Leipzig Pub Guide
Bars - Beerhalls - Beer gardens - Leipziger Gose

Leipzig hasn't had the happiest of times since German reunification, the heavy industry which was the main employer having been greatly reduced in size. After 40 years of perpetual labour shortages, mass unemployment was an unpleasant and unexpected phenomenon.

Things haven't developed as hoped since reunification and economic uncertainty has left its mark on the city.

Leipzig Beer
Leipziger Gose
Leipzig Pubs
Ex-DDR Breweries

Altes Rathaus LeipzigNeglected by the DDR regime, which put all its money and effort into Berlin, Leipzig's turn-of-the-century tenements had been quietly crumbling away for decades. Now something is being done to improve the lamentable housing the city has inherited, but it hasn't necessarily helped the ordinary citizen. The old buildings are either being renovated for the 'luxury' market, or demolished and replaced by new luxury flats. As a consequence some areas are full of very classy looking buildings, but walk around at night and you'll notice scarcely a window is illuminated. The rents are so high that very few can afford them and many of the flats lie empty. In contrast, the prefabricated concrete suburbs built in the 70's and 80's are full to bursting.

The poor economic climate has seen the young moving away in search of work in large numbers. Faced with a reduction in central government money if the population falls below half a million, the city has been expanding its boundaries and incorporating neigbouring settlements with gusto.

The city centre, which like all large German cities suffered extensive war-damage, has a selection of crappy 60's buildings, but isn't that the same everywhere? There are a few survivors from before the war, most notably a fine Rathuas (town hall - see photo left) on the main square. No doubt the thrusting new free-market economy will generously endow the city with some post-modernist monstrosities, sorry, masterpieces.

There can be no denying that the town centre is far better supplied with the basic amenities a visitor requires - shops, pubs and restaurants - than it was in the past. I can well remember on my first visit to the city in the mid-1980's having trouble finding anywhere to drink a beer. The situation is now a mirror image of the communist days: too many pubs chasing too few customers.

Leipzig Beer
Leipzig cityIn the days when it was East Germany's second city, Leipzig was a pretty dismal place to attempt a pub crawl. The city centre had very few places to drink and you had to reckon on queuing up for a while before getting a chance to quench your thirst. The staff could have some weird ideas about what was acceptable behaviour. I fondly recall being told to stop reading a book by one waitress. The situation has improved since, but don't expect a pub on every corner.

The former DDR is now experiencing a reaction against western products and local beer, which for a while threatened to be replaced, has made a strong comeback. Of course, most of the breweries are now owned by western firms, but that doesn't seem to matter. There are two local breweries, Reudnitz (owned by Deutsche Brau Holding) and the small family firm Ernst Bauer. Irritatingly, the beers from these two breweries are almost totally absent from Leipzig's bars, where Krostitzer (part of the Radeberger group, as are Schöfferhofer wheat beers) products dominate. The city is also home to three brewpubs.
Leipziger Bierbeurs
This is an annual beer festival held in the grounds of the Völkerslachtdenkmal. On offer are around 500 beers from 60 or so countries. There are also various bits of beer memorabilia for sale. The 2002 edition is scheduled for the 12th - 14th July.

Leipziger Gose
Gose: the Beer

Ritterguts GoseThe one really interesting beer, though hard to find in the city, does bear its name: Leipziger Gose. One of the world's most obscure beer styles, it's an isolated remainder of north Germany's pre-lager traditions. About the only similar beer still brewed in Germany is Berliner Weisse, though Gose seems to have at least as much in common with sour Belgian wheat beers.

It's a pale, top-fermenting wheat beer, flavoured with coriander and salt. There is a hefty lactic acid content and was probably once spontaneously-fermented. A description in 1740 stated "Die Gose stellt sich selber ohne Zutuung Hefe oder Gest" ("Gose ferments itself without the addition of yeast"). I've always suspected some sort of link with the gueuze of Brussels, though not because of the similarity of the names. That, I'm sure is pure coincidence. It's interesting that a source from 1927 says the following: "Gose is a Leipzig speciality. It is similar to Berliner Weiße, but sourer and not to everyone's taste. (Pour the bottle slowly.)" Now, Berliner Weiße can be mouth-puckeringly sour and most modern drinkers can't stomach it straight. I think that gives you an idea of just how sour Gose must have been.

