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Hamburg has got some Hip appeal for sure, but don’t bother looking for the A-List of actors or big sports personalities. Join the creative, professional crowd and really feel like a local.
If you like to explore the small but precious art world and dine & drink with artists, authors or actors, here are three fine places to hang out.
The Rialto is an elegant restaurant and bar situated on a beautiful square shared with the small Art Gallery District. Naturally a lot of the art crowd choose this wonderful place as their Homebase. And they are so right. If you sit inside, you have a nice view on the canal and the bridge and can enjoy a cosy and elegant atmosphere. If it is warm, you sit outside on the actual bridge. Try the Wiener Schnitzel, they are famous for it.
The Thalia Theatre is one of the best stages for modern theatre and always worth a visit. Situated on the ground floor of this dignified old building you will find a sweet little Bistro, the Weltbühne. No surprise here that it is the chosen second home for many actors, directors and writers of this city. Not only it is convenient, but because the food is great and the wine list is magnificent. Look out for the art on display in this establishment, it is ever changing and almost always incredibly… well, modern.
In the night, an artist needs an inspiring and extravagant watering hole. The Mad Hatter is just that. 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 crowd is well-dressed, pleasurable and communicative. There is a small stage on which sometimes small adventures will be created. There is great bar food and a bartender who is at the top of his game. Let them entertain you!
The Carmagnole is French style Bistro and a stellar exception to the otherwise underwhelming food landscape in the Schanze (and what some say is the only reason to visit the Schanze). First, you will notice that the staff here take their Bar very seriously, and so should you! A proper aperitif is a ‘must’ here. The menu gives you various options of very well-done French or bold new dishes of market quality on a menu that changes every 14 days. If it is on the menu, take the sensational artichoke as a starter. There is Kronenbourg and Leffe on tap and a very good wine list. All good, all worth their price. The atmosphere is casual, the folks you will meet here may be called the Hamburg Bohème. So, dress sharp, bring cash (no CC) and either be on time (18:00) or make a reservation. The Carmagnole is very popular. If you have the chance (and the weather is good) try to get a place outside at their vintage blue tables on the terrace.
And then, there was another one! Beginning in 2017, there will be another reason to visit the Schanze if you want to eat great food and meet cool people. Introducing: The Cantina Popular. This small place is a small wonder. Latin American Cuisine with a phenomenal Bar (think: Pisco variations) and an open kitchen in which a Peruvian and a Chilean Chef battle for the best dishes. This starts with modern takes on Ceviche, homemade bread, seafood treasures, Hearts on a stick or Pablo Neruda’s favourite soup. Sounds interesting? Wait until you see and try. It is exciting. And these are great dishes to share around the table. Add some South American red wine or Beer from Peru and you will feel very satisfecho. This place is the place to be at the moment.
The GOLEM is a place for conscious entertainment and serious drinking; it’s somewhat of a nightclub, really. It offers a bar, a library, a hidden dancefloor, a movie theatre and one fine location near the waterline. The bartenders are alchemists, retrieving old drink recipes every week. Sure, you can order a beer or a Moscow Mule, but you might also get a little glare with that order. Instead, challenge the bar! These might be the best drinks you will have in Hamburg. During the week, they have countercultural readings or screenings, jazz sessions or small concerts in the bar. On weekends, though, this place turns into something different. There are usually DJs playing and before you know it, a dancefloor comes alive. Additionally, they will open the secret door (hidden between the bookshelves) to the basement, called the Krypta. There is yet another dancefloor – with different DJs playing music to get you dancing. This bar is really a club! Fellow bar patrons will be 21 and 49 with the best time to arrive is between 23:00 and midnight.