The port city of Hamburg – the second busiest container port in Europe – has long been renowned for its nightlife and its infamous and sleazy Reeperbahn Street in the St Pauli neighborhood. True, the ‘red-light’ district still exists, but there is much more to the area as it has some really good live music and dance clubs and is the heart and soul of the city after nightfall. So, here are the top 10 things to do in Hamburg at night. Have a look!
1. Good food to enjoy
Brachmann’s Galeron is one of the new generations of restaurants in the city. Situated in the St Pauli neighborhood, the restaurant has a good menu of Swabian dishes from Southern Germany. Dishes are tasty and really well priced and there are vegetarian choices too.
On Thursday -Saturday evenings, the whiskey bar downstairs is open, not just for a good range of whiskey as there is live music until late.
2. A good beer or two at Ratsherrn
Craft beer is really popular in Hamburg as it is in most cities and there are several microbreweries in the city. One of the most popular is Ratsherrn which produces six really good beers that are available on draught, ranging from a light pils to a malty brew. There are also 60 other craft beers from all over the world available to try. Why not make an evening of it? There is a selection of simple, but really tasty dishes including goulash, handmade burgers and veggie burgers.
3. Walk the walk
There is a really impressive tunnel system that goes 24 meters below the Elbe river. There are two tunnels – one for vehicles and the other for pedestrians and cyclists. The tunnels are 426 meters in length and were built in 1911. They completely transformed the city as workers in the port were able to get home much more easily. It is well worth taking a stroll along the tunnel which is lined in cream glazed tiles and still has the original signage and nautical motifs.
4. Get a panoramic bird’s eye view
The Clouds Bar & Restaurant in Reeperbahn Str occupies the top three floors of one of the tallest buildings. The restaurant is on two levels and features French-inspired cuisine and the window tables have a great view over the city. Up on the roof (the 24th floor) is the Heaven’s Nest rooftop terrace which has a bar and open-air night club – as well as an unbelievable 360º view over Hamburg.
5. Walk in the footsteps of The Beatles
The Beatles were in Hamburg in 1960 and famously played in several clubs including the Indra Club and Kaiserkeller (both in Grossefreiheitstrasse in St Pauli). The Beatles played in the Indra Club for 48 nights and stayed in Hamburg for 18 months performing a total of 250 nights. Both clubs are still very popular and have live music every night – with many musicians hoping that they can follow in The Beatles’ footsteps.
6. Enjoy coffee with a view
The Jungfernstieg is the commercial heart of Hamburg and has a series of elegant buildings overlooking the water. There is a lovely promenade to enjoy called the Binnenlaster and in days gone by, young ladies would walk along the promenade hoping to meet eligible young bachelors from the wealthy Hanseatic families. The glass-fronted Alster Pavilion which overlooks the river is the perfect place to stop and enjoy coffee and a pastry.
7. Step aboard an evening illumination cruise
This interesting one hour cruise explores Speicherstadt – the warehouse area – which is full of tall red-brick warehouses and numerous waterways. The whole area has been renovated and appears on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Some of the warehouses are still in use for storing sugar, tea, and spices plus electrical goods and furniture, but others have been converted into snazzy apartment blocks. If you would rather not join an organized tour, just jump on a water bus, the No 61 goes to Neuhof and the No 72 as far as Elbphilharmonie.
8. Enjoy a meal of fresh fish
Hamburg has a huge fish market that is for ‘trade’ customers only and in its vicinity, several fish restaurants have grown up. BistrOcean is one of them and has a great reputation for excellent fish at really good prices. It is a little lacking in finesse because there are just large wooden tables and customers are packed in, but if you want tasty fish, you are in the right place! There is a ‘dish of the day’ chalked on the blackboard costing just ten euros.
9. Unusual cocktails to rediscover
Christiansen’s Fine Drinks & Cocktails is a really special place to enjoy the evening if you like handcrafted cocktails. There are more than 200 to choose from because the owner, Uwe Christiansen, is a top mixologist and has been for more than 35 years. He even has a section in his cocktail list for vintage and forgotten cocktails! There is often good rock music too, but never worry about the place getting overcrowded- Uwe puts up a polite sign stating that sadly Christiansen’s is full.
10. A wonderful evening at Elbphilharmonic
This dramatic looking concert hall with the local nickname of ‘Elphi’ is one of the largest and most acoustically acclaimed concert halls in the world. It opened in January 2017 close to the Speicherstadt. It was built on top of an old warehouse, close to the river and is the tallest independent building in the city. It is a very dramatic glossy looking building that is particularly dramatic at night when it is floodlit. The Elbphilharmonic has three different sized concert halls and a rich and varied program of entertainment.