August Scholz (1826-1891), a German immigrant and “drafted” confederate veteran built his public bar and in 1866 over an old boarding house, one year after the end of the civil war. August purchased the property and building from Sam Norville for $2400 in 1862. Scholz Garten became a favorite meeting place for the German population in and around Austin for the many social activities, German food and beer. August Scholz operated the restaurant until his death in 1891. His family sold Scholz Garten to The Lemp Brewery Company (Falstaff Beer) in 1893. This was the first year of The University of Texas’ official football season. They were said to celebrate at Scholz’s since it was only two blocks away.
The Austin Saengerrunde and it’s Halle is located next door to Scholz. The Saengerrunde purchased the bar in 1914 and owns it to this day. It is located at 1607 San Jacinto St. in Downtown Austin only blocks from the Texas Capitol building. Peter Mansbendel was an active member of the Austin Saengerrunde from 1911-1940 and most likely spend time in Scholz with his German friends. Mansbendel carved a walnut banner that hangs over the door to the Garten in German. It roughly translates to “Greetings from God to all who enter” It is believed this banner was added to the bar in the 1980’s.
History of the German Biergarten
Biergartens were first started at breweries in Germany during the 19th century, in an effort to keep the beer cellar temperature cool during the warm seasons. Brewers covered the river banks with gravel and planted chestnut trees for their dense spreading canopies. Soon after that, serving cool beer in a pleasant shaded setting emerged. Simple tables and benches were set up among the trees, creating the popular “beer garden” we know today.
And no biergarten worth its weight in hops is complete without a hefty dose of Gemütlichkeit, which is a German word that conveys a feeling of warmth, friendliness, and belonging. Reinforced by shared tables, it is often accompanied by music, song, and fellowship among strangers.