Germany is known for three things: BMW, Bavaria and their bier halls. Needless to say, but Hamburg has the best the country has to offer of the later. Known to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, Hamburg offers visits to sample ample of Germany’s best known exports. Last Night of Freedom run down the best places to partake in one of Germany’s oldest customs.
Let’s start this one off properly. Everyone has that one mate who drinks others under the table and no doubt this bar will put him to the test. Illegal in many countries, Absinth is the Devil’s spirit. Literally. It’s either naturally green or colourless and is truly as potent as they come, sending you from totally sober to a drunken mess in a few shots. If you’ve never been brave enough to try absinth, there’s no better time than in Hamburg – and this Absinth Bar is the ultimate venue to lose your absinth virginity. The ambiance of the bar is minimalist, dark and moody, with a bright green glow (no, that’s not just the absinth skewing your vision). They’ve got a huge range of different absinths on the menu for you to try, all well-presented, some even flaming – but they’ll all end with you in the same state. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Notoriously difficult to find, Clockers is widely regarded as one of Hamburg’s best kept secrets and an absolute must on any visit to Hamburg. Look out for the discrete doorbell and buzz your way in, like some sort of exclusive 1920s speakeasy rocketed into modern day life. Once you’re in, it’s almost like a treehouse with moss-lined walls, neatly piled wood and fairy lights lining branches hanging from the ceiling. The expertly trained staff will be waiting on hand to recommend something which suits every individual palette, whether you’re after something safe that you know and love, or you want to try something a bit new. It’s even got its own house-distilled Clockers Gin, which you can enjoy in the main bar or in the library-esque upper-floor that’s all woody tones, soft lighting and Chesterfield seating. Definitely one you’ll want to share when you get home.
The Chug Club
This bar pretty much represents everything about Hamburg. Just off Reeperbahn, The Chug Club doesn’t look anything from the outside, but step in for an experience you won’t forget. This temple to spirits knows the perfect alchemy to concocting high-end drinks. However, these are not just your usual kind of drinks. The simple concept of this complex bar, is to fill small glasses (chugs) with your favourite flavours, each with their own potency, starting at high and ending in lethal. An average five chug tray is going to cost you around €20, so it’s not the cheapest in the area but it’s certainly worth it. Just remember to chug responsibly.
Probably the cheapest bar on the Reeperbahn, Zum Silbersack welcomes you with open arms. It’s been around since 1949 and has become a bit of a cult within Hamburg, as it continually delivers cheap drinks and German power ballads in equal measures. We’ll be honest, the floors are a bit sticky, the air is vaguely smoky and the no-frills staff aren’t going to serve you cocktails with origami adornments, but, it’s the most authentic German boozer you could possibly come across. Like time stood still, Zum Silbersack is like a 1950s German tavern on the inside, with wooden furnishings and vintage check curtains, but that’s all part of its charm. This corner building has multi-coloured tiles and graffiti murals on the exterior walls. For sure, it’ll be a one to remember.
Lastly, after all that why not try something a bit different, as you step back to the bygone era of proper vinyl in the effortlessly cool Le Fonque. Behind its mysterious black and red façade, this small and intimate joint has low leather seating and a suggestive shimmer under its neon-red lighting. This popular hangout for lively locals is super laid-back and hosts nightly DJs playing the very best in funk and soul to packed dancefloors. You’ll be pleased to hear that unlike surrounding bars, the drinks prices in Le Fonque are very pocked friendly, leaving extra cash for other touristy things, not like you’ll be doing much after here. When partying here, you’ve also got a whole range of eateries around the corner for those inevitable late-night munchies.
Looking to plan a stag do to the German city or thinking about visiting Hamburg, then check out our stags guide to Hamburg.