Munich is long been known for its locally brewed beer. Several of the city’s celebrated breweries can trace their history back as far as the 14th century, and their products are an integral part of the famous Oktoberfest. Visitors to the Bavarian capital should certainly try a foaming pint of Helles golden lager, the most popular local brew, which is pale in colour and has a pleasingly malty, mild taste.
However, the city also entertains a thriving cocktail-bar scene, serving up exotic flavours and expertly made classics to appreciative patrons. With everything from rooftop hotspots with breathtaking views to hidden garden spaces and speakeasy-influenced hotspots, travellers in Munich will have some difficult decisions to make at cocktail hour.
These contemporary bars come complete with in-house mixologists who are committed to using only the finest ingredients in their quest to create fresh, interesting new combinations and twists on the well-known classics. A hit with Munich’s locals and visitors alike, the city’s hippest bars are blended, shaken and stirred to perfection.
Jahreszeiten Bar offers traditional English style in the centre of Munich. The generously supplied bar stocks more than 20 types of Champagne alone, including Roederer Cristal, Dom Perignon-Ermitage and Veuve Clicquot Grande Dame. When it comes to cocktails, even the most discerning connoisseurs will be impressed by the choice, from a properly made Old Fashioned to a signature Fashion on Max, a tribute to Maximilianstrasse made from gin laced with rhubarb, ginger, hibiscus, lime and Champagne. Perfect for both special occasions and a relaxing evening in front of the open fire with friends, it’s also the ideal spot for pre-performance drinks and canapés thanks to its proximity to the city’s theatres and opera house.
Jahreszeiten Bar, Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski, Maximilianstrasse 17, 80539 Munich, +49 (0)89 2125 2217
Goldene Bar was named Bar of the Year at the Mixology Bar Awards in 2013, thanks to its imaginative list of cocktails with creative names such as Gintelligence, Bee’s Knees and Smooth Criminal. The retro-with-a-twist interior is equally seductive, with the whole thing bathed in an appropriately golden light courtesy of a vast 1920s chandelier. On the walls, original 1930s murals painted on gold-leaf show everything from scenes of the grape harvest overseen by Bacchus to old-fashioned maps of Europe and the Caribbean, illustrating the origins of many of the wines and spirits on display. A relaxed jazz soundtrack only adds to the refined appeal.
Goldene Bar, Haus der Kunst, Prinzregentenstrasse 1, 80538 Munich, +49 (0)89 5480 4777
Schumann’s Bar, with its minimalist brushed-steel-and-wood interior, is a refreshing alternative to Munich’s more classic venues. It attracts a chic crowd, largely thanks to its multi-talented and supremely stylish owner, Charles Schumann, who has not only modelled for Baldessarini and Yohji Yamamoto, but also published several cocktail books and designed a collection of bespoke barware. The drinks list concentrates on exquisite flavour combinations and classics with a twist, all selected by Schumann himself, who can often be found behind the bar discussing the city’s cocktail culture with his customers.
Schumann’s Bar, Odeonsplatz 6-7, 80539 Munich, +49 (0)89 229060
Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior and the rather plain décor at Zephyr. The interior may be minimalist – think grey walls, simple stool seating and lighting that doubles as low tables – but the cocktail menu is anything but. Electric Moon, Voodoo Swizzle and Sous Chef are just a few of the tantalising names applied to drinks that take mixology to a new level. The bar is particularly known for the imaginative use of fresh ingredients, from passion fruit and strawberries to herbs and flowers, the piles of which behind the bar add a lavish dash of colour to the scene.
Zephyr, Baaderstrasse 68, 80469 Munich