1516 Brewing Company: Come for the beer, stay for the food
Located in front of the House of Music and a 10-minute walk from the city center, 1516 Brewing Company serves traditional Austrian cuisine, such as schnitzel and dumplings, with delicious homemade craft beer. This restaurant is popular among locals and tourists, who fill the pub as early as 6 p.m.
From a cursory glance, you notice the pub is focused more on the cuisine, rather than the atmosphere. The rustic exterior and locale is reminiscent of many American pubs. Posters dot the bare red brick walls and much of the furniture is modest. Indoor smoking is allowed downstairs; there’s a second floor for non-smokers.
I sat on the patio and had a good view of the streets and the House of Music, which is worth a visit. It isn’t too loud outside, as there aren’t many people passing by. Even in July, the patio was cool and shaded.
The menu, unlike the décor, is quite diverse. The appetizers, priced from 3 to 7 euros, are bar snacks. Soft pretzels, potato wedges and for the brave, Habanero Suicide hot wings. There is a variety of main dishes, priced from 9 to 20 euros: Austrian cuisine, such as Spaetzle, a traditional dish made of soft egg noodles and cheese; BBQ with a house sauce; and burgers. The pub also serve a smaller variety of salads and soups, priced from 5 to 11 euros. Unfortunately, the pub doesn’t offer any desserts. However, there are many gelato shops in the nearby city center.
Unsurprisingly, the pride of the pub is the five varieties of house craft beer: Lager (blond), Black & Tan (dark/blond mix), Shandy (blond/lemonade mix), Victory Hop Devil IPA (whole-leaf hopped) and Weisse (cascade hopped wheat ale). There is also a menu of special brews, unique non-local beers. The beers are priced from 2 to 16 euros, the most expensive house beer being 1.5 L of Victory Hop, at 15.20 euros
My server was one of the friendliest I’ve had in Vienna, very helpful and fast. By his recommendation, I ordered 1516 alpine cheese Spaetzle and a blond lager. The Spaetzle came with a side salad, a nice bonus. The salad had light Italian dressing and was fresh; the tomato slices looked ripe and the greens, nice and crunchy. The Spaetzle was a nice contrast to the salad and was quite good as well. Creamy, but not too heavy on sauces, the dish reminded me of a fine mac and cheese. The melted cheese paired well with the noodles, not too salty or too bland. The noodles were like gnocchi, but with a firmer texture.
The blond lager I drank was similar to the Czech Pilsner Urquell. It has quite a hoppy (earthly) taste to it, and isn’t very bitter. I could see why many people around me ordered 1.5 L lagers. The beer’s slight bitterness and taste went well with the more salty, creamy Spaetzle.
The total bill was 13 euros, a budget meal in a city of pricy restaurants. The pub was the best value meal I had in Vienna, and it was delicious. The place is worth visiting, especially if you decide to visit the House of Music or the Belvedere Castle, the latter only a five-minute walk away.
Photo by Jason Park