Der Biergarten (finally) set to open next month in Midtown

Workers lay the foundation at Der Beirgarten.

It’s been a long time coming, but Der Biergarten, the outdoor German beer hall made from cargo containers, finally has all of the permits in place it needs to open on the corner of 24th and K Streets by next month.

The concept behind behind Der Biergarten is a novel one: Owner Sean Derfield will use oversized cargo containers to house a restaurant on vacant land. The the idea is that the containers, and therefore the restaurant, can be easily picked up and moved to a new location once the land owner decides to develop the property.

While that idea seemed exciting for Sac Press readers (judging from the comments on our story), Derfield had his work cut out for him to convince the city and some neighbors.

He leased the property in January with plans to open in February, but the review and permit process took a bit longer than he had hoped. On Wednesday, the containers will finally be delivered, and he looks set to open by the middle of next month.

What can we expect:

Food and prices: The restaurant will serve light German food like sausages from Morant’s Old Fashioned Sausage Kitchen, schnitzel, pretzels and sandwiches. Appetizers range from about $5 to $7 and entrees and sausage platters are about $10 to $12.

Bier Garten Menu

Beer: As the name suggests, there will also be plenty of German beer, as well as local and craft brews. Derfield is adamant that there be no mainstream American corporate beers, so no Buds, Millers or Pabsts. When it opens, Biergarten will be able to hold 25 kegs, though that can later be expanded.

The containers: A 40-foot cargo container will house the bar and kitchen, and another 20-foot container will hold the restrooms. Both the containers will be clad in wood panel to help address concerns from neighbors, who wanted them to look more like permanent structures.

The space: Patrons will order from a window, pick up their beer, take a number and sit on German beer hall tables in a 2,500-square-foot outdoor courtyard.

Hours: The venue will be open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends, weather permitting. The closing times were established through negotiations with the city and neighbors.

Climate: The seating is all outdoor, but there will be heaters and blankets for the winter months, as well as cooling misters and shade for the summer.

Bike bonus: Derfield is planning to install 20 to 30 bike racks.

Derfield was frustrated by the delays with the city but is relieved that he can finally get down to business.

"We’re ecstatic to get it open, get some people in there and serve some beer."


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October 8, 2013 | 1:24 PM

Putting the location somewhere, anywhere in the body of the article would have been helpful.

October 8, 2013 | 1:24 PM

On the corner of 24th and K.

I accidentally edited it out and forgot to put it back in.

On the plus side, I responded to your comment within a minute.

Article Author
October 8, 2013 | 1:27 PM


October 8, 2013 | 1:52 PM

Looking forward to authentic German food!

October 8, 2013 | 2:52 PM

Pretty sure the renderings you chose are the incorrect ones. This is what it’s supposed to look like.

October 8, 2013 | 3:02 PM

Switched out. I’ll find another for the slideshow, unless you do first, which is fine by me.

Article Author
October 8, 2013 | 3:39 PM

With seating next to the houses, I can understand why residents would be concerned. Looks like an interesting concept, though, and wish it much success.

October 8, 2013 | 4:18 PM

I see just Golden Bear. Are there houses? Just curious.

But with a 9/10 p.m. closing time, I would say residents should get over it if they live on that block. It should be expected.

October 8, 2013 | 6:37 PM

Golden Bear is a converted house – I’m sure that’s the confusion.

And the original plan had all the seating near the corner, but planning did not allow it.

October 8, 2013 | 7:01 PM

There’s a fourplex apartment building behind the Biergarten lot. A couple of neighbors who live up the block were concerned but the biggest complaints came from nearby business owners, one of whom was very disparaging of the project’s use of cargo containers and what he described as picnic tables for seating. The project had the support of the Midtown neighborhood association and the business association.

October 9, 2013 | 11:43 AM

There are apartment’s above both Golden Bear and Rick’s Desert Diner.

October 14, 2013 | 9:03 AM

I feel like if you move in above a bar you don’t get to whine about loud bar noise. I feel like you should negotiate a lower rent and maybe be happy with that.

Avatar of rph
October 8, 2013 | 3:55 PM

Just nit picking, but, misspelling in headline.

October 8, 2013 | 7:20 PM


Article Author
October 8, 2013 | 7:52 PM

I’m glad places are filling in the empty lots in midtown, and this place looks especially nice. I hope they can extend their hours a bit next spring and summer when the evenings are really pleasant, but for now it looks like a great option.

