One of Straits Quays earlier openings was Berlin’s Bier Houz which opened on December 28th, 2010 and recently held its one year anniversary party.
Danny Wong is a man on a mission. A mission to bring his unique brand of German Bier Haus to the masses.
On things unique, Danny even has a unique way of spelling the house bit; it’s Houz with a zed! This epitomizes Danny’s attention to detail and marketing awareness, differentiating the brand and setting Berlin’s Bier Houz apart from other versions of this tried and tested format.
Danny, a founder and Director with Berlin Bier Houz, originally came from a modest background where his parents could not afford to pay for his further education. So Danny had to work his own way through.
Now, with 20 years in Food & Beverage behind him he has helped create, shape and manage this fledgling chain into a force to be reckoned with.
In 1997 he went off to London to further his experience and, naturally for him, gravitated towards Chinese restaurants for work.
He spent his free time in pubs as this is where you socialise in England, something Danny found a little difficult to get used to at first.
In Malaysia, certainly from his experience, spending so much time as the British do in pubs when they are not working he would have been considered as a ‘good for nothing’ or an alcoholic back home!
He found it fascinating how entire families would spend time together, particularly on Sundays, with the parents inside drinking and the children outside playing in the garden or purpose built playgrounds, weather permitting.
Drinking in England was comparatively much cheaper than it is in Malaysia and there was far more choice in beers than in Malaysia when he left home.
After more than ten years in England Danny was starting to feel the pull of home and decided to come back in 2008. He had left just before one financial crisis and returned in time for the next!
He knew he was looking for a job that was in the F&B industry but was looking for something to utilise his European experiences. He decided to marry the two knowledge centres he had acquired, namely European food and beers.
He landed a position with Brussels Beer Cafe, a new bar concept with Belgian beers and food.
This was right up his street and also included another learning curve as Belgian beer is World renown for having the widest possible choice with over 500 beers brewed in tiny little Belgium. Belgian food was also of the highest quality and probably the least known of Europe’s cuisines.
After a while Danny realised his dream was to run his own business and started looking for partners to set up his own European Pub.
He saw many Irish pubs on the market and had just left a Belgian operation so looked at the growing trend of German Pubs and Bistro’s and looked for opportunities there.
He saw that the majority of existing German places were restaurants that served beer rather than pubs that served food so here was the opening he had been looking for.
The first Berlin’s Bier Houz opened, in Ipoh, his wife’s hometown and a city with a growing nightlife scene.
This was soon to be followed by Straits Quay, Penang and then a second Penang outlet but at the other end of the Island at Queensbay near to the Eastin Hotel.
Each unit of Berlin’s Bier Houz is themed around a common idea but each one is slightly unique. This is a refreshing change from the cookie cutter pub operations where you cannot tell the difference from location to another!
The Straits Quay location has the trendous benefit of an outstanding location.
Overlooking both the Marina packed with a mouthwatering assortment of yachts and cruisers and the Straits themselves, makes Berlin’sBier Houz an ideal daytime venue as well as an evening hotspot.
Many times we have witnessed queues outside to get a table, so get there early for the evenings and take advantage of the crazy hours!!
Danny put to good use his knowledge of beers and ciders and proudly not only carries what he believes to be the biggest selection of beers in Malaysia, but also has exclusive beers not found anywhere else on Penang.
One such example is Lowenbrau, a delightful and refreshing German beer.
We talked at length about the differences in cultures between England and Malaysia and in particular how Brits like to drink for it has often been said we live what is called a “drinking culture”.
The British social scene is based around meeting in a pub and drinking. Eating out in pubs has made a come-back with gastro-pubs cleaning up the reputation of British pub food which was at an alltime low back in the 1970’s to probably an all-time high now.
Berlin’s Bier Houz is very much a pub that serves food and as opposed to being a restaurant that sells beer.
Having said that I can’t remember an occasion when we have visited Berlin’s Bier Houz and not ordered, at the very least, the chips and curry sauce as this is the type of food that needs to be eaten when you are drinking.
Berlin’s Bier Houz is reasonably priced and happy hour, or crazy hour as it is called at Berlin’s Bier Houz, is even more affordable with a pint of beer starting out as low as RM15++.
Berlin’s Bier Houz has a great selection of beers, German pub food and a real English pub atmosphere with a pool table and a proper darts board.
Something that Danny is keen on is to promote these pub games more and is looking at creating a darts and pool league where competitions are held between rival establishments.
Of all the pubs at Straits Quay Berlin’s Bier Houz certainly seems to have built and maintained a regular following and I think the pub games would go down well.
With the 2012 Olympics coming up in London later this year we will be organising a ‘What’s On Penang’ Pub Games Olympics. Any pub Olympians out there , watch this space!
Berlin’s Bier Houz
11:30 am – 1:00 am
(Mon – Thurs, Sun);
11:30 am – 2:00 am
(Fri – Sat)
Over Chinese New Year:
22-23 January (Sun-Mon)
Open 5.30 pm
Open usual hours as above
31 January-1 February
Open usual hours resume
Contact: 04-899 8887
3E-G-3B, Straits Quay, Jalan
Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung
Tokong 10470 Penang