Hops & Dreams

Modern Luxury Beach http://Modernluxury.com/Beach/digital-edition
by Harry Hurt III

For the best suds, schnitzel and song this side of Bavaria, Sylvester Schneider's Zum Schneider beer garden (5 S. Elmwood Ave., Montauk, zumschneider.com) is the summer place to be.

Sylvester Schneider immigrated to the U.S. from Germany to chase a classic American dream: He wanted to become a rock star. His dream came true, but not in the way he envisioned. Schneider is the front man for Mosl Franzi and the JaJaJa's, which he describes as a "modern oompah band" that mixes original songs and covers with traditional Bavarian music. He knows he'll always have a gig—the JaJaJa's are the house band at Zum Schneider, his Bavarian beer gardens in NYC and Montauk.

"I'm a musician first," Schneider says. "The reason I came to the States was to pursue the arts. But my beer gardens are also a dream come true. I started Zum Schneider because I was homesick for Bavaria, my friends there and the kind of food, beer and music we enjoy."

Schneider hails from Wessling am Wesslinger See, a rural town in southern Bavaria, and attended high school at the progressive Rudolf Steiner School in Munich. At age 20, he moved to Berlin, where he spent seven years playing rock music and working as a recording studio engineer. By 1990, he'd saved enough money to try his luck in Los Angeles; shortly thereafter, he got a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He eventually moved to New York, had two sons and began looking for a way to support his young family.

Schneider opened his first Zum Schneider (literally "At Schneider's") in the East Village in 2000, winning critical acclaim and a large following of both Americans and transplanted Germans; he opened his Montauk summer place in 2012, and it's the gardens' authenticity of which Schneider is most proud. Their interiors are painted blue and white—the Bavarian national colors—and furnished with community tables surrounded by 100-yearold chairs imported from Munich. Twelve imported beers are offered on tap, as well as pretzels made in a Bavarian bakery, pork shank and weisswurst sausages.

And there's no need to wait till autumn's Oktoberfest to start celebrating the German way: The Montauk Zum Schneider has been holding special events all summer (including a slew of parties surrounding the World Cup soccer tournament), and best of all, as far as Schneider is concerned, there will be live bands every weekend, including the JaJaJa's. "I'll be playing music all summer long," says the aspiring rock starturned- beer gardener. "I can't wait." 

"I started Zum Schneider because I was homesick for Bavaria, my friends there, and the kind of food, beer and music we enjoy."