Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ladies dining room, Hof Brau Haus

Hofbrau Haus matchbook cover
Ladies dining room, Hof Brau Haus

Location: 39 Church Street (Crown and Church Streets), New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Opened: At least as early as 1909

Closed: Probably around 1967

If you're a regular Lost reader, you may have the impression that all the ladies dining rooms of old were wasp-y, fussy affairs--even if lovely to gaze at in a formal sense. I'll admit it: most look like the kind of dining rooms where you'd live in mortal terror of picking up the wrong spoon. Where you could never indulge in a hearty laugh, at least not without courting Social Ruin. As for breaking out in song? NEVER!
A cozy nook in the Ladies Dining Room, Hof Brau Haus

But when we look at photos of the ladies dining room at New Haven's Hof Brau Haus, we feel instantly at ease. It's not hard to imagine having all your best gal pals arrayed around you, with big steins of beer for all. As for spoons? Who cares about spoons! Laugh and sing to your heart's content. Let every true lover salute her sweetheart. Let's drink! (Cue up the German beer drinking mood music here. And here are the lyrics if you'd like to bellow along.)

Ladies Dining Room and Fireplace, Hof Brau Haus

There must be THOUSANDS of restaurants called the Hofbrau Haus (or some variation thereof), so it's hard to sort through all the information overload. But it seems the New Haven Hof Brau Haus was owned, at least initially, by August L. Janssen, who also owned the Hofbrau Haus in New York at Broadway and Thirtieth Street from 1898 to 1938. When he died in 1939, his obituary mentioned that he also had a restaurant in New Haven, but doesn't provide the name or address. But an advertisement in the New York Evening Telegram from February 1909 verifies that the New Haven Hof Brau Haus at 39 Church Steet was a "branch" of the Broadway Hofbrau Haus.

39 Church Street today
We also know the Hof Brau Haus was open at least as late as 1967 because it had some liquor license problems that were reported in the press. But I doubt the ladies dining room was open that long. At least not as a womyn's space. In fact, I seriously doubt if any physical remnants of the ladies dining room are left anymore, as at last report, the building was occupied by a pest control company and seven or so other tenants. 

So you're still hoping "those bright eyes will shine/ Lovingly, longingly soon into mine!"?

Good luck with that, 'cause it ain't gonna be here.

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