Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on July 10, 2023.
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The era of the social club often feels like a distant memory. But Pittsburgh is actually home to many private clubs focusing on heritage, sports, and a whole lot more.
Perhaps one of the most well known is Teutonia Mannerchor, the German club residing in none other than Deutschtown in the North Side. Not only is this one of Pittsburgh's oldest and largest private clubs, it is also somewhat difficult to get into without knowing a member or joining yourself.
Thankfully, Teutonia Mannerchor offers a number of public-facing events throughout the year. For roughly nine days each summer, the aptly named Sommerfest is your chance to check out this beautiful building, listen to German music, eat German food, and, of course, drink copious amounts of German beer!
As we have a soft spot for all things German beer, we naturally visited as soon as possible.
Teutonia Mannerchor is a Gem in the North Side
Teutonia Mannerchor's history goes back to 1851 when a group of German-Americans started a small social group at a local church. They went on to start a chorus called the Teutonia Mannerchor and quickly grew to the point of needing their own facility.
In 1888, the current hall was built and has been providing a German-themed place for gathering, singing, drinking, meetings (such as meetings of the Pittsburgh Stein Society), and all around good times ever since.
One of the most interesting spots inside Teutonia Mannerhcor is the Ratskeller, typical cellars/bars in the basement of town halls. This one is adorned with gorgeous murals, imagery of robust drinking, portraits of members that came before, and quotes in German like “A good glass of beer, a happy song never makes you weary of life” (translated).
For us, getting into Teutonia Mannerchor is a lot like being transported straight to Germany with half liter pours of the finest German beers there are, ample food available, and a chance to soak up the facility's rather impressive ambiance.
The one problem? Visiting Teutonia Mannerchor is tricky without being a member, and for us we find our best time to get in is during Sommerfest.
Sommerfest Details of Note
Sommerfest is, as its name suggests, a festival of summer that takes place at Teutonia Mannerchor (typically mid-July). Here the facility opens up to the public for free admittance to enjoy the facility, purchase food and beer, and listen to music- most in German, of course. Other events, like Oktoberfest, are also open to the public but tend to have an admission fee and a bit more limited duration.
In past Sommerfests, there have been music by the Polka Meisters, the Polka Maniacs, the Barons, Low Keys, the Norside Organ Trio, and many more that perform throughout the event and really round out the fun to bring a bit of Germany to life right in the heart of Pittsburgh.
As this one is still a private club, it is worth noting that featured events of Sommerfest can vary relative to the club's regular hours. One day live music may be from 5 to 9pm, another may be 7 to 10pm, and weekends could be 12 to 10pm or just 1 to 4pm. As event features vary, it is always best to check out Teutonia Mannerchor's website prior to visiting simply to ensure you get the full experience!
Although we personally wish we could make it into Teutonia Mannerchor more often to enjoy their lovely spread of German brews on draft, we have to admit we'll take what we can get. Sommerfest does this one beautifully by allowing public access with a full party with great food, music, and beer, and we really can't say no to that!
Teutonia Mannerchor is located at 857 Phineas Street in the North Side.