Some of Bavaria's inns have been serving food and drink for four or five centuries. There you can enjoy historical flair, Bavarian specialities or modern culinary trends! Text: Markus Stein
14 Historic Taverns & Inns in Bavaria
Bavaria without taverns? A nightmare scenario. But don't worry, the good old taverns still exist, even if these places of gathering are becoming rarer, especially in the smaller village communities.
We have put together a list of places where you can experience genuine Bavarian conviviality, cosiness and hospitality in centuries-old taverns. Taverns in Upper and Eastern Bavaria, as well as in Franconia and Allgäu/Bavarian Swabia, which have existed for generations and are venues for family celebrations, regulars' tables and humidly cheerful evenings among friends.
"The death of taverns? The life of taverns!"
This is the title given by the "House of Bavarian History" in Regensburg to its homage to Bavarian taverns. The exhibition aims to explore the question of how the "death of the tavern" could have happened in the first place. What the changed leisure behaviour of people, bottled beer and the tavern keepers' lack of adaptability have to do with it is explained and shown in detail. A cultural history of the Bavarian tavern, in a sense.
The counterpart to the Italian piazzetta
The exhibition is complemented by three short films by Michael Bauer, in which Gerhard Polt, among others, ponders as a "tavern expert" on the significance of tavern life in Bavarian everyday life, then and now. It is, after all, the counterpart to the Italian piazzetta. Those who have never been there don't understand it. You have to experience it. In the pub, people come together, exchange ideas. People laugh, drink and eat together.
In the end, taverns are about something very human: the feeling of belonging and hospitality.
Read more about the exhibition (only in German)
Carp in the Ratskeller: "Gasthof zur Sonne" in Neustadt a. d. Aisch
The "Sonne" is the most traditional tavern in Neustadt a. d. Aisch. The region around the medieval town is famous for its pond farming and the Aischgründer mirror carp. The inn near Neustadt's market square looks back on a long history. In 1568, the house was built below the Nuremberg Gate. It has been used as an inn since 1632. In the meantime, it also served as a stop for stagecoaches and as a brewery.
The "Sonne" has been family-owned since 1904 and is now run by the sixth generation. The cuisine is modern Franconian, serving steaks, game and lamb dishes as well as carp from September to April. The unplastered historic barrel vault of the Ratskeller is a particularly cosy place to sit. There are more seats in the cosy parlour, the small room and the banqueting hall. On warm days, a beer garden in the backyard invites you to linger.
sonne-nea.de (only in German)
Franconian Journey Through Time: "Gasthof Gentner" in the Altmühltal Nature Park
The "Gasthof Gentner" was built in 1672 as the estate of Spielberg Castle. The nearby castle is enthroned on the Hahnenkamm, a range of hills in the Franconian Alb in the district of Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen. It houses an art gallery and can be visited. The tavern has belonged to the Gentner family for more than 150 years. Anyone who enters it takes a journey back in time. Almost unchanged, the architecture and furnishings reflect Franconian building traditions and 19th century living culture.
The centrepiece is the parlour with wooden panelling and a circular bench, brass lamps, pictures and an old piano. There is room for thirty people at the five oak tables. The kitchen emphasises seasonal vegetables, prepared fresh daily, hand-cooked sauces, fine herbs and quality cold-pressed oils. Where possible, the ingredients come from partners in the region.
The tavern has also been included in the Slow Food Gourmet Guide. The seven guest rooms with modern comfort are partly furnished with historical Franconian furniture. The Franconian Lake District is only 20 kilometres away.
Holy Cow! „Schlappeseppel“ in Aschaffenburg
A traditional tavern should ideally also have a beautiful legend. And this is how it goes at the "Schlappeseppel," Aschaffenburg's oldest inn. It is 1631, the Thirty Years' War is raging. King Gustav Adolf of Sweden has conquered the town on the Lower Main and is taking up quarters in Johannisburg Castle (the stately red sandstone building is the town's biggest attraction). But there is not a single sip of beer left in the barrels in the castle cellar!
Fortunately, there is a soldier who understands the craft of brewing. Soldier Joseph Lögler, known as the "wimpy or “schlappe” Seppel" because of his war-injured, lame foot. Lögler brews with brilliance and remains in the city as a brewer when the Swedes leave. He thus lays the foundation stone for the brewery and traditional restaurant "Schlappeseppel". It was not until 1978 that the brewery ceased operations.
