendly drags. Just a block or so down from Donut Friend, the dairy-free slices at Town Pizza and the rotating cast of vegan pop-ups at Block Party, Hinterhof should enter the scene in late August with house-made takes on traditional roasts, hearty baked goods and other German fare.

“It’s all [inspired by] what I grew up with in Germany,” says owner Matthias Brandt. “Of course there’s heavy food, but I come from a family where we didn’t eat a lot of meat. I know the Germans are known for their meat habits, but a lot of foods are accidentally vegan, like breads and potato salads.”

Rendering: Courtesy Hinterhof German Kitchen and Beer Garden

You can expect to wash down all of these vegan goods with imported German beer by way of 12 tap lines and a few bottled varieties, with a focus on breweries and styles that may be unfamiliar to most Americans—though Brandt’s not ruling out locally made German-style beer, either. Germanic wine is also on the table, and, fittingly, will also be vegan (see: no fish or animal products used in the process).

The entrepreneur and photographer’s had a good amount of time to tweak and finalize the menus, given the project’s numerous permit, demolition, earthquake-code and construction delays that included shutting down the operation for nearly a year to conduct a geological study alone. Now it’s finally underway and, when it opens soon, will unveil a 36-seat garden and an 85-seat interior filled with warm woods and natural light—a setting for breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekdays, with brunch on weekends and a kitchen open until close every night of operation.

The concept’s named for the urban gardens and communal areas common in cities like Berlin, where tall apartment buildings are arranged into grids, with homes built sideways to form these hinterhofs, or courtyards for residents. “It’s a place where people socialize, where people have discussions or meet and have BBQs outside,” says Brandt. “And, of course, they have their beers there.”

In Highland Park’s own hinterhof-inspired gathering space, expect a modern and industrial feel, with fewer flags, taxidermied animal busts and kitsch than you’ve probably encountered at other German beer halls. “It’s not a destination just for drinking—it’s going to be a cultural experience and just a lot of fun,” says Brandt. "Really nice, but very down to earth.”

Hinterhof is located at 4939 York Blvd, and is set to open in late summer.

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