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Review: Otto's Bierhalle

The crew behind Kensington’s Otto’s Berlin Döner salutes Berlin’s party scene with a hip new spot on Queen West.

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What’s the vibe?

Otto’s Bierhalle is the latest venture from the party people behind Otto’s Berlin Döner in Kensington Market. Inspired by the electronic music movement in Berlin, the 100-seat space was originally to open as a club. But the owners switched gears and instead fused a German beer garden with Queen West’s hipster vibes and it works a treat. People who come here stick around long after they’ve eaten to sample the beers and hang out with friends. Long communal tables contribute to the eatery’s social atmosphere. Make sure you check out the disco bathrooms – just push the big red button and thank us later.

What to drink?

It will probably come of little surprise that there are plenty of beers on tap here. Not only from Germany, the selection spans across Europe along with some local brewers. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from the staff as they’re your best source for beer pairings. We picked the Ottakringer Vienna Lager, a medium amber lager with grassy hops which complemented our main course nicely.

For those who fancy something with a little more kick, Otto’s Bierhalle also has a cocktail menu. The R75 packed a boozy punch, but our favourite was the Spiced Rum Flip topped with fresh grated nutmeg.

What to eat?

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The food here is all about sharing and creating your own platters. Chef Steve Nguyen, formerly of Terroni, is constantly looking to evolve the menu which has resulted in new items being introduced frequently.

We kicked the evening off with the Brotzeit, a selection of cheese and cured meats including Liverwurst, Goat Gouda and Westphalian Ham. But our highlight was the Bavaria, a huge sharing platter from the intriguing "Feast" section of the menu which definitely lived up to the name. It's filled with German sausage, beet salad and house pickles. The platter's main attraction is a huge Schweinshaxe – a roasted ham hock with meat that falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. It sits atop a bed of sauerkraut as an excellent complement to the meat.

Dinner and drinks for two: around $80

1087 Queen Street West; 416-901-5472; ottosbierhalle.com

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