Just about the most original place to open in Brasov for some time is Dr. Jekelius – Pharmacy Cafe and the thematic of the place, as the name says, is pharmaceutical. Looks for the outside like an old-fashioned chemist, while the inside is a charming recreation of a pharmacy. It’s resembles that of another era, the details, the decorations and it’s whole story has a magical vibe that makes you feel as though you’ve stepped back to the late 19th century, from which much of the decor dates back to.
It doesn’t remind you at all of nowadays’ high-tech pharmacies, with those fancy machines that measure your blood pressure and all that, but of the kind of pharmacy that your grandmother used to go when she was young – or, more precise, the one that Dr. Jekelius used to go to when he was alive. Ferdinand Jekelius was a chemist, opening “the seventh Jekelius pharmacy” (the first pharmacy opened in Brasov) on the actual Str. Republicii 17, around 1850. It was called “The pharmacy of the gold fish”. The Jekelius House is situated at the intersection of Str. Michael Weiss and Str. Republicii.
But the building where the cafe is located was the place where Doctor Leo Greif used to work in. This doctor liked to experiment with natural products and prepare medicine. Some of his recipes are served in the cafe, some are good for colds, some for kidneys, you can find everything here. Look what his son says about him:
Among other things, my father-in-law invented a recipe for bitter, bitter which gave me quite a big surprise one day in 2000. I was walking down one of the main streets of Brasov, and in front of a fancy and classy bar, Festival 39, I saw a plate outside with his signature, Leo Greif. He used to manufacture it in his laboratory and sell it while he still worked. I could recognize it among a thousand others, so I went inside and talked to the owner. Apparently, he was serving for free to every customer who entered his bar a Leo Greif bitter. And he asked me to give him something personal of Leo Greif if I had anything. I did and gave him a few old IDs. You can still find this bar, which is full of old pictures, and you can see Leo Greif’s photos there if you ask for someone to show them to you.
He died in 1966 and he was buried in the Jewish cemetery here, in Brasov.
Dr. Jekelius Pharmacy Cafe has now a range of natural products: teas, oils, spices. The list is long, including fruit mixes, each fresh having a specific name and the strangest ingredients and colours. Besides cocktails there is a good selection of tea (some with alcohol) and rare coffee (some you can only find in Israel, for example). Instead of glasses you are served in chemistry recipients: Berzelius glasses, tubes. The waitresses wear white chemistry robes and keep all the ingredients in medicine drawers.
Make sure you put it on you “must visit” list next time you are in Brasov.
The closest airport near Brasov is the one in Bucharest. From there, take a train/maxi taxi. To arrive at the cafe go by bus.