There was once a whole family of sour wheat beers, brewed right across the North of Germany and the Low Countries, from Brussels to Berlin and beyond. In Germany you had Broyhan, Berliner Weisse, Gose, Lichtenhainer. They were classified as Säuerliche Bier by Professor Franz Schönfeld in 1904. Broyhan, in particular, was brewed over a wide area and for a considerable length of time: for at least 300 years after its birth in 1526, from Hannover to Thüringen. In Belgium, there were Lambiek and several variations on the Witbier theme.

The precise method of brewing Gose was a matter of great secerecy in the 18th and 19th centuries. The beer's popularity (and the premium price that it commanded) made it an attractive proposition for any brewery. Naturally, those already in the business of making it weren't too keen on their rivals getting in on the act. The tricky part was getting the addition of the lactic acid bacteria right. Sometime during the boil, the precise moment was of great importance, a powder was added to the wort (according to a source of 1872).

Another important characteristic of Gose that makes it very different from other German beer of the 19th century is the method of conditioning. There was no long period of lagering at the brewery. Gose was delivered, still fermenting quite vigourously, in barrels to the Schänke. It was stored in the cellar with the tap bung closed but the shive hole left open, so that the still-active yeast could escape. Only when the fermentation had slowed to a point where no yeast was emerging from the shive hole, was the Gose ready to bottle. The barrel was emptied into a tank, from whence it was filled into the characteristic long-necked bottles. These were not closed with a cap or cork, but with a plug of yeast which naturally rose up the neck as the secondary fermentation continued.

How long this conditioning lasted depended upon a number of factors, most importantly the temperature outside. In the Summer an unlucky landlord could see his whole supply turn to vinegar. The minimum period for a bottle to mature was around a week. In warm weather a Gose would be considered undrinkable after about three weeks. The trick for the landlord was in serving his Gose at just the right degree of maturity. Some went so far as to have stocks of beer of different ages, so regular customers could have their beer just as they liked it.

You could consider this method as a sort of combination of the British tradition of cask-conditioning in the pub cellar and the Belgian tradition of lambic blending and bottling by pub landlords. The taste of the final product was determined as much by what happened in the pub as in the brewery.
The History of Gose
Gose has an odd history, having moved home several times in the 250 years it has been around. It was first brewed in the early 18th century in the town of Goslar, from which its name derives. The beer became popular in Leipzig, so popular in fact that the local breweries started to make it themselves. By the end of the 1800's it was considered to be the local style of Leipzig and there were countless Gosenschänke in the city.

A big contribution to the legend of Gose was made by Johann Philipp Ledermann. In 1824 he started brewing Gose at Rittergut Döllnitz, a country estate between Merseburg and Halle. He had been a brewer in Goslar, but was lured by Johann Gottlieb Goedecke, the owner of the estate, to come and brew for him. Goedecke's own attempts to brew the financially lucrative Gose in the estate's small brewery had not been a great success. After Ledermann died in 1852, his wife took over supervision of the brewing process until her own death in 1883. By this time the brewery had managed to build up a virtual monopoly in the supply of Gose to Leipzig.

Unlike most of their modern counterparts, the Rittergutsbrauerei Döllnitz were happy to put a limit on the expansion of their business. For most of the second half of the 19th century they were producing "around a million bottles" of Gose a year. I make this an annual output of between 7,500 and 10,000 hl (I'm not sure how big the bottles were); not exactly mass production. To put this figure in its historical context, around 1890 the largest Munich breweries were pushing half a million hl a year, and even the smallest could manage 20,000 hl.
Goslarisch Bier, Gose genannt, wird in der kaiserl. freien Reichsstadt Goslar, am Harz, mehrentheils aus Weizen gebrauet, ist anfänglich süß, und giebt nachher einen Weingeschmack. Es ist unter den Weizenbieren mittelmäßiger Natur, nähret sehr, erwärmet, erzeuget ein gutes Blut, und soll vornehmlich ein Mittel wider den Stein seyn. Weil es sowohl eröffnet, als zugleich laxiret, so haben Spötter diese unsaubere Scherzreime darauf gemacht: Es ist zwar ein sehr gutes Bier, die Goslarische Gose; doch wenn man meint, sie sey im Bauch, so liegt sie in der Hose. Auch wird es ein gutes Ehestands-Bier, seiner Wirkung wegen, genennet. Man machet Brühen aus diesem Bier, die nicht minder angenehm schmecken, als wenn sie von Wein zubereitet wären, und dem Körper sehr gesund sind.

