It was 1866 when German immigrant and Civil War veteran August Scholz opened his public bar and café over an old boardinghouse. He had purchased the building and surrounding property for $2400. Scholz Garten soon became a favorite meeting place for the German population in and around Austin.
After Scholz’s death in 1891 his step-son Theodor Reisner owned the little bar and restaurant for two more years, then sold Scholz Garten to the St. Louis-based Lemp Brewing Company, makers of Falstaff Beer.
In l908 a German singing club called The Austin Saengerrunde purchased the property and built a bowling alley near the biergarten. Bowling, or kegeln, is a significant part of German heritage. The six-lane center at Saengerrunde Hall is one of the oldest continuous operating bowling centers in the United States. The Saengerrunde Bowling Club began in 1904 and still rolls today.
Always popular with political groups of all stripes, it’s said that Scholz’s liberal-leaning patrons meet outside in the biergarten while conservatives usually gather inside the restaurant.
Over the years it has grown with the Austin community, from hosting a celebration for the University of Texas football team’s first undefeated season in 1893 to being honored by the 1966 Texas legislature with House Resolution #68, which recognized Scholz Garten as “a gathering place for Texans of discernment, taste, culture, erudition, epitomizing the finest tradition of magnificent German heritage in our State.”
Today Scholz Garten remains a favorite spot for liberals and conservatives, UT fans, music lovers, and families to enjoy traditional German food, raise their glasses and say Prost!