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It was the guy sitting at the bar with his hands cuffed behind his back whilst the barmaid stingingly flicked his cheeks with a small leather whip that suggested that perhaps the term "louche" would apply to this bar. Louche is a word I love and describes perfectly that sort of balance between seedy, disreputable but with little hints of class. I'm not sure exactly what the classy bits here were but I was there - that's classy enough for me LOL ;-)
This is a little basement bar which I found just round the corner from my hotel. The sign outside caught my eye - "Don't Drive - DRINK!" and the pleasantly smokey fug emanating through the slitted gap of the heavily curtained doorway caught my beer nose.
Inside the bar proved to be exactly what I wanted. A cheery welcome from the barmaid, a relaxed local buzz, relatively cheap beer and, of course, ASHTRAYS.
I only had two nights in the city but by the end of night one, where I got involved in the rounds of schnapps buying, I was on first name terms with all and sundry. On my second night there was a different barmaid, equally welcoming, and I was duly introduced by one the regulars - "This our friend John."
Yep definitely my sorta bar and needless to say not one for taking photos inside!
Dress Code: It's a pub! But subtle bondage gear doesn't go amiss ;-)
Written Jan 27, 2012
This is a bar that I came across whilst randomly sampling the pubs around my hotel and made for a very interesting hour or so.
It must have been well after 1 am when I wandered in and upon asking for a beer the rather pleasantly buxom blond barmaid politely informed me that if I wanted a beer I'd have to buy her and her friend a "little piccolo". It would be 36 euros in total and she even wrote down the amount for me, then asked if I still wanted the beer.
Ach I was feeling pretty mellow and so went with it just to see how things panned out.
It was now obvious that this was a hostess bar as I glanced around to note that all the other customers seemed to have female companions. Mine turned out to be a very shy little Ukranian girl whose English was very hesitant. The barmaid, or perhaps I should now refer to her as the hostess, or maybe even the madame, however was bright and chatty and had perfect, though heavily accented, English. The drinks were duly poured, I paid my 36 euros, and we clinked glasses.
I was actually on quite good form and got chatting to the madame who I discovered was from Gdansk (in Poland) and so I told her I loved her in Polish. This kinda shocked her, but amusingly so as I made it plain that I was joking as I exaggeratedly put my glasses on to closely inspect her rather exuberant cleavage.
Then did the same to my little Ukrainian (who I recall wasn't quite so exuberantly stacked but pleasantly filled out nevertheless) HA!
I continued with my slightly risque repertoire of Polish endearment, commenting on her nice ass and asking for a kiss. By now I had her in stitches and she wanted to know how I'd learned to speak her language. So we sort of swapped life stories.
Having finished my beer she asked if I wanted another but I explained that at 36 euros a round I was going to have to decline and head for another bar, much as I'd enjoyed her company. She then insisted I stay and have another beer, but this time on the house.
So as my second beer was duly poured - no piccolos this time - and the conversation continued with the little Ukrainian girl listening in perplexedly.
After an hour or so we were pretty much talked out and so it was time to bid her "Dobranos Kohanya", which brought a last smile to her face. A very enjoyable hour it was having two attractive women for company and so on balance the 36 euros it cost me was money well spent ;-)
Updated Jan 25, 2012
Address: Stientorweg 10
The Stage Club, housed in the Neue Flora Theatre complex, is one of the most easily accessible jazz bars in Hamburg. Directly across the street from the Holstenstrasse subway station, It is a national and internationally recognized venue that presents jazz ranging from German composer Nils Gessinger (a favorite in the American smooth jazz arena) to vocalist Micheal Bublé and New York piano crooner Peter Cincotti. Even the German talent that make up the in-house band are seasoned recording musicians, who play internationally at such notable events as Montreux Jazz Festival, or with jazz masters such as Michael Brecker or Barry Finerty (of Miles Davis fame).
Dress Code: In spite of the steller local or international talent you can find here on any given night, and the chic urban decor, the Stage Club is notoriously casual. Jeans and sneakers are actually allowed with no problem at all, but you wouldn't feel out of place if you wanted to wear suit jacket as a man, or high heels as a lady.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: Stressemanstrasse 163 (in the Neue Flora)
Phone: 40 43165 460
Schumachers Biergarten is a big place to sit outside, enjoy a beer and a steak and a wonderful sunset. The location is near the swimming-pool in Stadtgarten. The surrounding is nice and peaceful. It is also called a beach club.