"Goslar Beer, called Gose, is brewed in the imperial free Reichstadt Goslar, in the Harz, mostly from wheat, is at first sweet, and then gives a wine tatse. It is an average wheat beer, nourishes much, warms, produces good blood., and is supposedly a means to combat gallstones. Because it both relaxes and acts as a laxatiive, wags have made up thus dirty comic rhyme It is indeed a good beer, Goslar Gose; though when you think its in your belly, it's really in your trousers. It's also a good wedding beer, because of how it works. If you use it to make broth, it will taste as bgood as if made from wine, and is very healthy."

Oekonomische Encyklopädie (1773) von J. G. Krünitz, p 5, 24.(my translation)
The constant supply, but heavy demand, meant that the brewery effectively rationed the supply of Gose. It was seen as a great favour if they agreed to deliver to a new client. Each pub was allowed a specific quantity of Gose, based upon their average number of customers. This policy was, most likely, at least partly based upon the nature of the beer. A bit like British cask beer, it was a living product with a limited shelf-life. Only pubs with a steady stream of drinkers could turn over enough of the beer to ensure that it was always in good condition. It appears that although the beer was synonymous with the city, it was never really the everyday drink of the masses. The majority of pubs never sold it and it was more expensive than other beers.
The Decline of Gose
During the Second World War production of Gose, like all other beer, ceased for a while. Worse was to come in 1945, when the Rittergutsbrauerei Döllnitz was confiscated and closed. It appears that, at the time, it was the last remaining Gose brewery. Only in 1949 did before Gose make a return, brewed in the tiny Friedrich Wurzler Brauerei at Arthur-Hoffmann-Straße 94 in Leipzig. At this time there were a mere 18 pubs taking the beer.

Leiziger Gose labelFriedrich Wurzler had worked before the war in the Döllnitzer Rittergutsbrauerei. After landing in Leipzig during the war, he was able to start his own brewery, mostly based on the handwritten notebook in his possession, which explained the secret of brewing Gose. Before his death in the late 1950's, he handed on the secret to his stepson, Guido Pfnister. Brewing of Gose continued in the small private brewery, though there appears to have been little demand. By the 1960's there were no more than a couple of pubs in Leipzig and possibly one in Halle that were still selling it.

Gose struggled along until 1966, when, while working in his garden, Guido Pfnister had a heart attack and died. The local nationalised group, VEB Sachsenbräu, had no interest in taking over the small run-down Wurzler brewery and so it was closed. Another small private brewery, Brauerei Ermisch, considered continuing the production of Gose and took possession of Pfnister's brewing book. Their enthsiasm didn't last long and not only was no Gose produced, but the notebook also appeared to have been accidentally destroyed.

The last Gose was served in Hotel Fröhlich at Wintergartenstraße 14. Here they still carried on the tradition of buying barrels from the brewery and bottling the beer themselves. The final barrel was delivered on 31 March 1966. When the last of the bottles had been drunk, the customers had to make do with Berliner Weiße.The hotel was never to see real Gose again, being closed and then blown up in 1968.
Gose's Revival
That would have been the end of the story and Gose would have become another lost curiosity. In a strange parallel with Belgian witbier, the devotion and determination of one man led to its rebirth. An enthusiastic publican, Lothar Goldhahn, had decided to restore one of Leipzig's most famous old Gosenschenke, Ohne Bedenken, to its former glory. He though that it was only fitting that the revived pub should sell Gose. Goldhahn was determined to resurrect the style and interviewed many old leipzigers to ascertain its precise taste. More importantly, he was able to track down a former employee of the Wurzler Brauerei who had at least some of Pfnister's notes in his possession. The Getränke-kombinat Leipzig developed a "Werkstandard zur Herstellung von Leipziger Gose" ("work standard for the production of Leipziger Gose") based upon this recipe.

Goldhahn's intentions to have his beer brewed locally in Leipzig were soon frustrated. None of the local breweries had either the technology or the inclination to brew such an odd top-fermenting beer, so he had to look further afield for a producer. Eventually, a test batch of Gose was brewed in 1985, at the Schultheiss Berliner-Weisse-Brauerei in East Berlin. At a tasting held in Goldhahn's flat, a group of experienced Gose drinkers came to the conclusion that it was a "real" Gose. The first production batch followed in 1986 and Leipzig had Gose once more, if only in a single pub.
Since then, Gose has once more been on its travels. In 1988 the Schultheiss Berliner-Weisse-Brauerei decided that it couldn't be bothered brewing the tiny quantities of Gose any more. For a while Ohne Bedenken had to resort to serving Berliner Weiße again.

