Date January 23, 2010 | Map

I like this pub. Spacious and comfortable inside, ornamental central bar, though a bit tucked away in the middle of nowhere between Vauxhall and Waterloo, yet only a few yards away from the Thames. You don’t pass this pub by coincidence, no, you make a conscious decision to go there. And you should.

Zeitgeist at The Jolly Gardeners, by Ewan-M via flickr

Zeitgeist at The Jolly Gardeners, by Ewan-M via flickr

Zeitgeist @ The Jolly Gardeners is a German gastropub, and it is authentically German, apart perhaps from the typical English-style bar in the centre of the room. Not a fake Bavarian impression of a touristic German image, but a proper Kneipe for locals. A bunch of Germans uses this pub for their regular monthly get-togethers, and while it can get busy, the pub has enough space for various groups to mingle. Zeitgeist’s current themed event nights every third Saturday of the month are particularly busy, and that was the reason for our visit: tonight’s theme was NDW = Neue Deutsche Welle, a German music movement from the 80s, which brought back memories from childhood, teenage years and beyond.

However, tonight the group of Germans familiar with these sounds and able to sing along was rather small, almost lost among the horde of people that filled the pub almost to its limit (which probably means half as full as during Euro 2008). We were thus very lucky to get a table, which we needed for our plates: Zeitgeist offered a free German buffet with currywurst, potato salad, noodle salad, and a number of other typical German party food items. Great.

Zeitgeist is renowned for its formidable range of German beers both on draught and bottled. I am probably committing high treason now by my admission to prefer good English real ales to German beer, which I find much to bitter on average. But one of Zeitgeist’s beer taps oozes out Köstritzer, the one German beer that easily passes my tastebud test: it’s black, it’s sweetish, it’s light, it’s delicious. One pint sets you back quite a lot money-wise, even for London standards, but every now and then you should give yourself a treat.

I can confirm that Zeitgeist’s food is really authentic. Definitely not what I had on a daily basis when I was living in Germany, as the German fare is generally far too meaty and hearty for daily intake, but Zeitgeist offers a nice sample of a few regional German cuisines. It definitely helps that both the landlord and the chef are German, as are most of the bar staff. I have not tried their Sunday brunch every second Sunday of the month yet, but it is definitely on my list: eating without pause from breakfast at 11am until roast and dessert at 3pm including free unlimited coffee and tea for about £15 sounds nothing short of brilliant.

Beer in the Evening Review
Fancy a Pint Review
Time Out London Review

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