Anaheim’s Phoenix Club to celebrate last Oktoberfest before closing, move – Orange County Register
This year’s Oktoberfest celebration at Anaheim’s Phoenix Club will have a band playing German music, traditional schuhplattler dancing, a variety of schnitzel and beer – and most likely a bitter feeling.
This will be the last Oktoberfest at the current location, and it’s unclear where the next one is, as the club has sold its property near the Honda Center and has yet to finalize where it will move.
The land was sold to an affiliate of Anaheim Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli, whose businesses also manage the nearby city-owned city and plan to develop OC Vibe, a 95-acre recreation, office and residential communities anchored in the arena, a The OC Vibe spokesperson confirmed via email.
The buyer allows the club to stay by renting back the property until a new location is found. Phoenix Club President Linda Kriesant said she did not yet know when the club would close. Members are looking at a place in Brea for their new home, but “we have a lot to focus on city permits,” he said.
The property can be folded into the OC Vibe project – Samuelis owns most of the adjacent land – but the developer does not include it in current plans.
Members weren’t happy about having to give up the property and move, but Kriesant said the sale of the Anaheim location would allow them to keep the club.
Outside of the Oktoberfest season, it offers meeting space for local groups, its restaurant is open five days a week, and its bar welcomes Angels and Ducks fan to import a mug. before or after a game. Until the pandemic hit and its shutdown.
“We rely on events and restaurant sales, and we’re usually more than a year without any significant return on that part of our safety,” Kriesant said.
Founded in 1960, the Phoenix Club has for decades been a home for German culture in a city founded by German immigrants.
Its initial location was essentially where the Honda Center now sits, but in the early 1990s the city made the club move to its current location so it could build the arena.
The club features a choir, traditional dance groups and German language lessons, and member Lisa Hauptmann said its facility has hosted in recent years a soccer club, a skiing group and a group that played German card games.
Both the Phoenix Club and its location hold a deeper meaning for Haupmann, whose grandparents introduced him to Oktoberfest and other events there when he was a child in the 1980s.
After her grandfather died, she revisited the club as an adult to reconnect with memories with her, and she ended up joining schuhplattler dancers after seeing them perform. Her first dance partner, who helped teach her the steps? He is now married; they held their wedding at the Phoenix Club in 2015.
“Obviously the club has a lot of importance for us and we’re a little worried about its closure and move,” Hauptmann said. “I can’t really describe to you what it means to us.”
Club membership has decreased over time as people have aged, moved away or become too busy to participate – once over 5,000 strong and now dropped to nearly 600 – but it means a lot to those who stay, said Kriesant.
“Anaheim is a German word; Anaheim is home,” he said. “It’s very hard to leave here. It’s been the club’s home for almost 30 years and only a walk away since 1960, so it’s very bitter. . “
While the future of the Phoenix Club remains in the air, members look forward to Oktoberfest, which Kriesant said is one of the oldest and most authentic in the province, featuring music, dancing and contests as well as plenty of food and beer in German. Because of COVID-19, they sell tickets online and limit attendance.
Regarding the future of the club, Anaheim Councilman Steve Faessel said he was willing to help but he could. “The Phoenix Club has long been a community property and I hope they can find an ongoing home in Anaheim,” he said in a text message.
Until the move, Kriesant said, “We hope things will be fine for us – and until then we are here serving our friends and our customers until the time we leave the property. “
A sold-out majority for Oktoberfest will help set up the club for the next chapter, but “for me it’s not really about the money,” Hauptmann said. “I just hope that people who are happy to come, will come and just have their last hurray, because it’s going to happen.”
The Phoenix Club’s Oktoberfest will run every weekend from October 1-24, get more information, as well as the restaurant menu and hours, at www.thephoenixclub.com.