A brewing museum has been set up in the former brewery building. In the adjoining iconic pub, in the listed building within sight of the castle, one meets young and old, tourists as well as regulars. The kitchen serves hearty dishes, accompanied by regional beer specialities.
schlappeseppel-ab.de (only in German)
Farmers and Brewers: "Oberer Wirt" in Pfronten
One of the oldest and most traditional inns in the Allgäu is the "Oberer Wirt" in Pfronten. It is located at the foot of the Breitenberg, which can be reached quickly and comfortably by cable car. The tavern, which evolved from a farm with a brewery, has been in the family since the 16th century.
The furnishings of the guest rooms were reconstructed during a thorough renovation using existing old wood from the building. The traditional cuisine can be enjoyed in the rustic parlour or in the beer garden. The "Obere Wirt" also has guest rooms. A worthwhile destination in the area, on foot or by car, is the nearby Falkenstein Castle ruins. King Ludwig II wanted to build his last project there, a fairytale castle even bigger than Neuschwanstein. Or you can explore the Ostallgäu on one of the many cycling and hiking trails.
hotel-pfronten.de (only in German)
Counts and Robbers: "Alte Roggenschenke" near Neu-Ulm
The building was built in 1670 as a guesthouse for the former imperial monastery of Roggenburg. Since then, it has served as a place of retreat. Matthias Klostermayr once enjoyed himself in the hospitable rooms. The "Bavarian Hiasl" (1736 to 1771), a kind of Bavarian-Swabian Robin Hood, probably served as the model for Schiller's Karl Moor, the idealistic, violent robber chief. As a result of secularisation, the building fell to the Counts of Geldern-Egmont, who leased it out until 1992 as the "Gräfliche von Geldern-Egmontsche Gast- und Tafernwirthschaft zur Krone".
When the "Gaschthaus" was to close in 1997, the owners Inge and Hans Blum acquired the listed building and renovated it with care. The furnishings of the parlour with its wood-burning stove and oval table date back to the 1960s. The cosy adjoining room, the Hiasl-Stube, is reminiscent of the Swabian outlaw.
An eye-catcher is the tavern sign, an ornate, wrought-iron bracket on the outside wall. It shows the coat of arms of the Reichsstift Roggenburg: three ears of rye formed into a crown. Cosiness and down-to-earth Bavarian-Swabian cuisine are the hallmarks of the "Alte Roggenschenke". In summer, you can sit in the beer garden under the chestnut trees.
roggenschenke.de (only in German)
Staufer Wall: "Roter Ochse" in Nördlingen
The core of the building in which the "Rote Ochse" in Nördlingen serves its guests was built in 1273. It is probably the oldest house in Nördlingen! A part of the old Staufer town wall was even found in it. The building is a stone house and not a half-timbered building, as was once common. Stone houses were pure luxury at that time.
Another remarkable feature is that a coffered ceiling from the 17th century has been almost completely preserved on the first floor, along with a lavishly decorated door. A wheat beer brewery is first mentioned in the building in 1545, and the "Roter Ochse" tavern is mentioned by name in 1634. The round-arched portal of the house with double doors dates from around 1800.
Today, the "Rote Ochse" is a protected architectural monument. In the tavern you can enjoy original Rieser cuisine. It stands for down-to-earthness. The chickens, Rieser Bresse chickens, are home-bred, the vegetables come from fields and gardens around Nördlingen. The bread is baked especially for the "Rote Ochsen".
roter-ochse-noerdlingen.de (only in German)
World Champion! "Gasthaus Röhrl" Near Regensburg
More than record-breaking, even record-holder! The Guinness Book of Records celebrates the "Gasthaus Röhrl" as the "oldest tavern in the world" that has remained open without a long interruption in family ownership. The owners Karin and Muk are the eleventh generation to run it!
The Röhrls have owned this hospitable house in Eilsbrunn near Regensburg, a town with a population of 1,000, since 1658, when Bavaria was ruled by Elector Ferdinand Maria, who, by the way, built the Theatiner Church in Munich and Nymphenburg Palace. The present appearance of the listed building dates from 1902 after alterations and extensions.
