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Hamburg is a sinful city with a Red-Light district, but we’ve got a guide for other indulgent pleasures to discover.
Hamburg is a city of sin. Name a vice, Hamburg has it. Lots of it. Not only the most famous Red-Light-District in the world with all its fading glory, but also the more sophisticated and secluded spots where you can indulge your legal vices like tobacco and alcohol.
While there are a number of bars that allow smoking, only a couple of places make for a superb setting to enjoy a cigar. Mainly located in private clubs around the Alster, two of them are situated in International Hotels and are accessible to the tobacco-loving public.
The vodka bar
The Apples Bar in the excellent Park Hyatt Hotel has a stylish and very cosy smokers lounge, complete with a fire place, heavy armchairs and a wooden interior. The hotel is located in the heart of the city in the old and dignified Levantehaus, which is an attraction in its own right. The Apples Bar has a marvellous wine list but they are most renowned for their unrivalled selection of Vodkas. There is also a local vodka from Hamburg which is very mild – give it a shot!
American old-school bar
If you are looking for something more traditional, try the old Empire Salon in the Atlantic Bar of the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski. It is a Grand Hotel in the old sense of the word. The foyer and bar are rather lavish… almost pompous. Old Europe breathes through every room, although the house has been freshly renovated. And the Empire Salon is no exception; it feels like you have gone back in time to a previous era, about to cross the ocean on a steamship. The Piano Player in the background may contribute to that vibe. The bar, of course, has an excellent international standard and requires a Smart-Casual dress code.
Taste the real Gin basil Smash
The Le Lion is one of The World’s 50 Best Bars and ranks on almost any annual list of relevant publications. So, it is not surprising that you need to press the doorbell to be granted admission into the establishment. It is a sweet but rather harmless detail. You will enter a well-lit classic dark Bar with all the right ingredients. If you are lucky, you will be greeted by the Chef-of-the-Bar /Owner/World-class bartender Jörg Meyer. He is the inventor of the Gin Basil Smash which everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. Let him be your guide of the night in terms of drinks. The upstairs smoking room is not always open, so it is recommended you ask when you make your reservation.
Enjoy the real whiskey glasses
If you are looking to have drink on a terrace with a view (overlooking the Alster, no less) while enjoying lively atmosphere, look no further; The Bar DaCaio in the modern Hotel George has gained an excellent reputation amongst fine-drink lovers. No surprise that bar manager Giovanni Massimo is the winner of a “Mixology Award” for best hotel bars. Of course, he is the master of all Italian-style drinks, namely the aperitifs. But the real treasure here is the excellent selection of fine whiskeys, especially if you like single malt. True to the original style, the whiskey is served in a proper whiskey glass (no Tumbler!), complete with a bit of chocolate and Speyside water! Wonderful.