The ownership group all started as bar backs, then bartenders, then managers and now owners. We have come a long way and understand what must be done to build a great team. “I” and “me” have no place in our company. “Us” and “we” hold the highest regard as to how we interact with our co-workers.
Public Bar was established in April of 2009 to bring the best sports bar and nightlife experience to Washington DC. Fast forward to present day, Public Bar has been renamed to Public Bar Live but still holds the same mission and goals with a few added changes as we have evolved and continue to evolve with the needs of our clientele.
Long before Sauf Haus was dreamt up to bring a taste of Bavaria to the District, this Dupont Circle spot served as The Guitar Shop. The Guitar Shop team still reunites yearly over biers and brats 30 years later. Sauf Haus has been named one of the “15 Hottest New Beer Bars in the U.S.” and “DC’s 11 Hottest Rooftop Restaurants & Bars” by Zagat. They’ve also been named an essential Oktoberfest celebration by Thrillist.
Our Mission & Goals
Our employees are the most important assets we have and we want to build a team and a company culture that embraces employee growth and opportunities throughout our different restaurants and eventually providing a career.
For our customers, we want to offer elevated experiences combined with great customer service and a welcoming environment where there is something for anybody and everybody. Sports, live music, dancing, night club, DJ’s all under one roof.
John Issa has worked in the hospitality industry for over 25 years here in Washington D.C. where he started from entry level positions and worked his way up to restaurant and bar/management, and then ownership. He has worked for very reputable venues such as Element, Insomnia, Spy Club, Zei Club, 1223, the CB Café, Play Lounge, Current Lounge, Policy Restaurant and Lounge. John became worked as a Bartender in Public Bar back in 2009 before becoming an owner for Public Bar and then Sauf Haus Bier Hall & Garten.
Johan Cortes started his career in hospitality from a very young age helping his parents with their restaurant back in Venezuela. In 2008, Johan decided to come to the United States to continue his career in hospitality. In 2009, Johan joined Public Bar as a bar back, a few years later he was promoted to Bartender and then management. In 2014, Johan was given the opportunity to join Sauf Haus Bier Hall & Garten by John Issa and Edwin Villegas where he held multiple roles such as Bar Lead and Manager. A few years later Johan became one of the owners of Public Bar Live and Sauf Haus Bier Hall & Garten.
Christian Cortes has over 30 years of experience in the Hospitality industry. He also started his career in hospitality from a young age helping his parents’ restaurant back in Venezuela. With his parents mentorship, he opened his own beach front restaurant “Cangrejo” which was very successful. Later on, he came to the United States looking for a better life going back to hospitality, and started working from the bottom up in Sauf Haus Bier Hall & Garten. His passion revolves around educating staff members, creating a positive working culture, and promoting from within. Christian became part of the ownership group in 2019.