28 April, 2016

World's 50 Best Bars editor Hamish Smith has been to Hamburg - here is his bar guide.


IT’S HARD to say where the top bar scene in Germany is  – the best venues are pretty evenly spread around its cities – so let’s just venture that Hamburg is up there. This is not a definitive list but if you happen upon Hamburg in need of refreshment, these bars won’t disappoint.  


Neuer Jungfernstieg 9 20354 Hamburg

A cubbyhole of dark woods which spirals over two floors at the entrance of Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten hotel, Jahreszeiten is tiny but has a lot going for it. Here we’re talking classical styling – both in décor and drinks. In Germany, bar outings tend to be an evening affair, so it’s nice to have a sophisticated spot in the centre of town for that late afternoon stiffener. Barkeep Enrico Wilhelm will likely be there, manning the small serpentine bar at this venue’s centrepiece.


Eppendorfer Weg 211

20253 Hamburg

Jörg Meyer’s Boilerman is an expression of self-contradiction. “We wrote a list of everything we did for Le Lion and did the opposite,” says Meyer, as if dismissing the blueprint to one of the world’s most famous bars is the logical thing to do. But, like the Michelin star chef who eventually just wants to
open a brasserie, Meyer wanted a no-nonsense neighbourhood bar.

Le Lion has shaken cocktails, Boilerman does not shake any drink. Le Lion has one beer on the menu, Boilerman has 10. Le Lion is in the centre of town, Boilerman is a neighbourhood place, with neighbourhood prices. It’s a busy, no-pretence volume bar with skilful but simple drinks – most of which are highballs, using pre-batched recipes, all of which are served with two specially frozen ice balls. The drinks can be served in 10 seconds, which has to be a plus.


Joe Bates

A mixed bag looking ahead

There is a refreshing sense of optimism surrounding the travel retail business which I haven’t seen for quite a few years.

Click for more »