The furnishings are simple and elegant. The lounge with its all-round bench is wood-panelled and the natural maple tables date back to the 1930s. There are adjoining rooms, a beautiful hall and a beer garden. The kitchen serves mainly hearty Bavarian food. A delicacy: the roast pork from the Wamsler wood-fired oven, built in 1929. A small exhibition on the first floor provides information about the history. Right next to the tavern, the modern-Bavarian styled "Hotel Röhrl" offers 25 rooms for overnight guests.
gaststaette-roehrl.de (only in German)
Rooted: "Radifizierte Tafernwirtschaft D'Ehrn" in Finsterau
Once upon a time, the "Radifizierte Ehrn", mentioned in a document in 1577, stood on a plot of land in the district of Regen in the Bavarian Forest. The farmhouse tavern included a farm and the right to maintain an tavern and accommodation business. This right was "radified", i.e. "rooted", and tied to the property. It could only pass to an owner when the house and farm were sold.
The guests of the "Ehrn" were mainly farmers, craftsmen and carters. The house with a massive brick ground floor and large windows, with a dance hall above, was built in 1840, demolished in 1976 and rebuilt in 1980 in the open-air museum in Finsterau.
Coniferous woods such as spruce or larch dominate in the guest room. Tastefully decorated, the room has a homely charm all of its own. There is a "Herrgottswinkel" and a regulars' table. The "Ehrn" has room for a total of sixty guests. The kitchen serves "handmade" Bavarian down-to-earth dishes.
ehrn.de (only in German)
Specialist: „Weisses Bräuhaus“ in Kelheim
The brewery bears the title of "Bavaria's oldest wheat beer brewery". At the beginning of the 17th century, Duke Maximilian I ruled the land. He inherited the "Weißbierregal", i.e. the right to brew wheat beer, from the Counts Degenberger of Bogen and, enterprising as he was, founded numerous wheat beer breweries in the land. The first was in Kelheim in 1607. Since then, the famous top-fermented beer has been brewed in the historic vaults in the old town. In the 19th century, under the reign of King Ludwig II, Georg Schneider of Munich became the first bourgeois to be granted the "Weissbierregal" and brewed the "Schneider Weisse" in Munich from 1872.
In the 1920s, the Schneider family took over the brewery in Kelheim. The historic vaulted ensemble is just a few steps from the boat landing stages and the walking and cycling paths along the Danube. Guests are seated in the rustic Bräustüberl, the Sommersaal with ceiling paintings, the rustic wood-panelled Jägerzimmer, a stately banqueting hall and a cosy beer garden. The cuisine is down-to-earth and regional, the beer comes fresh from the brewery.
weisses-brauhaus-kelheim.de (only in German)
Cheers, Dr. Frankenstein! „Gasthaus Daniel“ in Ingolstadt
In 1471 Albrecht Dürer saw the light of day in Nuremberg, Túpac Yupanqui became the tenth ruler of the Inca Empire in Peru and João de Santarém discovered the island of São Tomé in the Gulf of Guinea. And in Ingolstadt? There, the first guests are served in the "Daniel". A good 100 years later, from 1580, Francis Drake completes his circumnavigation of the globe, they brew their own beer in the tavern. Then in 1818, the writer Mary Shelly has her Dr. Frankenstein study in Ingolstadt. It is quite conceivable that the young scientist enjoyed the beer in the "Daniel" ... Today, the small Frankensteinstüberl on the upper floor is a reminder of him.
The tavern has been thoroughly renovated and rebuilt and also has a rustic guest room in the basement, an elegant Stüberl, a large guest room with a small house brewery upstairs and a beer garden in the backyard. The kitchen serves Bavarian classics. The home-brewed, bottom-fermented, light-coloured "Danielbier" is a delicious accompaniment.
gasthausdaniel.de (only in German)
This is Where the Action Happens: "Gasthaus zur Post Hirzinger" in Chiemgau.
The inn was first mentioned in writing in 1477 as "Wirth von Selhueben". Söllhuben, the modern name, is located near Riedering in the Chiemgau. Until 1928, the inn was also the site of the "Söllhuben post office". The building that houses the inn was erected in the 1880s. It contains the beautiful, almost original innkeeper's parlour from that time, a parlour and two halls.