The third postwar Gose-free period ended in 1991, when Goldhahn bought the small Löwenbrauerei in Dahlen. He now had total control of brewing his own Gose. Sadly, the demand for Gose proved too limited even to keep a small brewery fully occupied. Goldhahn was forced to sell it in 1995 and look elsewhere for someone to contract brew for him. The Andreas Schneider brewery in Weissenburg (Bavaria) duly obliged.
Gose Today
For the first time since before 1939 there are two breweries currently making a Gose, both of them in Leipzig itself. It's still easier to find Kölsch in the city, so Gose hasn't been restored to its former popularity, but the style is more secure today than it has been for any time in the last 50 years.
In 1999 a new brewpub opened in central Leipzig, which places great emphasis on the Gose it brews. It's so committed, to the style that it's even part of its name:Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof. This now supplies Ohne Bedenken and a few other pubs in the city. Obviously the Andreas Schneider brewery got bitten by the Gose bug whilst brewing for Goldhahn, because it is the owner of the brewpub. Maybe it's just me, but I find it very amusing for a Bavarian-owned brewery to be brewing a non-Reinheitsgebot beer.

The good news just keeps coming: another Leipzig brewery, Ernst Bauer, started brewing a Gose in 2002. The beer is being brewed under contract for Adolf Goedecke, a descendant of the owners of the Rittergut Döllnitz. According to a text from 1824, it was in the Rittergut that the only real Gose was brewed. This beer is also available in Ohne Bedenken and a few other outlets.

"Gose Häppchen:100 Jahre Gosenschenke Ohne Bedenken", 1999, pages 13 - 63
"Die Geschichte der Gose" Otto Kröber, 1912.
"Die Biere Deutschlands" Höllhuber & Kaul, 1988, pages 342 - 344.
Gose Links
These are a couple of links to articles by Michael Jackson about Gose:
Article about new Gose brewpub.
General article about Gose.

For those of you who can read German, here are some more Gose links:
Der Gose-Wanderweg von Leipzig nach Halle.A very interesting guide to walks between Leipzig and Halle. It's underlying theme is Gose and it lists an impressive number of (mostly) country pubs serving the beer.

Leipziger Gose A site dedicated to this very special beer.

Leipzig Pub Guide

Map Index

Gosenschenke 'Ohne Bedenken'
Menckestr. 5
04155 Leipzig

Tel. 0341 566 2360
Fax: 0341 5662310
E-Mail: info@gosenschenke.de
Homepage: http://www.gosenschenke.de/

Ohne Bedenken
Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 17:00-01:00
Number of draught beers: 5
Number of bottled beers: +-10
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.
Prices: meals €5-18, gose €2.80 a half litre.
Ohne Bedenken interiorAt the end of the 19th century, when Gose was at the peak of its popularity, there were dozens of Gosenschenke in Leipzig. Ohne Bedenken belongs to this period, being built in 1899 in the suburb of Gohlis at a time when Leipzig was expanding rapidly in size. It was for a decade the only pub in the world selling this legendary beer.

The building was damaged in wartime air-raids, but struggled along until as a pub until1958. After lying empty for a while, it became a Kulturzentrum for DDR soldiers in 1960. In 1968 a nearby polyclinic took it over for use by its X-ray department. When they left in the 1970's, the historic pub again remained unused for many years.

An article, published in the local Leipziger Blätter newspaper in 1983, evoking memories of Gose and Ohne Bedenken caught the attention of Lothar Goldhahn. He visited the premises, saw their potential and decided Leipzig deserved to have at least one remnant of its Gose culture preserved. Somehow persuaded the DDR authorities to let him restore and re-open Ohne Bedenken in the mid -1980's.

It seemed logical that a Gosenschänke should offer its customers a Gose. This caused him two big problems: what did Gose taste like and who could brew it for him? His first Gose, perfected after much research amongst older drinkers, was brewed in Berlin at the Schultheiss Berliner Weisse brewery.

Hanisch Gose signObtaining a supply of Gose has never been an easy matter. Between 1988 and 1991 he had to make do with Berliner Weisse. From 1991 to 1995 Goldhahn ran his own small brewery, but the limited demand for Gose made this economically unviable. The pub currently sells both of the Goses made in Leipzig (and the world, for that matter).

