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Posted on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Old German bar and 'bierkeller' to open in downtown Ann Arbor this week

By Lizzy Alfs

Downtown Arbor’s newest basement bar, the Old German, plans to start serving its craft-brewed German-style beers and chicken schnitzel sandwiches this week.

The bar, located in the basement of Grizzly Peak Brewing Company on West Washington Street, is set to open at 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 16.

Customers will find a new spin on Ann Arbor’s original Old German: a German restaurant that first opened downtown in 1928. Bud Metzger closed the Old German in 1995, when Jon Carlson and Chet Czaplicka bought the building and business to open Grizzly Peak.

Carlson and Czaplicka, along with their business partner Greg Lobdell, are opening the Old German.

“This is a tribute back to the Old German and that heritage of Ann Arbor,” Czaplicka said. “Bud (Metzger) was a really nice guy.”


The original sign from the Old German was offered to the new owners by an old friend of the Metzger family and hangs over the bar.

Melanie Maxwell |

German artifacts and beer signs line the walls of the new bar and “bierkeller,” which is 2,400 square feet and seats about 100 people. The bar has one wood table from the original Old German, and the former Old German sign is displayed.


Ann Arbor's original Old German closed in 1995.

Ann Arbor District Library archives

Two rotating “kellerbiers” will be poured straight from conditioning tanks behind the bar, and Grizzly Peak’s beers will be offered on draft. The Old German also will offer a mug club.

From the Old German’s beer menu: “Kellerbiers: two seasonal German-style beers - sometimes lager, sometimes not, but always brewed here, conditioned in our cellar and served right out of the tank.”

The Old German also has a full bar and “eis shooters” — alcohol served in ice shot glasses.

The food menu includes: beer cheese soup, baked soft pretzels, German potato pancakes, kale salad, a charcuterie platter, bacon and beer bratwurst, chicken pesto bratwurst, German potato salad, a chicken schnitzel sandwich and a hasenpfeffer sandwich.

Grizzly Peak general manager Chris Carrington said he hired a few additional employees, but most of the Old German staff will come from Grizzly Peak.

The restaurant's regular hours will be 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

After the soft opening on Tuesday, there will be a grand opening celebration starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, with a cash bar and complimentary appetizers. There is a suggested donation of $25, and all proceeds will benefit the Vada Murray Fund for Cancer Research.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


The Stallion

Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

If only they allowed smoking like the original.


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

Yeah!! Old German. Wish I was still in AA to join the celebration!!


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 4:15 p.m.

After reading all of the comments,Some of you have made me hungry.(I remember the old German restaurant)Others have made me ashamed to be


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

German Potato Pancakes!

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

The great thing about the Rathskeller not being a microbrewery is that they don't limit their beer to their own in-house brewed beer. So it is somewhat comical to hear of a new German restaurant that does not serve German beer? German "heritage" but not German beer? I guess you can have any of beer you want, as long as it's grizzly peak.

Marcia Stroko

Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

Looking forward to to the resurrected version of a great Ann Arbor dining institution. Bring back the onion pie and it will ratchet up customer satisfaction exponentially.


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

Not sure how I feel about that eagle...


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

He seems to be missing his lightning bolts.


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

It looks all reich to me. Has an authoritative feel to it to it that projects power and an attitude of superiority. And hey, at least it's not a couple geese walking in formation, that would be an ugly sculpting for a bar!


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

Blah...GP beers are not good. New Holland Kolsch is excellent.

Lauren Erickson

Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

I ziehe in und trinken all Ihr Bier! Proscht!

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

If they had actual German beer on tap, I would go there. But just grizzly peak beers? No way.


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

"Two rotating "kellerbiers" will be poured straight from conditioning tanks behind the bar"


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

I call dibs on the first wheelbarrow of German Potato Salad!


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.

Excited to try the New Old German. Sure hope the pretzel recipe is one that calls for a lye/water wash, rather than the "fakes" that are often sold now.


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

I can't stand the "soft pretzels" at the mall. Kids these days don't know what they're missing.


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.



Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

The Old German is gone but I plan on getting to know the New German. Hopefully they've poached some more dishes than listed from the old menu and I look forward to trying die neue biers und essen.


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

If I were attempting to overthrow the government in a coup, this would be the place I'd go to formulate my plans


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 5 p.m.

After eating the delicious potato dishes, you'd be too sleepy and satisfied to follow through. All for the best.

Top Cat

Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

Looks like a great place to drink, eat and talk some treason.


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

You beat me to it TC! :)


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 11:50 a.m.

I look forward to trying it

Jeff Renner

Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

They have the "O" in the sign rotated about 45 degrees counter-clockwise. You can see this by comparing it to the old photo from the street. Regardless, I'm looking forward to trying this reincarnation of what was our favorite A2 restaurant and the beer.


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

Good eye. Looks like it may have been too tall to fit in that space had they mounted it upright. Great sign though and I'm happy to see that they're using it.

Lizzy Alfs

Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

I noticed that, too. I love that sign. They have it hanging near the bar, check it out when you go.


Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

Perhaps to get the best flavor from the beer you'll have to hold your head sideways? (tilted 45 degrees?)