Hittin’ The Town: A little slice of Bavaria in our backyard

The Bavarian Sports Club is open to everyone and offers all kinds of activities for the young and young at heart.
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:43 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Toledo is home to people from all over the world, and there are places to celebrate many of those cultures throughout the city.

One of them is the Bavarian Sports Club — a place to enjoy good food, good company, and a good beer. And you don’t need to be Bavarian to take it all in.

There’s a little slice of Bavaria in our backyard.

“The Bavarian Sports Club is a hidden gem in Toledo. It’s my second home. I have a second family here,” says Anita Schmitz-Raymond.

The club has been tucked away at the corner of Lagrange and Moore since the 1930s. Harry Schmitz is the president.

“If I had a dollar for every person who says they’ve driven or walked by the club their entire life and never knew it was here or what happens here, I’d be rich. We’re a diamond in the rough!”

Harry’s sister, Anita, is also very involved with the club. “Our parents came from Germany after World War II. Both came on the same ship at different times. They also came from towns in Germany that were only half an hour apart. They met at the Toledo Turners Club, fell in love, and got married, and here we are.”

Bavaria is a state in Germany. The club pays tribute to those who came from there to Toledo.

“When we started, it was just upstairs, and there was a short entryway. The gentlemen decided they need a bar, so they dug out the basement. We have a beautiful space,” says Anita.

Anita says while it was originally a club only for Bavarian men, it’s now a place for all.

“It is very open to everyone from the young, or kinder, to older people. We have wonderful things for everyone to do.”

She says one of the most popular activities here is dancing.

“This is Henry. He’s my grandson. He will be dancing as a young boy. We start them at three years old. Most of them keep dancing with us through adulthood.”

And while it often starts with the kids, Harry says many adults soon find themselves on the dance floor, too. “I can’t tell you how many kids have become dancers, and then mom and dad are going to the events, and the next thing you know, they’re getting dressed up and dancing, as well.”

There’s also a tasty way to immerse yourself in the club and the culture.

“We have a wonderful ladies’ auxiliary, and they put some amazing meals together. Schnitzel, potato pancakes, and all kinds of amazing food,” says Harry.

He says German beer is always available, too. “We always have at least two German beers on tap and some great locally brewed beers.”

There’s even a bus called “der bus” that takes members to dance competitions and special trips.

“We’ll do a winery tour, a brewery tour, a trip to Frankenmuth. We’ll go wherever members want to go to make them happy.”

Harry says the goal is to keep the doors open to everyone for decades.

“We want to keep it going for the next generations. There is nothing better than having the kids here. Getting them involved is music to my ears. If we can get kids focused and keep them coming, we’ll be happy.”

Becoming a member of the Bavarian Sports Club is easy. It costs $10 for the first year; after that, membership dues are $45 or less, depending on your age.

In addition to the food, beer, and dancing, people also do things like play chess and schafkopf, a German card game, at the club as well as shoot air rifles.

To learn more, click here.

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