L.A. Eats: Red Lion Tavern

I’m continuing my L.A. Eats series today with another one of my favorites: Red Lion Tavern.

The back entrance, leading to the fabulous Beer Garden.

Red Lion Tavern is a German-themed bar & restaurant on Glendale Boulevard in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles.

I was first introduced to Red Lion by a friend from USC during my first semester of graduate school. I was living near campus then, so, while I enjoyed the food & atmosphere, it’s location was a little out-of-the-way for me.

A few years later, after Eric and I moved to Glendale, I started passing Red Lion on my way between home and school. “I think that place was good,” I would think to myself as I cruised by. After a few more months, I mentioned it to Eric. He agreed that it was awesome and that we should probably go back again. We finally did, and now it’s one of our regular evening haunts.

Now, Red Lion actually does have an indoor restaurant & bar, and it’s great. It’s dimly lit, there is often a piano player providing some fun evening entertainment, and the service is excellent. They even have TVs inside if you’re the type who likes to go out and drink German beer and eat German food while you watch whatever sport is currently popular.

Once upon a time, Eric and I actually ate dinner in the inside restaurant when the Beer Garden was completely full. There were only a handful of people eating indoors, so the service was prompt and efficient. We watched some coverage of a bicycle race, and chuckled to ourselves whenever a group of people would enter and ask whether the Beer Garden was open. The waitress would glumly say yes, and the group would disappear upstairs. I think the waitresses must hate getting stuck on the indoor shifts here.

The Beer Garden is where it’s at, though. It’s a large, shaded, outdoor patio complete with it’s own outdoor bar. Most of the time, you can enter through the rear entrance so you don’t have to feel bad about walking past the lonely waitresses downstairs.

On this particular day there were plenty of empty tables. I think we beat the crowd.

The beer menu is small but substantial. Eric and I pretty much get the same beer every time we come here: Franziskaner Hefeweizen. They generally also have a featured beer each month and a wide variety of German schnapps. You can get your beer in a girly half-liter glass, a manly liter stein, or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, a large glass boot.


They make share these puppies with at least one other person, and request that you put down a $50 deposit in case you break it in your drunken stupor. I’ve heard rumors that they also have an even larger boot than this that must be shared between at least 4 people.

If you order food here (and let me just insist — you should order food here!), they start you off with a lovely bread basket and cold butter to whet your appetite.

They have a special menu that’s only available in the Beer Garden, but you can also order anything from their full menu. The Beer Garden menu has a number of smaller dishes and American-style food options (hamburgers, chicken fingers, ribs, fish & chips). I’ve never eaten any of the American-style options because… why would I do that? They also offer a number of sausages served on french rolls that are quite tasty. None of the Beer Garden items come with side dishes, but there is a long list of side dishes you can add for $3 each.

Their full menu offers larger dinner portions as well as weekly specials. I usually pick one of their sausage plates. Each of these usually comes with two sides — sauerkraut and German potato salad, but you can substitute the sides out for anything on their extensive list of side dishes, such as mashed potatoes, baked potato, red cabbage, or spatzle!

I was in a baked-potato mood. Would you look at all that sour cream?!

They also usually offer a monthly sausage special. This months’ was Hungarian Bratwurst, which was spicy and delicious!

If you’re not sure what you want, they offer a sausage platter with a variety of different types of sausage. They also have a large selection of other non-sausage German dishes, like goulash and schnitzel, which are both as fun to eat as they are to say.

There’s also a small dessert selection, which I’ve frankly never tried because I’m always way too full by the time I finish my food.

Like I said, we frequent this place quite regularly, so I can’t recommend it enough. If you’re ever in the neighborhood and feel like an authentic German experience in the heart of Los Angeles, be sure to stop by Red Lion Tavern!

Editor’s Note: This post has not been paid for or sponsored in any way, nor am I employed by Red Lion Tavern. Any and all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and no one else’s.

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    Hello! I'm Erika, a quiet girl living in the noisy city of Los Angeles with my husband Eric and my cat Cookies. I enjoy exploring new places, going on adventures, eating delicious food, and taking lots of pictures! >> Read more

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