NIGHTLIFE IN GERMANY (MUNICH & HAMBURG)
The area around M√É¬ľnchener Freiheit in Schwabing is the best known nightlife district, with innumerable bars, caf√É¬©s, restaurants, jazz venues, dance clubs and crowds of students and youthful revelers, especially on Occamstrasse. Haidhausen offers a more alternative scene. The Glockenbachviertel, located south of Sendlinger Tor, is the focus of the gay scene, and nearby, just to the east, a large number of hip new bars are have opened up on the streets radiating from G√É¬§rtnerplatz.
The city has a range of bars and clubs to suit most tastes but admission and drink prices can be shockingly high and bouncers have a reputation for being particularly choosy. There is a trend towards bar-bistros, bar-caf√É¬©s and, as in the rest of Germany, Feierabend discos, which run 1800-2200 on weeknights and are increasingly popular with a slightly older crowd, bopping to 60s, 70s or 80s music. The hippest club nights in the city are often one-offs, so it pays to ask around.
Licensing laws are not restrictive and Munich√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs clubs and pubs stay open until late. The legal drinking age in pubs and clubs is 18.
Munich Found (website: www.munichfound.de) has English-language listings, while Flyer (website: www.flyer.de) and Prinz (website: www.prinz.de) are its German-language counterparts.
Bars: One of several good bars and caf√É¬©s on T√É¬ľrkenstrasse, Alter Simpl, 57 T√É¬ľrkenstrasse, is famous for its links to the satirical magazine Simplicissimus and retains its bohemian ambience. Tresznjewski, Theresienstrasse 72, has got that arty flair and long after midnight, when it is usually jam-packed, it becomes very flirtatious, as does legendary Schumann√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs, Odeonsplatz 6-7, where the cocktails are to die for. In the ultra-hip G√É¬§rtnerplatz quarter, cocktail bars like Ksar Club, 31 M√É¬ľllerstrasse, Holy Home, 21 Reichenbachstrasse, and Lizard Lounge, 31 Corneliusstrasse are always so packed with a stylish crowd that it is next to impossiblt to get a seat.
Also in the G√É¬§rtnerplatz area, some of the little bars like Morizz, 43 Klenzestrasse, and Caf√É¬© Gl√É¬ľck, 4 Palmstrasse, which originally opened as trendy gay hangouts, have been discovered and colonized by Munich's straight population. If you want to find the latest hip gay bars, the Caf√É¬© im Sub gay center, M√É¬ľllerstrasse 43 (website: www.subonline.org), serves up info as well as drinks.
The Hofbr√É¬§uhaus, Platz 9, is a Munich institution, although for a less raucous experience, head to the Augustiner Gastst√É¬§tte, Neuhauser Strasse 27. If you prefer your beer al fresco, visit the beer garden in the colorful Viktualienmarkt (see Shopping). For an alternative to beer, head to the Pf√É¬§lzer Weinprobierstube, Residenzstrasse 1, for a good selection of German wines and a buzzing atmosphere.
Casinos: The main casino is the Spielbank Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Am Kurpark, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (tel: (088) 219 5990; website: www.spielbanken-bayern.de) Players need to provide a valid ID showing they are 21 years or older when paying the entrance fee. Dress code is smart (jacket and tie for men).
Clubs: Top spots include the Alabamahalle, Domagkstrasse 33, with varied club nights in a massive space and Babylon-2, 143 Rosenheimerstrasse, the largest club in Munich, with huge, packed dancefloors and a lazershow that is weel worth seeing. Far more intimate, the Atomic Caf√É¬©, Neuturmstrasse 5, is a trendy spot in the city center, featuring pop and rock music, touring DJs and some live bands. New York, Sonnenstrasse 25, is the most reliably fun gay club.
If you√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘre feeling flash, head to P1, Prinzregentenstrasse 1, an upmarket club, frequented by Munich√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs jet set - exclusive, expensive and notoriously difficult to get into. To warm up for these high-profile locations, go to the nearby Park-Cafe, Sophienstrasse 7, which has a similar vibe but which, over time has lost much of its exclusivity.
Live Music: Muffathalle, Zellstrasse 4, (website: www.muffathalle.de), is a major popular culture venue with live music, theater and dance performances. The on-site caf√É¬© serves food and drink during the day, transforming into a fun and friendly club venue in the evenings. Big-name acts perform at the Olympiahalle, next to the Olympic Stadium, as well as at the enormous Elserhalle, 143 Rosenheimerstrasse.
The Nachtcaf√É¬©, Maximiliansplatz 5, serves up excellent live music daily and as the name suggests, the venue closes late. Admission is free but food and cocktails are pricey. If country and western is your scene, try the Rattlesnake Saloon, Schneegl√É¬∂ckchenstrasse 91, on the outskirts of town. Top-quality live jazz, including appearances by world stars, can be enjoyed daily at Unterfahrt im Einstein, Einsteinstrasse 42, and at Mister B√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs, Herzog-Heinrich-Strasse 38.
Nightlife in Hamburg is concentrated in St Pauli with most of the action on and around its main street, the Reeperbahn, best known for its sex trade but these days also lined with respectable variety show theaters (in German only), music bars and trendy night clubs. Most open, or at least only get busy, weekends from 2200-2300 to 0400 or later. Another central nightlife area is the Schanzenviertel, while good places for bars and pubs are Lange Reihe street and Grossneumarkt square.
Bars: Gr√É¬∂ninger Braukeller, Ost-West-Strasse 47, is a no-nonsense beer cellar that brews its own, is a good place for getting in to the party mood. Or try Meanie Bar, Spielbudenplatz 5, a friendly scruffy laid-back Bohemian Reeperbahn bar where a mixed clientele gather to enjoy cheap drinks and excellent music from all eras. Christiansens Fine Drinks & Cocktails, Spielbudenplatz 7, is a trendy award-winning bar serving the best range of drinks in town, while media types and style victims can be found in Yakshi√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs Bar in East Hotel, Simon-Von-Utrecht-Strasse 31, a beautiful designer-hotel lounge bar.
Clubs: Halo, Grosse Freiheit 6, rose to fame as the Betty Ford Klinik and still attracts the cream of Hamburg√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs clubbers. The Golden Pudel Club, Fischmarkt 27, is a well established harbor-side club that features different styles of music every night of the week. Cult, Grosse Freiheit 2, is an attractive club where the Saturday night disco tradition is alive and kicking, featuring music from the last three decades.
Live Music: Grosse Freiheit 36, Grosse Freiheit 36, is the city center√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs top live venue for bands that are big names, on the way up or just over the hill. Molotow, Spielbudenplatz 5, is an easy going informal joint with indie and fast-guitar rock bands. Last but not least, Cotton Club, Alter Steinweg, is the city√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs top central jazz venue with live music nightly (closed Sun).