Gracious stucco-fronted houses line leafy avenues, cafés are dotted along enticing shopping streets, elegant balconies overlook tranquil waterways. Welcome to Eppendorf, one of Hamburg’s most charming neighbourhoods.
Set in the north of the city, above the Aussenalster lake, Eppendorf is often bypassed by visitors, which is a pity – this former village is not only very chic, it grew rich in the 19th century and has a particularly fine legacy of ornate art nouveau architecture. Even the exterior of Kellinghusenstrasse metro station is embellished with fine stone carving. Eppendorf is also generously endowed with appealing green spaces, from the lovely Kellinghusen park to the idyllic waterside Hayns park. The swans which glide along Eppendorf’s quiet canals add to the district’s beauty ‒ in the depths of winter they live on Eppendorfer Mühlenteich, a mill pond that is kept ice-free for the birds while ice skaters are making a striking sight on Isekanal and Leinpfadkanal.
In recent years, there’s been an increasing buzz in the area, with a growing number of independent galleries, cafés and pop-up stores setting up here. Go-PopUp, a German community platform that helps brands and creative businesses find temporary space, is becoming ever-more active in Eppendorf. It organises temporary exhibitions at the Only Art Club on Eppendorfer Weg and its recent retail projects have included a Secret Labels pop-up store on Hegestrasse. Co-founder Patrick Burkert says that Eppendorf is an ideal neighbourhood for pop-up stores because the people living there are a perfect target group. They are drawn to the district by the ambience and the green areas, he says, and they have good incomes and enjoy an enviable work/life balance.
For a taste of that lifestyle, make like a local and head to Isemarkt, Eppendorf’s famous open-air market, which is held on Isestrasse every Thursday and Friday from 8.30am to 2pm. The stalls of this gourmet farmers’ market are usually spread over about a kilometre (it’s said to be Europe’s largest such event) and in addition to about 200 merchants selling fresh produce, it offers arts and crafts outlets. Alternatively, if you’re in Eppendorf on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday you could check out the market held at Marie-Jonas-Platz off Eppendorfer Landstrasse. An ideal destination for the health-conscious, it offers a great range of fresh, organic products.
Of course, Eppendorf didn’t become one of Hamburg’s most desirable districts because of its markets alone. Eppendorfer Landstrasse, Eppendorfer Weg and Eppendorfer Baum, the main shopping streets, offer a host of stylish retail options.
The multi-brand store Linette at Eppendorfer Baum 19 stocks the latest collections by international designers such as Isabel Marant, Diane von Furstenberg and Sabrina Dehoff. If it’s Scandi-cool you’re after, then the Grand Hotel of Sweden boutique at Eppendorfer Landstrasse 6 offers a Nordic treasure trove of niche and well-known labels. With its relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff and carefully curated selection of covetable clothes and accessories, it’s easy to see why this store is such a hit with locals and visitors alike.
After browsing, you may want to take some refreshment, so make your way to the Petit Café at Hegestrasse 29, a charmingly retro-chic venue complete with a grandfather clock. It serves freshly brewed coffee made from beans roasted on site and, best of all, offers traditional blechkuchen tray bakes, which are made across Germany in a range of styles. The blechkuchen at the Petit Café are baked daily and served warm with seasonal fruits; a slice will give you a delicious and unforgettable taste of Hamburg.
End your day at Poletto Winebar at Eppendorfer Weg 287. Here you can choose from an exciting wine list that includes several own-label bottles of Italian vintages – there’s also an adjacent wine shop where you can buy much of the range. Poletto, an epicurean haven, was established in 2009 by Italian sommelier Remigio Poletto. He has an impressive background in the restaurant world, having worked at the Savoy Hotel in London and run Hamburg’s acclaimed Rive bistro. His Eppendorf winebar is lively and sophisticated, with dark wood furniture and floors, and black and white photographs of Hollywood stars adorning the walls. The Italian menu served here has been carefully devised to complement the wines, and Poletto’s classic dishes such as Piedmont black rice risotto have received much praise from local residents – yet another reason to visit Eppendorf.