- 1909, 1950s
- Frontier Commercial
- Historic Status:
- National Register of Historic Places, Texas Historic Landmark, Austin Landmark
Scholz Garten is an historic music venue and bar founded by German immigrant August Scholz in 1866. The bar has undertaken several additions and modifications to become the large restaurant and music venue it is today. With its humble beginnings as a favorite gathering place for the local German community, Scholz Garten has served Austinites of all stripes for over 150 years. The site hosts the oldest continuously-operated tavern in Texas, and one of the oldest continuously-operated bowling centers in the United States.
The main building at Scholz Garten is a simple one-story, beige-and-red brick structure with a central pediment. The façade features decorative brick patternwork, wood windows and doors, and a flat awning supported by pipe columns. 20th-century additions to the north and south extend the bar and restaurant to encompass half of a city block. The additions feature similar decorative brick and are differentiated from the older building with brown-and-orange brick.
Following the end of the Civil War, August Scholz’s tavern quickly became a place to enjoy weekly musical entertainment and gather for social affairs. Scholz is believed to have entertained his guests with fireworks, a menagerie show, hot-air balloon rides, and natural spring waters. After Scholz passed away in 1891, his stepson continued to run the business before Edwin Lemp purchased the property. Lemp, of German descent, operated the bar as a location of Lemp Brewery (later Falstaff Brewing Corporation), a family business founded in 1840 in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Austin Saengerrunde, a German singing group founded in 1879, began meeting at this location in 1901. In 1908, The Saengerrunde purchased the property and reportedly reconstructed the original bar, clubhouse/hall, and bowling alley a year later. The south addition proudly displays the words “Saengerrunde Hall 1879” and features a stylized lyre sculpture mounted to the rooftop. The Saengerrunde faced several hardships in operating the beer garden including prohibition, anti-German sentiment during the two World Wars, and declining ethnic clubs and singing groups. With their perseverance, the Austin Saengerrunde continues to provide an atmosphere that preserves and shares German music and heritage.
Scholz Garten has survived as a notable watering hole for generations of Austinites—especially politicians, University of Texas professors and students, and local celebrities. Visitors to Scholz Garten are transported to a frontier-style tavern complete with wood flooring, dark ceilings, German signage and food, and a delicately-crafted wooden bar with Ionic columns and large mirrors. The 200-seat hall and outdoor courtyard have allowed Scholz Garten to continue hosting large events including the Texas German Bier Fest, Maifest Celebration, Octoberfest, and SXSW. – JuanRaymon Rubio, Assoc. AIA