October 9, 2013 | 9:35 AM

Sacramento Press should not use the word venue in their communications unless they are referring to a legal matter. A venue is the location where a trial or court is held. I know the rest of the country began using the word inappropriately about 10 years ago when music halls and wedding locations became a “venue” rather than a “location” for an event. Used loosely, a venue may be the place where Obama takes the oath of office as the U.S. President, it is certainly not the location where beer is served out of cargo containers.

See the top two Google page hits on definition of the word venue:

October 9, 2013 | 10:01 AM

Umm…no, a venue is the location where something happens and/or events take place. Especially organized events like concerts and conferences and drinking beer in the really cheesey Der Biergarten.

October 9, 2013 | 10:18 AM

Wow, and I thought I could be a little obsessed with pedantry. But I can’t remember a time when “venue” wasn’t an acceptable term for a place.

Please remit your comments to your 1896 English class.

Avatar of rph
October 9, 2013 | 3:19 PM

The Merriam-Webster link that you cited lists both definitions. Both courtroom and location of events.

October 10, 2013 | 10:33 AM

My actual dictionary (a book, not a website) lists 3 definitions, including “A place where a gathering is held.” from the Latin venire, come. This is the 3rd definition listed.

October 9, 2013 | 11:27 AM

I wonder about the economics of a nomadic restaurant.

Supposing the place is GREAT: the cargo-containers exterior and interior is exotic and the food is delicious. Many locals become satisfied regular customers, then, the property owner needs the lot and the restaurant is punted. That could be quite a shock to the system for a delicate small-business like a restaurant.

The restaurant then moves where it can — say to Natomas — and very much has to start again from scratch.

I would be wary to begin a restaurant business with the problems Der Biergarten has had [with the delays] and could have in its future.

The restaurant — before it opens — is of particular interest because of the interesting conception of being temporary and built from shipping containers, but does it make sense? And, do we want temporary buildings popping up that are at stark variance to code? Plus, there is the issue of how “fair” is it for this new restaurant to exist in competition with other restaurants that pay all the regular expenses to be safe and permanent establishments where folks can come to eat and drink and socialize?

But, hey, I’m a Liberal. I favor experimentation and invention. I guess I am hopeful that Der Biergarten is a “one off” and not the beginning of a trend.

October 9, 2013 | 12:38 PM

There are many vacant lots on the grid — no need to go out to the car-burbs.

The concept provides some similar benefits (flexibility) and challenges (“fairness”) to food trucks, and makes use of otherwise underutilized space! I’m okay with it being a trend, if it means more great interesting places in our city.

October 9, 2013 | 1:44 PM

If the owners want long term certainty, they can negotiate a long term lease or a lease to buy option.

I don’t see this building as any more “temporary” than Ford’s hamburger or any other walkup type restaurant with outdoor seating. Its certainly a lot more permanent and a bigger investment than a food truck.

As for the unfairness, if the Waterboy wants to sell $30 steaks out of a shipping container and have customers eat out in the rain, they should be allowed to do so..This really is a relatively small niche and just another entertainment option that will probably draw as much new business to the area as it will cannibalize from existing businesses.

October 9, 2013 | 3:11 PM

Latenite, you ruined it with car-burbs. Don’t slight people because they don’t want to live or dine in midtown; or the grid or whatever it’s called this week.

October 9, 2013 | 4:24 PM

So just so everyone understands. We ( the owners of Der Biergarten) have had to submit to the same codes as a building that would be put at that location. In fact the planning and building department has went over everything with a fine tooth comb as to avoid any misses encase someone else would like to do a similar project.

We have had to pay the same building permits and planning fee’s about $22K. at this point, more to come. We will also be doing improvements to the sidewalk and ally access at our cost another $15k. This is all paid by us, not the property owner.

We also had to change the concept around from what we envisioned and wanted to do , Cost of that about 60k. This is not to mention all the architect fee’s, contractor fee’s etc…

All in all, a lot of $$ for a small business owner like myself to try to open something different in Midtown. A place where you can walk / bike to socialize, enjoy a ice cold beverage and some lite German fare. Not trying to be trendy, just different…

We hope to have you out to check it out and ask for me, I’m the one that will be there 70 – 80 hours a week, believing in Midtown and willing to invest in it, just like the many other small business minds that make it a great place in the city.