The interior has been restored to something akin to its original state and is stuffed full with Gose memorabilia in the form of old advertisements and bottles. The style is similar to that of traditional beerhalls throughout Germany in its comfortable, uncomplicated design. For those intimidated by the sourness of straight Gose, a selection of Gose cocktails are available.

The combination of a traditional, cosy atmosphere and friendly, enthusiastic staff, make it by far the best pub I've found in Leipzig or, for that matter, anywhere in the old DDR. The only drawback is its inconvenient location, in a northern suburb about a kilometre and a half away from the city centre. If you don't fancy the walk, you can take a number 11 tram from the Hauptbahnhof.
Rating: ***** Public transport:

Gasthof and Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof
Bayrischer Platz 1
04103 Leipzig

Tel. 0341 1245760
Fax: 0341 1245770
email: info@bayerischer-bahnhof.de

Bayerischer Bahnhof
Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 11:00-01:00
Number of draught beers: 4
Number of bottled beers: 1
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.
Bayerischer BahnhofConsidering that this was Leipzig's main station until the massive Hauptbahnhof was completed in 1915, it's oddly difficult to find your way into this pub. It's quite a challenge picking your way through the wasteland of shrubs that shield it from the Bayrischer Platz.

Constructed in 1842 and supposedly the oldest terminal building still standing, it was badly damaged in the war, though continued in use during the DDR period. Left to rot through lack of funds, it was saved from threatened demolition by being listed as a monument (Denkmalschutz) in 1975. In 1999 Deutsche Bundesbahn sold the building to allow it to be restored and converted into a brewpub. The platforms are still used as an S-Bahn station (though they are in such a state that you could be excused for thinking that they were disused).

As you would expect from a building that had been a major station, it's made a pretty decent-sized pub. Running parallel to the platform is a long thin room, which has the bar counter against one wall and the brewing equipment at the very end. Around the bar is an area of informal seating, from which you can appreciate some of the more whimsical design elements. Mounted in the bar is a DB station clock and the footrail for those seated on the sttols in front of it has been made from a piece of railway track. Just inside the main entrance is what appears to be an old guard's van, which houses a single table. I was impressed by both the subtlety and ingenuity of the theming, if theming is what you can call it.

Bayerischer Bahnhof interiorThere are further dining areas to the right of the entrance and function rooms on both the ground and first floors. Outside is a beer garden. One of the most impressive features is a magnificent staircase, that you only pass through on the way to the toilets. A bit of a shame to miss it, so be sure to get enough beer down you to require a trip to the gents.

The beers are all unfiltered. Obviously, the big attraction for the dedicated beer-tourist (which I assume you probably are) is the house-brewed Gose. It's served in the correct tall, cylindrical glasses and can be ordered in all sorts of cocktail forms. One at least - Regenschirm, made with Kümmel (cumin) liqueur - has a long history, stretching back to the 19th century.

I hate to say this about such a good beer (or for that matter anything negative about such a laudable enterprise), but I don't think that it is totally authentic. I've drunk Gose from three other breweries. Their beers were reasonably similar and, for me, of quite a different type to the Bahnhof's Gose. Now it's possible that the reason for this is the Reinheitsgebot. I have the feeling that the others have stuck to it, and so have omitted the coriander and salt. Perhaps it's just the coriander aroma - so startling unusual in a German beer - has tricked me into thinking that it's a Belgian witbier. I would welcome anyone's comments on this subject. E-mail me here.

The other house beers are all outstanding examples of their styles. The Weißbier is such a good imitation of Schneider Weisse, that I had to ask the staff to make certain it is their own beer. Their brewer is evidently a very skilled man. The standard is as good as I have found in any new German brewpub.

The Gose is available to take away in the traditional long-necked bottles (a bit like cognac ones). However, a quick consultation with your financial advisor might be in order first: a 75cl bottle costs a few cents under 10 euros. The label is, as far as I am aware, unique in listing coriander and salt amongst the ingredients, yet still calling the contents beer. This is usually a real no-no in Germany, where the Reinheitsgebot is still god. As it turns out, The Reinheitsgebot doesn't only allow malt, hops and water as advertised. There are get-out clauses for top-fermented beers (they can use sugar) and beers deemed to be "local specialities" (like Gose), which can use what the hell they like. If you're interested in reading more of me slagging off the stupid German beer law, then look here Why the Reinheitsgebot is a load of old bollocks .