Dress Code: no dress code
Written Aug 22, 2009
Address: Südring 5b, Hamburg
Phone: 0 40 / 27 80 69 79
Info coming soon!
Dress Code: Open during summer, dress in casual attire suitable for imbibing tropical cocktails on the man made beach banks next to the River Elbe.
Relax in one of the many beach chairs or with friends on the circular ottomans with comfortable canvas pillows.
Updated Aug 17, 2009
Phone: 040 431 800 72
Something different is the sofa pub in between Sternschanze/Feldstraße. When I was there with my young cousins they started laughing - hey lets start a pub in Grandpa's living-room... It really is some special, and very popular. It looks cool beause it a big room and full with old sofas - but the whole atmosphere is little grungy - you have to like this, also I would not really recommend the washroom. But this often is pretty mean in many pubs in St. Pauli.
If you like dark atmosphere you also can take the second zoes which on the other side of the small street. It has little more design and is completely dark and black sofas.
Address is Neuer Pferdemarkt 17
If you feel hungry there is a smal falafel restaurant some houses further (on the cobbled street) - Azeitona - they have very fair priced oriental food, but rather a snack point than a restaurant.
Address: Beckstraße 17-19
Updated Apr 11, 2009
We had heard so much abt the Atlantic Kempinski hotel and its 100 year heritage that we simply had to check it out.The lobby is very grand with a fire place and the big chandelier and the works.We chose the bar because we arrived after 11 PM and the other restaurants were closed.The bar is a great place to spend a quiet evening with live music and piano.They have a separate cigar room and has a very regal feel to it.The music was good but our only disappointment was that we were not able to spot any celebrities of the glamour or business world as promised by the alster cruise guide:(
We ordered a pina colada and a mojito.The pina colada did not have fresh pineapple.Coming from a tropical country,I used to take pineapples for granted! Now I know that the frozen ones can taste really bad.The mojito was done to perfection and the assorted nuts that they offer with the drinks were yummy:)
Updated Mar 18, 2009
Hamburg is one of Germany's musical cities.
These are the actual musicals playing (Feb.2009):
King Lion (Harbor Theatre, you have to go to U Landungsbrücken and take a ferry)
Tarzan (Neue Flora Theatre, U Holstenstraße, music by Phil Collins)
Ich war noch niemals in New York (I've never been in NYC - musical with songs of Udo Jürgens, a popular German singer, he's in his 60s, 70s, and had many Schlager songs, a German thing though, not really my fave but for the elderly generation it might be something. His most famous songs: Aber bitte mit Sahne; Mit 66 Jahren; Ich war noch niemals in New York; Siebzehn Jahr, blondes Haar; Griechischer Wein; Vielen Dank für die Blumen...). Playing in the Operettenhaus at Reeperbahn.
Heiße Ecke in Schmidts Tivoli Theatre also at Reeperbahn. I wrote something on this in my Reeperbahn tip.
Further info you find here:
Written Feb 24, 2009
I recently was in a very cool spot. It was the lounge and bar on top of the Empire Riverside Hotel next to the harbor in St. Pauli district. The lounge (and the hotel) is designed by the London architect David Chipperfield. A great discussion in Hamburg if it is OK to build high houses or not - for traditionally Hamburg is a flat city with about five, six storeys. So twenty floors would not be that big thing for someone from NYC but here it is v e r y high. The cocktails in that well designed bar up there were great, little more expensive than average but you are also much higher than average;-) So I thought that's fine. Cocktails start at about 8 or 9 euros going up... The view was phantastic. I definately would recommend that place after a long day of walking, or to start the nightlife session...
Clothing: little better than the normal leisure style was fine...
Making a reservation in advance (one week) is recommended if you want a place at the large windows, especially if you are in a group.
The hotel itself was good, too. Great views on the harbor from every room. They start at about 150 euro and up. Well designed, however, not the designer's hotel quality if you ask me (but that's just the archtiect's eye;-)
phone: 49 (0) 40 / 3111970470 (after 6 p.m.)
Updated Jul 13, 2008
Address: Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 97
This is a big musicfestival taking place around the clubs of Reeperbahn. In 2008 it is from 25th to 27th of September. They also have a good homepage in English with many infos on the bands playing.
Written Jun 7, 2008
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