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Ways to experience the heart of Hamburg: St. Pauli
Sankt Pauli – the district – has experienced both better and worse times than right now. A poorer neighbourhood with perhaps some no-go areas, it is still rather safe to wander the many streets of St. Pauli, even for families. The well-known street, the Reeperbahn, has become a bit boring, though, as there are few original shops and bars left which make it seem tourist-friendly, but dull. However, the side streets – north and south of the Reeperbahn – are where the true marvels can be found. To eat well, to drink well and to explore, there’s something for everybody in the heart of Hamburg.
North of the Reeperbahn, in the cozy Clemens-Schultz-Strasse, you can find some top-notch places to grab a bite.
The Haebel is a rather small space with the cool TV-celebrity chef Fabio Haebel behind the stove, serving bistro-style Franco-Nordic cuisine. Then there is HACO, a restaurant with a daring kitchen, trying out new styles of preparing and celebrating dishes for the guests. Both restaurants use the finest local produce and have superb wine lists. South of the Reeperbahn you have the better views, but the culinary experiences are a little scarcer. The good news: you’re just a few metres away from unobstructed views of the harbour.
The Salt & Silver is a hip, new place for ceviche and everything involving fish or South America. The cocktail bar is worth a visit and the pleasant crowd adds to the atmosphere.
The Schaumermann is a more traditional place that offers high-end classics with an amazing set of wines to accompany any dish.
The most stylish and delicious way to start off an evening is enjoying an aperitif at The Standard. At this unique location, your lovely hosts will serve you quality drinks accompanied by freshly made appetisers, only to make you crave more drinks. Such a nice atmosphere and cool crowd, you may not want to leave.
If you want to enjoy good wines with the locals, visit the Weinladen around the corner. The sell and serve above-average bottles from mainly German winemakers. Everybody goes there, making it a great place to mingle.
If you are looking for an inspiring and extravagant watering hole south of the Reeperbahn, try the Mad Hatter. It is located in one of the (formerly) rather sinister corners of St. Pauli. But, oh, by entering this fine Bar you will know that is a place of unlimited entertainment. The combination of a fancy, easy-going crowd, along with the DJ and great music add to the atmosphere of “anything goes”.
Inside the marvellous Chug Club you can see that somebody built a shrine for the Agave… or rather its derivative, the Tequila. And It feels like a Mexicancantina. A temple for Tequila, Mezcal and for alcohol in general. An excellent place for the later hours of the night.
If you are in the mood to watch a concert or dance, you should try out the one and only Mojo Club on the Reeperbahn. They have had their fair share of history, hosting the best musicians in the world for over 20 years. They’ve just undergone a complete make-over and now have a first-class venue with a superb sound system.
If you just want to get a good glimpse of the hustle and bustle of the Reeperbahn, there is a small food stall in the middle of everything: Lucullus Imbiss. Order some food or a beer and you can take your time from inside the stall to observe 360° of the Reeperbahn. Just come here for the view and don’t expect great food.
This CLOUDS Skybar is not necessarily a top-notch Bar, but you can’t beat its views of St. Pauli. It is just above the Mojo Club in the new high-rise at the start of the Reeperbahn, which has been dubbed the “dancing towers” (tanzende Türme). It is a classic Bar with a good range of snacks and a fine wine selection. But the real stunner is the ‘Heavens Nest’ rooftop terrace which is part of the bar. Weather permitting, these are the best outside seats in town. The windows will guard you from the wind but allow you to hear the Reeperbahn buzz.