A town whose name is practically synonymous with beer can only have a lively bar scene. Whatever your taste Munich has enough establishments to keep you happy. We guide you through the Bavarian capital’s bar scene.
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Bar guide in Munich
Tel. 089 272 30 83
Over 100 years old, this literary pub wears its history on its sleeve; the walls are decorated with covers from the literary magazine Simplicissimus (from where it takes its name and bulldog logo), together with period caricatures and old photographs. The dark wood panelling and creaky floorboards add to the feeling of venerable age, while a strange wooden kiosk at the entrance is full of garden gnomes and mysterious bottles.
Tel: 089 223762
Conveniently located in the centre of Munich, Bar Centrale’s front room resembles an authentic Italian bar with its high tables and metal counter. The back room has low furniture and modern art and feels more like a relaxed lounge. The trendy clientele munch on tramezzini, sip espresso, and make sure their sunglasses don’t slip off the top of their heads.
Tel. 089 20 70 02 66
Located in the über-cool Fünf Höfe shopping centre, this is the place to come for a post-retail drink and bite to eat. Comercial offers a range of sandwiches at surprisingly reasonable prices considering the location. And with a big glass window, it’s perfect for people watching.
Maffeistr. 3a, Schäfflerhof
Tel: 089 710 407 373
Located in the Literaturhaus at Salvatorplatz, Dukatz is a stylish café and restaurant whose high vaulted ceiling gives it a feeling of airy monastic calm, a calm which is only slightly disturbed by the huge LED sign with its flashing orange and green letters shooting off towards the ceiling. The sign is part of a memorial by New York artist Jenny Holzer to Bavarian-born writer Oskar Maria Graf, who is also commemorated with quotations on the leather seats and outdoor concrete tables. Enjoy the mainly French cuisine in the separate restaurant section, or sit at the long metal and wood bar and observe the mixed clientele, who range from women with sunglasses and calf-length boots to cheerful old men in tweed jackets.
Tel: 089 29 01 36-100
One of the most famous pubs in the world, the huge Hofbäuhaus is something of a Dionysian Mecca for visitors to Munich, and is consequently full of American frat boys quaffing beer by the litre; surprisingly this doesn’t seem to bother the regulars in their traditional Bavarian dress. Visitors of a sensitive disposition may find the combination of excessive drinking, loud traditional music and general rowdiness a bit off-putting, and there is indeed something sinister about the whole place (an impression unlikely to be tempered by the information–understandably absent from the place’s marketing materials–that Hitler used to hold Nazi party meetings here).
Tel. 089- 201 45 46
As the name suggests, Holy Home contains elements of both living-room and church: the atmosphere is familiar and convivial, while the Catholic kitsch decorating the walls will no doubt ensure a swift passage to hell for the proprietors. The mixed clientele lounge around in the bar’s various cosy nooks and crannies, while a DJ hides in a secluded corner, peeking out through an ornately-framed hole.
Kempinski Vier Jahreszeiten
Tel: 089 21 25 0
With its bottle green leather sofas, thick carpet, and flock wallpaper, this upmarket hotel bar exudes comfort and sophistication. Deferential waitstaff attend to the affluent couples conversing quietly in the alcoves of the bar. A grand piano stands near the bar, and there is live music from nine o’clock ever night (or, to quote the hotel website: “we are playing in our Vier Jahreszeiten Bar popular melodies on the piano”).
Tel. 089 48 95 01 54
There’s no shortage of places to get a cracking cocktail in Munich. But Negroni has to be one of the best. As yet undiscovered by the city’s wannabes, this New York-style bar is run by two Italians, who’ve won many international prizes for their creative concoctions. If there’s nothing on the menu that whets your whistle, have a word with the bar meisters, who are more than happy to mix a drink to match your mood.
Tel: 089 28 75 58 75
Nam Nam offers you a balanced atmosphere with a somehow new exotic Thai taste.
Tel: 089 51 61 79 80
Trendy café located (as the name suggests) in the old Botanic Gardens, comprising a lounge area with soft furnishings, an airy bar/restaurant (confusingly called ‘Kitchen’), and a beer garden which can hold up to 2000 people.
Pusser’s New York Bar
Tel: 089 220 500
Established in 1974 by the legendary Bill Deck (whose other achievements apparently include hosting German President Richard von Weizsäcker’s VIP bar at the Nordic Ski Championships in Oberstdorf), Pusser’s claims to be the oldest cocktail bar in Germany. Its name derives from the naval term ‘purser’ and the bar has a suitably nautical theme, with sailing prints and ships’ flags on the walls and a wooden dinghy hanging from the ceiling. The bar’s fame is rightly deserved, with the only drawback being its slightly-too-self-aware approach to merchandising; shirts and mugs emblazoned with the Pusser’s logo are all very well, but placing a EUR10 price tag on the menu is perhaps a shade too mercenary.
Tel: 089 27 20 788
Founded in 1872 and still run by the original Mehr family, the traditional Schelling Salon is very aware of its own history: a photograph on the menu shows the latest three generations of the Mehr’s (Evelin, Maria, and a frail-looking Silvester) and relates anecdotes from Urgrossvater Mehr. Each of the generations seem to have contributed to the pub’s décor, which features an amazing assortment of paintings, postcards and random junk. The clientele is suitably inter-generational; class-skipping university students play pool on the many tables or study chess magazines, while old men sit around nursing beers.
Schumann’s Bar am Hofgarten
Tel: 089 22 90 60
This legendary Munich cocktail bar has been running for more than 20 years and is popular with Munich’s rich and famous. Founder Charles Schumann is something of a celebrity himself; his books on the art of barkeeping are best-sellers. Its fame and popularity is indicated by the fact it has the audacity not to open on Saturdays.
Tel:089 24 21 77 00
An offshoot of the famous cocktail bar, Schumann’s TagesBar attracts a similar Gucci-clad crowd. Standards are as high at the subsidiary as at the original Schumann’s: the minimalist interior exudes class, and the refined staff serve up cocktails and Italian snacks with aplomb.
Tel: 089 26 69 49
Located in the same post-industrial building as the Stadtmuseum, the Stadtcafé is light, spacious and airy. The front section has decadent red plush furniture and a view of the huge hole which is St-Jakobs-Platz, while the rear with its simple wooden furniture feels more like a traditional café; in fine weather the café expands into the pleasant courtyard of the museum. The thick black spectacle quotient is as high as you might expect (the café is popular with the film aficionados who frequent the neighbouring Filmmuseum), with an enormous selection of international newspapers adding to the intellectual air.