The tavern's own butchery supplies meat and sausage for the kitchen. The "Hirzinger Weißbier" is brewed especially for the inn by the Unertl brewery. A wine tavern is set up in the former horse stables. And in summer you can sit in the beer garden under the chestnut trees. A new addition is the hotel, for which many old building materials were used and which combines modern style with tradition. Since 2006, the "Hirzinger" has been the venue for the Bavarian Television programme "Wirtshausmusikanten".
hirzinger.eu (only in German)
A Bed for Luther: "Traditionsgasthof Alpenrose" in Mittenwald
In the 16th century, the building served as an outer monastery for the Augustinian canons of Rottenbuch in the Pfaffenwinkel. Martin Luther probably spent the night there on his journey home from Rome in 1511. Even today, you can spend the night, eat and drink in the house, which is beautifully decorated with Lüftl paintings.
You sit in the traditionally designed guest room, whose ceiling is painted by hand. A rustic atmosphere prevails in the vaults of the Josefikeller, and the sun terrace on the Marktbach invites you to stop in during the warmer months. There is also a small salettl for private parties and a chapel.
The kitchen of the traditional inn serves Bavarian delicacies as well as international dishes. From 8 am there is a morning pint with Weißwürstl (white sausages) and pretzels, and in the evening there is zither music for entertainment.
hotel-alpenrose-mittenwald.de (only in German)
Picture Perfect: „Gasthaus Zur Linde“ on Fraueninsel
Fraueninsel is the second largest island in Lake Chiemsee after Herreninsel island. About three hundred inhabitants live there. According to tradition, the Benedictine convent Frauenwörth was founded at the end of the 8th century. Rebuilt in the Baroque period, it dominates the island and is the destination of the pilgrimage to Blessed Irmengard, the great-granddaughter of Charlemagne and the first abbess of the monastery known by name and patron saint of Chiemgau. Guests have been making pilgrimages to the "Zur Linde" inn for 600 years. The beautiful location at the highest point of the island, the classic inn architecture and straightforward Bavarian flair ensure cosiness. The cuisine combines down-to-earthness with sophistication.
The ingredients mostly come from producers in the region. Fish, for example, comes fresh from Lake Chiemsee, and game is supplied by local hunters. In the 19th century, painters in particular fell in love with the graceful landscape around Lake Chiemsee. One of them, Max Haushofer, also fell in love with the "Linde" innkeeper's daughter. He married her in 1838. Over time, more and more painters were drawn to the island and the Chiemsee painters' colony was born. Many of their paintings are on display in the "Galerie Maler am Chiemsee" (Painters' Gallery on Lake Chiemsee) in the Augustinian Canons' Monastery on Herrenchiemsee. The quickest way to reach Fraueninsel is by boat from the Gstadt landing stage on the north shore of the lake.
linde-frauenchiemsee.de (only in German)
Schnitzel and a Hallelujah: „Mesnerwirt“ in St. Johann
The "Mesnerwirt" can be found in the village of St. Johann, south-east of Traunstein. The beginnings of the house go back to the 16th century. From the beginning, the tavern has been connected with the sacristan service of the small, listed church of St. John the Baptist, which stands right next door. The sacristan (= sexton) looks after the sacristy, opens and closes the church and performs other tasks in the church.
Profiled door frames in the "Mesnerwirt" and the beamed ceiling in the hallway indicate the long tradition of the tavern. A late Baroque wooden ceiling adorns the smaller of the two guest rooms. It can seat 20 guests, the large room a good 30. A tiled stove provides warmth in the cold season. A "Herrgottswinkel" is a reminder of the peasant way of life. In summer, you can sit outside on the sunny terrace or in a shady wooden arbour. The delicacies are prepared on the wood-burning stove, and the schnitzels with crispy fried potatoes from landlady Wally Mader are well-known far and wide.
mesnerwirt-stjohann.de (only in German)
The perfect beer ... and other treasures: Gasthaus zum Riesen in Miltenberg
The “Gasthaus zum Riesen” in Miltenberg in Lower Franconia proudly calls itself the oldest inn and the oldest princely hostel in all of Germany. According to a chronicle, countless royal visitors have paid homage to the inn, which has been known since the 12th century. Among them, Ludwig of Bavaria, in 1314, after his election as king and successor to Karl IV, for eight days in February 1368! The first documented mention of the house dates back to 1411.
The stately Renaissance half-timbered building has been carpentered since 1589, and, in the 19th century, this historical giant also gained its brewing license. In 2001, the inn was extensively renovated. Today, foam-crowned jugs, in particular, are the trademark of this stunning location. 16 different types of beer from the Faust brewery are served here, seven of them on tap. You should definitely try the house craft beers, such as “Faust-Auswandererbier 1849” with German and American hops.
riesen-miltenberg.de (only in German)