When the dearly beloved gastropub The Bearded Lady departed from its roots in a historic bungalow on Magnolia for South Main, it left a void in the hearts of the surrounding neighborhood and locals alike. The building remained vacant for months before quietly reopening as Magnolia Tree Tavern during Arts Goggle in 2018 and unfortunately closing during the pandemic with a white paper taped on the door promising a reopening. That did occur, but it just wasn’t the same. And just as quiet as its opening, it was equally as quiet during its curtain call.
The home was rendered empty once again. Just a charming old house with an appealing patio parallel to the avenue, complete with an intimate bar inside along with quaint rooms for congregating. A homeless home just waiting for her new owner. It pained me every time I passed by. I would lose myself in thought, wondering what its future held, hoping it wouldn’t succumb to demolition disguised as “progress,” and hoping someone would resurrect it without open-concepting the hell out of its historic character.
Then one day, industry professional and multi-concept owner Trey Floyd posted a picture on Facebook of the property with a coming-soon addendum. Alas, she was saved!
While the news broke, Floyd was tightlipped as to what the name and concept would be. One Saturday morning, I found myself peering through its windows to gain a glimpse into that future I had been driving myself crazy about. Then the day came in early December when The Radler’s doors burst forth, welcoming the neighborhood and locals alike. It instantly felt comfortable, like a coat from the cold.
The Radler — like Schlotzsky’s (funny name, serious sandwich) — managed to cause speculation about the name, though once the concept was explained, it tied everything together. “Radler” is the German word for “cyclist” along with a type of beer more commonly known as a “shandy.” The concept provides the experience of a German biergarten offering a surplus of beer either on tap or in bottles and cans, much like its predecessors.
Floyd made a few cosmetic changes — mainly, the caged liquor shelf that hung over the bar is now absent, allowing a more spacious feel to the bar area. Velvet-textured Victorian wallpaper now canvases the ceiling, and an expanded patio has seen the addition of outdoor TVs for your sporting entertainment. German steins and antique plates dot the shelves, and old chandeliers give light to the German beer posters that cover the walls. Otherwise, she has the same bones we enjoyed years ago.
And the menu? Expect to find Bavarian influences, including doughy, salted warm pretzels you can dip in whole-grain mustard or beer cheese, or a juicy bratwurst separating toasted buns stuffed with tart sauerkraut served with fries and German potato salad. Under the gourmet dogs portion of the menu, Polish and Chicago versions share space with corn and chili varieties. Fried pickles and fried cheese curds make the appetizer list along with loaded baked potato tots and chips with queso. Hell, you can even order a cup or bowl of chili. What would a German-themed pub in Texas be without it?
The Radler has already managed to take something old and make it fresh again by breathing new life into a location with a somewhat shaky history. As evident by the neighborhood’s response and already gleeful acceptance, this home will continue being filled with plenty of merriment. Only this time, 32-ounce mugs will be all that remain empty.