Brats, beer and pretzels at the new Der Wolfskopf in Old Town Pasadena

Brats, beer and pretzels at the new Der Wolfskopf German-style beer hall in Old Town Pasadena

Concept: It's a German-style beer hall by Ryan Sweeney, John Bower, Brandon Bradford and Alen Aivazian, the guys behind Verdugo Bar, the Surly Goat, Little Bear and Blind Donkey. There's "Resevoir Dogs" and hockey on the big screens, Battleship and Connect Four games, brats, beer, schnitzel, tots and housemade pretzles with beer cheese dip. Expect long communal tables with hot and sweet mustard squeeze bottles and "Game of Thrones"-ish lighting fixtures. 

What dish represents the restaurant and why: The oak-smoked beer bratwurst with tots — or maybe the Bavarian pretzels with beer cheese sauce. If you're sitting at a communal table drinking a stein of Köstritzer Schwarzbier, you'll want to eat a bratwurst and a pretzel. The sausage is served in a toasted potato bun with a side of caramelized onions, pickles and your choice of fries or tots. The pretzels come two to an order, with a side of warm beer cheese sauce for another dollar.

Runners-up: The spaetzle mac is a bowl of dense egg noodles/dumplings in a rich and creamy garlic cheese sauce. There's nutty Parmesan cheese in the sauce and a thick layer of melted cheddar cheese blankets the entire top of the bowl. And when you heat up the leftovers the next day for breakfast, it'll taste just as good. 

Who's at the next table: An older man with a sweater wrapped around his neck is with a younger blond woman, who orders a glass of Chardonnay. Three young men who look like Caltech students play Connect Four while they wait for their brats; and six older woman occupy an entire table for a ladies' night. Almost every stool at the bar is taken by young men in jeans — maybe looking for someone to share their tots with. 

What are you drinking: One of the restaurant's 13 German beers; a boilermaker (beer served with a shot of Jagermeister, Tullamore Dew or St. George Pear Brandy); or one of the bar's four featured cocktails, including the Wolpertinger, made with tequila, apple brandy, dry vermouth, green tea syrup and cayenne. 

Things to consider: This place just opened, so the staff is still ironing out the kinks. You can order at the bar and grab a seat, or you can order at a table when a server eventually spots you. Expect some lag time between ordering and getting your food. But that's what all the beer is for. 

Info: Der Wolfskopf, 72 N. Fair Oaks Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 219-6054,

I'm buying the first round. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_  

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