Renton just became a bit more international with the addition of The Berliner Pub to downtown.
The German gastropub had its soft opening a few weeks ago in the former location of Pounder’s Bar. Once a troublesome location, the scene of two shootings, owners of The Berliner say they have already turned the place around with their presence.
“And I knew it was a problem bar and the city had problems with it and the liquor board had problems with it,” said Dennis Mascarinas, who owns The Berliner with his wife Lydia. “So, I think everyone was happy that we came in and sort of cleaned up the place.”
One of the changes they’ve made physically to the building is installing windows and doors to the facade to open up the space. The Berliner sets itself apart from the former bar by being a family place, at least until 10 p.m., and offering pub fare above the typical deep-fried menu items of most bars, distinctly as a gastropub.
They are still working on their list of beers, but the pub offers 15 beers on tap and an array of European bottled beers. Along with those 15 beers on tap go 15 sets of glasses each specific to the type of beer. The specific glassware is just another fun detail to German drinking culture Mascarinas hopes to share with customers.
Food will be handled by Chef Donny Briggs who has owned a couple of restaurants in downtown Seattle and Belltown. Mascarinas and Briggs met about five months ago and hit it off and Briggs gets the German gastropub idea they’re trying to achieve, said Mascarinas.
They want to be known for their house-made bratwursts and judging by the way they were devoured at the soft opening they will be.
The pub will offer about a dozen other German sausages, which are distinctly different from Italian sausages because they are longer, skinnier and taste different.
They will be available for picking and choosing from a display case at the bar.
Owners of The Berliner hope that it will be an “events center,” with a lot of activities planned for the upcoming months.
The Mascarinas started a conversation group called the South Lake Washington German Group and they hope to host German conversation nights on Mondays starting at 6 p.m.
They will also show German movies at the same time. Tuesday nights will be for trivia. Sunday nights in the future they are planning full-fledged German suppers for those that want a more in-depth menu. They also will have beer and wine tastings. Tickets will be available for the suppers and tastings online in the future.
Perhaps their most ambitious plans include providing shuttle service to Sounders F.C. and eventually Seahawks games.
“We want to make The Berliner the soccer headquarters of the South end,” said Mascarinas.
They also plan to show all the big matches and local Sounders games at the pub.
This is Mascarinas’ first neighborhood pub, although he’s owned bars – notably Aristocrats in Seattle – and catering companies. He and his wife are both “lovin’” the experience they’ve had so far in Renton.
“It’s been great fun and Renton has been really, really wonderful, not just the people within the city officials but the clientele as well,” he said.
Mascarinas has had the beer-hall concept in his head for more than two years and hopes it will take off because it’s such a new and unique concept for the area.
He lived in Germany for a short time, as did his wife. He studied German and spoke it for awhile. Most of it he’s forgotten, but Lydia is still fluent.
The pub is designed to feel like a German beer hall. There is a pool table in the first section. The middle section has a fire pit table that seats nine people and other seating for small groups. The third section is the beer hall and features two, 20-foot-long tables, high ceilings and rustic chandeliers. The fourth section is an 1,000-square-foot beer garden outside.
“I think people once they experience what we’re doing here, I think they’ll enjoy it,” said Mascarinas.
221 Main Ave. S., Renton
HOURS: 11 a.m.- midnight, Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.- 2 a.m., Friday and Saturday