Hello! This is not Barbara, who you might have expected. I’m Jannik and within our new column 7 Towers – 7 Tips I was allowed to try my hand as a guest author during my internship. Barbara asked me to take a closer look at the bars in Lübeck and the bar culture.
7 towers – 7 tips
No sooner said than done – a small budget was handed over, colleagues were asked for insider tips, friends were packed and off we went. In the following, I take you on a small tour through modern trendy pubs, experimental gin bars, hipster pubs, cozy fan pubs, spirited Caribbean bars and the good old tavern. Follow me to the 7 bars in Lübeck.
Sternschnuppe in Lübeck
I had often noticed the Sternschnuppe bar from the outside. The attractive appearance is also a reason why I really wanted to include the place in this blogpost. It is located in Fleischhauerstraße and was recently completely renovated. The already appealing Art Nouveau façade was given a fresh exterior. The front is now adorned by light stone and the columns at the entrance by various golden figures. Inside, a modern pub awaits you, inviting you to chat in a cozy atmosphere.
Colestreet is a cozy bar located at Beckergrube 18 right next to the theater. The first Google searches promised me a cozy bar with a certain retro charm. Inspired by my research, my girlfriend decided to join me. So after a delicious meal at an Italian restaurant and a walk through Lübeck’s Old Town, wen arrived at Colestreet. From the outside, through the large windows we could already catch a glimpse of the hustle and bustle inside . In the large entrance area, cozy armchairs were grouped together in small clusters, so guests could sit outside with blankets and radiant heaters in the fresh air on this rather chilly October evening.
The friendly waiter scurried past us with a smile and invited us inside. The interior design delivered what my Google research promised – retro. The first thing I said to my girlfriend was “Look, the granny chairs!”. She pointed out that I should better not mention this term in my blogpost, it does not sound very positive. For me personally, however, the variously patterned armchairs, some in leather, some in fabric, radiated a feeling of coziness and security. Just like grandma’s place. Since it was a busy Friday night, we got a small table right in front of the bar, but had a good view of the entire space.
The rest of the decoration was a mixture of modern paintings and lamps in the cozy living room atmosphere matched with the “granny chairs”. You could see both young and older guests and always in between – good-humoured waiters. After ordering two beers, despite the many guests, we got into conversation with the waiter, whose name I unfortunately did not write down “The special thing about Colestreet is the proximity to the theatre and the clientele that comes with it. It often happens that actors come to our bar. Actually, they are always people who have something interesting to tell.”
In the same breath, we were invited to the 80’s/90’s themed party that took place a week later. Which brings us to the music: Lionel Ritchie played in the background, underscoring the loungy living room atmosphere. In the further course of our conversation, it emerged that the staff was quite prepared to serve a small drink in exchange for a few kind words – but in my trainee-journalist duty, I am of course not for sale. Colestreet is a very nice bar though. Really very nice. So really nice.
The Funambules in Lübeck
After this very nice start to our bar adventure, we decided that the next bar should contrast Colestreet. We walked along the Obertrave embankment and were quickly attracted by loud music. “Highway to Hell” was enough contrast to Lionel Ritchie for our taste. The pub that attracted us with its live music was the “Funambules” in house No. 18.
With a large beer positioned at the bar, we examined our surroundings and were amused to discover – I hope I’m not putting my foot in my mouth – that we had lowered the average age by quite a bit. Good-humoured people, I think the most charming expression is Best Ager, swayed next to us at the bar and toasted us. After a short while, we struck up a conversation with Skandar. Skandar is a student and helps out at the “Funambules”. One question we were burning to ask was “How do you even pronounce it and what does “Funambules” mean?” “Fün-am-bül is French and means tightrope walker. So now, over a few drinks, we joked and talked shop about what profound inspirations the landlord, who by now was in the midst of his guests and happily partying along, had probably had in coming up with the name for his pub. The answer we liked best is the idea that the Funambules is distinguished by its guests. Today, Skandar told me, it is the slightly older people who celebrate with rocking live music, next weekend a Halloween party with DJ is planned, where rather younger clientele is expected. And the following week, there is already the next live event with musicians from the area. “The Funambules always manages to keep the balance and be an open hearty pub for each:n.”