Avatar of ccc
October 9, 2013 | 4:27 PM

fairness has nothing to do with capitalism. who cares if the place is brick or portable? if restauarant owners don’t like it too bad. what is the issue? food is served from hundreds of ingenious venues (that is for the human lexicon) around the globe. time to loosen up and worry about things that matter, not where i get my beer and food from.

October 10, 2013 | 3:42 AM

Thanks for all the information!

Seandell/Prost: I didn’t realize the city would demand so much from you for what seemed (to me) like a temporary situation. I wish you success, but, now, reading your comment, the endeavor sounds all the more like a gutsy play.

October 10, 2013 | 10:16 AM

Good on ya Sean. I’ll be enjoying many a beer there, and am totally down with sharing blankets. (I hope you’re serious about that.)

Sorry you have to guinea pig a new concept to resolute planners and the occasional intransigent business owner and neighbor at your own expense, but you continue to have many supporters on and off the grid.

October 10, 2013 | 11:11 AM

Tom, yes very gutsy play. Lets just hope the city will let us open later in the next year as closing times are a bit earlier then we asked for.

Thanks Ryan…

October 10, 2013 | 5:25 PM

Whenever the time is right, I am sure many would love to hear all about the Sac City permitting process.

Did our local councilghost Steve Hansen ever step in to help facilitate? Any boneheads in particular at down at the building / planning department you want to name?

It is befuddling that Sacramentans continue to accept such extreme city obstructionism between a man who has beer,picnic tables and sausages and customers who want those things.

October 11, 2013 | 2:25 PM

Some of the resistance comes from other businesses who want those customers, on the assumption that there is a limited market and they were here first.

October 9, 2013 | 1:36 PM

Your hopeful more lot’s stay vacant?

October 9, 2013 | 1:40 PM

So, it’s going to be exactly like LowBrau.

October 9, 2013 | 3:02 PM

The lot used to be a “Beer Garden” I believe. There used to be a sign that said Beer Garden. This was before the revitalized midtown as we know today.

Avatar of ccc
October 9, 2013 | 4:28 PM

that was a sign at the store currently occupied by golden bear i believe. the lot was a restaurant named pava’s.

October 9, 2013 | 3:03 PM

i think this is 5 years too early for turning the alcohol alley south of K street. living on this alley at the other in the of block, i have heard an almost perpetual “2nd saturday night” thru my bedroom window, and i do mean most every night! i like beer and bier and biere. even the ABC was surprised the city gave its OK. perhaps it was because the “neighborhood association” gave its approval, they live far away. but they are protesting mightily an 8pm closing winery and brewery on R street where there art nothing. oh the quiet politics of sacramento.

October 10, 2013 | 8:00 AM

I know it’s an Olympic sport to hate on Sacramento, but that’s the quiet politics of every city. It’s just more fun to complain about it here I guess.

October 10, 2013 | 8:42 AM

Menu looks great & I was drooling reading it. :-) Prices seem friendly enough, with the exception of the $6.95 strudel. Seems to me that should be about $3.95….unless it’s some gi-normous serving.
Too bad the place is having such a delayed opening, just in time for the rainy season. I’m sure that delay has put them much farther into a financial hole than they’d anticipated. Thanks, City.

October 10, 2013 | 11:15 AM

Yes bob, in the hole a bit. Lets hope for a dry winter… And strudel is cheaper. I believe that was a miss print. Prost..

October 10, 2013 | 5:08 PM

Seandell, you should demand your money back from whomever did your menu: “desert”, “extra’s”, “Bier Garten” or “Biergarten” (pick one and stick with it), etc.

October 12, 2013 | 10:34 AM

Good luck to the owners! I’m in favor for anything new to midtown & downtown and that will draw people out at night. Not a fan of German beers but love craft beer so I’ll definitely be checking this place out!

October 12, 2013 | 9:19 PM

I’m looking forward to it! I like German food, beer and culture.

October 13, 2013 | 5:57 PM

My bros and I are excited about this place. We are ready to roll on over when it opens.

Avatar of P W
January 8, 2014 | 1:59 PM

Well this is just sad. I haven’t been to the Sacpress site for a few months…and it feels like I’m walking through a ghost town. What happened?

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