A noticeable contrast to New York’s East Village, Zum Schneider’s first location, Montauk appeared an unconventional choice for the biergarten’s expansion in May. For Sylvester Schneider, however, selecting sand and sailboat over sidewalk and subway was a simple decision: Montauk is home.
“I’ve had a house in Montauk for seven years,” says Schneider, a native of Wessling, Bavaria. The southeastern state is the largest, by area, in Germany. “It’s a nice change from the city, and I can come to just relax. Montauk is one of the most beautiful places in the world.”
Schneider, who also fronts the oompah band, Mösl Franzi and the JaJaJa’s, opened Zum Schneider in the East Village in 2000 (the biergarten’s 12th anniversary was celebrated on August 19) because “you couldn’t find Hofbräu München or any other German beers in the city.” Observing a similar neglect in Montauk, Schneider’s remedy is a global matrimony of all-German beer and Long Island–sourced fare. The former, currently 12 drafts and 11 bottles, includes five pours from Hofbräuhaus Traunstein—such as the 1612er zwickelbier, a golden balance of grain and light, grassy hops and the Fürsten Trunk, a bready, bitter-finishing pilsner—a Bavarian brewery only North
America–available at Zum Schneider. A selection of signature cocktails using beer schnapps, distilled beer often aged in bourbon or wine barrels, are also available (exclusive to Zum Schneider’s Montauk location).
“I was tired of the lack of good beer in Montauk,” he says. “Everyone and their mother opens a seafood restaurant, so we wanted to give something different to the locals.”
Though uncertain about operating an all-year business within Montauk’s cyclical, season-dependent economy, Schneider hopes residents visit for a new experience.
“Our first year is going to be a trial with the local crowd, but we’re committed to be here every day,” he says. “As long as people are coming through the door, we’ll be open.”