More recently, in 2014, new owners Andrew Chun and Jan Wiginton did a major remodel that respected the history of Schroeder's but acknowledged the future of San Francisco.
The result is a beer hall unlike any other.
Schroeder's selection of beer — Photo courtesy of Schroeder's
Before the major renovation, Schroeder's was well-known for being one of the last all-male clubs in San Francisco, a patronage that lasted into the 1970s.
But along with the soot from the cigar smoke that had to be scraped from the ceiling, there's no trace of that tradition in today's Schroeder's.
What was kept from the past was what deserved preservation, such as the gorgeous Herman Richter murals, painstakingly refinished, and the commanding main bar, so old it was built on the East Coast and then brought around South America because there was no Panama Canal at the time.
One of several Richter paintings that creates a fun atmosphere in Schroeder's — Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy
And the stein lockers are the perfect example of Schroeder's main vibe: old world elegance of Germany mixed with new world hi-jinks of San Francisco. Tech companies have their classic German beer mugs stenciled with their names and kept in lockers.
As far as nightlife, there's no place but Schroeder's if you're in San Francisco during Oktoberfest. But that tradition is kept alive throughout the year with Second Saturdays.
This rowdy event features stein-chugging contests and sausage-eating contests. Most weekends also feature live music. (The funky accordion band Polkalicious is a fan favorite.)
Schroeder's is a big beer hall of German fun – just waiting for you in the Financial District of San Francisco — Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy
And, yes. They have beer.
A "tour" of German beers is a great way to get a taste before committing to a big stein. A thoughtful selection of German and American wines are also available, as well as some specialty cocktails, such as the Klein Blumchen (Jasmine green tea-infused Tito’s vodka, apricot Luxardo liqueur, citrus and soda).
For those who want to party like real Germans, food should go hand in hand with your drink.
"German food is notoriously heavy, but our local, California ingredients keep the food light," explains Head Chef Manfred Wrembel. "I like to say my favorite region of Germany is California."
The Grilled Pole Bean Salad is a perfect combination of California and German traditions, as well a lovely balance of savory and sweet: radish, sunflower seeds, preserved lemon and crispy pig ears.
If you want to rub elbows with the tech glitterati of San Francisco but still hold a traditional beer and sausage in your hands, then choose Schroeder's to kick off your night on the town.