When slapping the alarm clock and dashing out the door with half-closed eyes reaches an intolerable level, it’s time to put in for vacation. You need a break. You need to find a happy place. Of course, blowing off steam means different things to different people.
Some find the sounds of nature in a secluded mountain cabin to be their ticket to “de-frazzling” while others prefer a sunset over the Caribbean. Visiting Mickey and his friends might be just the thing. Then there is the vacationer with no other intent than blowing things out every single night. They want to drink. They want to dance. They want to make room for fresh brain cells by killing off some old ones.
To these people; There are many places to accomplish your goal, but there is only one location which reigns supreme. You’ll need a passport and a plane ticket. The “Party Capital of the World” trophy rightfully belongs to Hamburg, Germany. All other places are imposters.
Whether your preference is in finding some neighborhood pubs or an array of dazzling disco balls, you’ll find it. Hamburg is a progressive city. Their extreme nightlife caters to straights, gays, couples, singles, and the as yet categorized. Party, and let party is Hamburg’s unofficial motto.
If Hamburg sounds like your cup of schnapps, here are some of the ins and outs to help you find what you’re looking for. The St. Paulie District is where it’s at. Look nowhere else. Everything a party seeking visitor could desire is located in the St. Paulie District. Here are what the different areas of the district have going on.
The Reeperbahn area of the St. Paulie District is considered the Amsterdam of Germany. Chances are, whatever you’re looking for can be found here for a price. This area comes with a “but”. If you’re easily offended be forewarned. Morals are of little value in parts Reeperbahn, but even so. It isn’t dangerous and it’s kind of cool to visit. This area has also been nicknamed “the sinful mile”.
Main Street is lined with bars, including strip clubs for the look but don’t touch crowd. There are bunches of interesting, bordering on the unusual, sex shops, and expect to see a fair share of brothels as they are legal. You should also be forewarned about sex-workers charging for everything, including walking in the front door to simply take a picture of the scantily clothed women competing for the next paying customer.
If you wander in any of the seedier looking bars, and you’ll easily know which ones they are, whether single or as a couple, expect to be approached by a working girl. Do not offer to buy her a drink unless your pockets are lined with Deutschmarks. She is not there to enjoy your conversation and you are guaranteed to not enjoy your final tab.
This is not to imply the Reeperbahn area does not have plenty of bars and taverns for those just seeking a drink and a good time with no desire beyond that. Outside of the “red-light” activities, there are glamorous cocktail lounges, Irish pubs, speakeasies, German beer bars, and some cool trendy places for self-professed intellects and would-be trendsetters.
The underground techno bar, Baalsaal, is where you’ll find a sweating crowd of energized party animals gyrating to pumping beats, and the concert hall Molotow is always hosting some crazy event.
Thomas Read Pub is by far the most famous and popular pub in all of Hamburg and will absolutely require a visit. To call it just a pub is a huge misnomer. Thomas Read Pub is a multi-leveled joint with the first floor offering waterfront views and being a bit laid back as one would expect a typical pub to be. However, the second-floor features a no bars held all-out disco inferno that pumps out dance tunes until the wee hours. Language presents no barrier here as most of the staff are Irish and their levels of mixology rates five-stars. Name it. They’ll make it.
Here’s a tip: Hop off of the main street onto some of the adjacent roads. The drink prices will be better and the atmospheres will be nicer.
When you get hungry there’s a smorgasbord of good restaurants, and if you happen to be one of those highbrow type partiers, there are even some theaters which feature ongoing musicals.
The Spielbudenplatz area lies adjacent to Reeperbahn and it’s one of the hottest areas in town for getting a night on the town started. It is chock full of bars, clubs, restaurants, and theaters. There are also two main outdoor stages for hosting live music events, which is done often.
Dips N Stix is a popular restaurant for dining in style, as is Schmidt’s Tivoli dinner theater. Cloud’s Heaven’s Bar & Kitchen at the tip-top of the Dancing Towers gives diners impressive views and delectable vittles.
The basement of the Dancing Towers is altogether different than. Here you find the club Mojo which some consider to be the best club in Germany for jazz and acid jazz. The live music venue, Docks, is legendary for the great bands they import from all over Europe, and Klubhaus St. Pauli should be visited for a full dose of a non-stop good time.
Well known for its over-abundance of bars and pubs, a dull moment cannot be found in Hans-Albers-Platz when the sun sets. Live music is the agenda and as the night progresses the crowds begin spilling into the street for Hamburg’s largest block party.
Molly Malone’s and The Academy are two of the better known highly frequented pubs where the roof gets raised night after night after night… Hans-Albers-Eck and 20 Flight Rock are more Hamburgian and a little rough around the edges, but even so, they pack them in.
Last but certainly not least is the secret spot you aren’t supposed to know about. It’s a side street known only to locals. Until now. The drinks flow like water and dance floors quickly fill up. The caveat? There are no cover charges. Ex-Parr is a great place with cheap drinks. Pooca Bar gets the best bands, and Rosi’s Bar is the best dive bar to be found anywhere.
If an explosive nightlife is the best way for you to shed those shaking nerves, Hamburg is where you need to be. Just be certain to allow a day or so of recovery time before going back to work. You’ll need it.