The Torrio’s American Bar
Torrio’s at Königstraße 36 is a classic American bar that places particular emphasis on courteous service and high-quality products. The interior is based on the style of the 1920s. You can also lean against Lübeck’s longest bar counter. The bar’s name is inspired by the city of New York. Giovanni “Johnny” Torrio was a 1920s mobster and a fixture in the illegal serving of home-brewed alcohol.
Torrio’s, by the way, is also very good at serving homemade stuff – but on a legal basis. Torrio’s Craft Gin is a delicate juniper gin composition with citrus aromas, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander and licorice. But the Torrio’s team is not only familiar with many spirits. The company’s online store sells various merchandise such as sweaters, shirts, aprons and various other items.
Dietrich’s – Café, Bar & Wine Bistro
Gin, as an absolutely trendy drink, is also the subject of another pub. Dietrich’s at Untertrave 108 is definitely one of Lübeck’s most creative and interesting bars. Here they have been pouring and tinkering with their own spirits for over 5 years now. Dietrich’s now offers over 300 gins, 15 tonics, over 200 whiskys and rhums, and 150 other types of liquor. Dietrich’s is so special because of the owner’s breathtaking creativity with which he works on spiritual novelties.
In 2018, a gin was was developed as a tribute to our beautiful Hanseatic city. The “KöniGIN der Hanse” ( Queen of the Hanse ) a delicious gin with a marzipan note – “distillates of roasted almonds, roses and butterscotch” refine the cult drink and make it just as irresistible as our city. By the way, the gin is also available at the tourist information. Dietrich’s has also produced many other creations, sometimes in collaboration with various Lübeck restaurateurs. A real liqueur manufactory and therefore absolutely justified to appear as a tip in this blogpost!
PS: Dietrich’s also offers workshops on the proper preparation, mixing and, of course, drinking of spirits under the name “How to drink”.
The Blauer Engel Lübeck
Speaking of “How to drink” – How to Drink is something you learn especially in your student days. As a student, I have of course already had the opportunity to experience a bar that is very highly frequented, especially among students. In one of Lübeck’s most famous streets, Clemensstraße 8, lies the Blauer Engel. When it comes to having a drink or two in a sociable environment with friends or strangers, this is one of the best places to go in Lübeck.
In particular, I would like to mention the social commitment of Brauer Engel. As “Café Welcome”, events were held in pre-pandemic years on Wednesdays, including language courses and country and game evenings, which served to welcome refugees and promote intercultural contact. There is so much to say about Blauer Engel, I could write a book about it. Although no book has yet been written about the bar Blauer Engel, as the workplace of the “barefoot dancer” Rosa Fröhlich it plays a very special role in the novel “Professor Unrat” by the Lübeck writer Heinrich Mann. The legendary scene with the amazing Marlene Dietrich as Lola Lola in the Josef von Sternberg film “The Blue Angel” helped the book to gain world fame.
The La Havana Lübeck
Speaking of books: In Lübeck, there is actually a bar that has its own book dedicated to it. In her 36-page book “La Havana: A German Cuban Story,” Ilona Ruiz Valdes tells how a colourful cocktail can be mixed from Cuban lifestyle and German reliability in a Caribbean bar in chilly northern Germany. The bar at Engelsgrube 56 is also the place to go for anyone who wants to shake a leg to Latin American rhythms and have a tasty cocktail or two. If you want to learn to dance Salsa, Bachata or Merengue, you are also welcome, because La Havana offers regular dance classes. The charismatic owner of the bar, Hector Ruiz Valdes, and his son Esteban never lose their patience in teaching Caribbean dance steps to the sometimes stiff-legged northern Germans.
Did you make it this far?
Then I thank you for following my very first attempt at writing a blog article. I hope you got an inspiration or two for your next bar outing. You can also find more tips for cafes, restaurants and bars in Lübeck on this website. How does Torrio’s put it so nicely on one of its merch shirts?
“It all adds up to gin in the end!”
Thank you and see you next time,