A Hedonist's Hamburg

The city is burgeoning with stylish bars and late night haunts.

Featured May 08

A new crop of stylish nightspots have emerged to redefine this once-rowdy city, full of seedy side streets, as a glistening party capital



Designed by famed Milanese architect Matteo Thun, Vapiano is the perfect example of Hamburg's out-of-the-box nightlife ethos. It's a stylish, self-service pizza and pasta eatery, which morphs into one of the city's most popular late-night venues-it has a house DJ, who spins entrancing lounge music, for the chic clique, who range from twenty-something art college graduates to fifty-something private bankers (Rothenbaumchaussee 76, www.vapiano.de). Equally fêted, Neo is an eye-catching eatery-cum-lounge in leafy Eppendorf that draws the Puma and Boss-wearing upper crust. They come here to enjoy organic fusion food and island-inspired cocktails amid a soigné and sophisticated décor of dark wood surfaces showered in soulful R'n'B tunes (Martinistrasse 11, www.neogastro.de).

The scene is clubbier at River Kasematten, a dimly-lit harbourfront boîte by interior designer Frank Theuerkauf, who artfully blended the post-war brick-clad shell of a former jazz club with dark velvet wall coverings and monochromatic fabrics. Actress-model types nibble on everything from satay to tapas while recumbent on boxy suede banquettes in a whirl of earth tones (St Pauli Fischmarkt 28-32, www.river-kasematten.com).


Die Welt ist Schön is a triple-tiered David Hockney-inspired town house featuring a garden and roof terrace in the burgeoning area of Neuer Pferdemarkt. Most people order White Russians and then dance the night away amid the Eames-style furnishings until the small hours (Neuer Pferdemarkt 4, www.dieweltistschoen.net). Across town, Golden Cut is the brainchild of homegrown restaurateurs Manuel Bereuther and Dirk Schmitz who sought the deft touch of local designer Heike Schaffernicht for their discothèque, which overflows with the city's upwardly mobile set. On Friday and Saturday nights, enjoy the trance-inducing tunes of DJ-duo Bauhouse; the rest of the week, publishers and bankers dine on an oft-lauded pan-Asian menu in a spartan neighboring whitewashed dining room, where market-fresh seafood are given a light continental touch (Ernst-Merck-Strasse 12-14, www..goldencut.org). The city's newest, high-octane after-hours spot is the aptly named Club la Nuit, a stylish venue perched over the harbour. Designed by Berlin-based interiors firm 3Deluxe-Biorhythm, it features low-to-the-ground furnishings that pay homage to the whitewashed deck of a yacht on which the crème de la crème of Hamburg society relax and enjoy house beats spun by a rotating roster of resident DJs (Grosse Elbstrasse 145, www.au-quai.com).


Featuring a heady mix of deep house and trance refrains, Bar Hamburg is a perennial favourite, especially with trendy scensters. The elegant candle-lit city-centre boîte, with a trio of chic lounges, spreads beneath a warren of brick-clad spaces where high-heeled sybarites raise flutes and congregate after-hours (6-8 Rautenburgerstrasse, www.barhamburg. com). Equally en vogue is newcomer ICEpeak, a sleek subterranean cocktail bar, decked out with dramatic backlit surfaces, designer furnishings and an unending bar menu, featuring rare and expensive spirits as well as a glut of cigars (47 Valentinskamp, www.icepeak-lounge. com). The step-down trappings at Elbe 76 aren't as voguish (it's housed in an old town house in Hoheluft) but are as popular, especially with thirty-something professionals. This bar-cum-lounge-cum-restaurant is especially popular in the warmer months, when an outdoor terrace is unfurled, just a stone's throw from one of the city's many canals (Bismarckstraße 60, www.elbe76.de).


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