Owned by the Andreas Schneider brewery of Weissenburg in Bavaria.
Rating: ***** Public transport: tram 2, 9 or 16 to Bayrischer Platz

Gottschedstr 15,
04109 Leipzig

Tel. 0341 980 0546
Sinfonie Leipzig
Opening hours: Mon - Sun : 11:00-open end
Number of draught beers: 6
Number of bottled beers: 10
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €4-8, meals €8-13, beer €2.90 0.5l.
Doing the research for these pages can sometimes be a depressing experience. Poor quality beer, uninterested and incompetent bar staff, cheap crappy décor - all of these I have to endure on a regular basis. Then there are other moments, when, just as you weren't expecting it, you stumble across something special. Sinfonie most definitely belongs to the lattter category of experiences.

Located on the eastern edge of the city centre, it's a corner pub of a decent size, mostly done out in a modern, trendy way. I found it rather schizophrenic that there was a small side room with a completely different character. It had panelled walls, pine tables and, on closer inspection, an amount of Gose memorabilia scattered around. I was soon to discover the reason for this odd combination of styles.

I was there at a quiet time of day. I was making notes and drinking an excellent Gose, when I was approached by a man who politely asked what I was doing. The face of the landlord, for this is who he was, lit up when I mentioned my interest in Gose. "Do you want to see my Gosenschänke?" (I must try using this as a chat-up line) he said and took me into the above-mentioned side room. You can see a photo of it to the left. While showing me around he described the history of Gose with a good deal of knowledge, even mentioning the possible connection with Belgian gueuze. He then proceded to highlight the faults of most of the recent recreations, demonstrating an outstanding appreciation of the characteristics of the style.

The man's enthusiasm for Gose and the effort he had expended not only to serve the beer, but also recreate the atmosphere of the pubs that sold it a century ago, made a deep impression on me. It's only because of the energy and determination of such people that oddities like Gose continue to exist. I urge you all to visit his pub and show him some support.

The beer selection, especially in the spread of different styles, is most unusual for the city. And I can only concur with the landlord - the Döllnitzer Ritterguts is the best and most authentic Gose. I didn't come across it often in Leipzig, but it can be found in another pub on Gottschedstraße, Vodkaria (number 15). A Look here for a list of other outlets.

I've had reports that this bar is being renovated and is not open for business.
Rating: ***** Public transport:

Gottschedstraße 15,
04109 Leipzig.

Tel: 0341 - 442 8868
Fax: 0341 - 912 2847
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 17:00- ,
Number of draught beers:
Number of bottled beers:
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.
A bar specialising in vodka (it stocks more than 200) that also sells Leipziger Gose, hence its inclusion here. It´s next door to Sinfonie, which is reportedly undergoing renovation.
Rating: Public transport:

Brauerei an der Thomaskirche
Thomaskirchhof 3-5,
04109 Leipzig

Tel. 0341 212 6110
Fax: 0341 - 212 6120
E-Mail: info@brauhaus-thomaskirche.de

Brauerei an der Thomaskirche Leipzig
Opening hours: Mon - Sun : 11:00-24:00
Number of draught beers: 3
Number of bottled beers:
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €4-8, meals €8-13, beer €2.80 0.5l.
Brauerei an der Thomaskirche Leipzig interiorThis brewpub is at once both easy and yet potentially tricky to find. You would need to be a master of disorientation to be unable to spot the Thomaskirche, a splendid church that is one of Leipzig's landmarks.

What causes the problem is the address: a tiny deadend street next to the church has the sign Thomaskirchhof. Don't be fooled, the pub is really on a square that forms an extension to the Markt. I can't help you out much with a description of the building, since that is as lacking in distiguishing features as most modern edifices. My best advice is to look for the fibre glass lion with a beermug in his hand.

The Brauhaus is wonderfully schizophrenic. Most of it is a rustic Italian restaurant, where old bits of wooden farming kack are draped around the walls. This forms the large section to the right of the entrance and there is another bit in this style behind the bar rambling back towards the kitchen. To your left on entering, is a much smaller area of high tables and stools. It's sandwiched between the tackily rural bar counter (oh no, it's got a little tiled roof) and the copper brewing vessels. They are very strangely located basically in the front window. Maybe they want to make sure that you can see this really is a brewery.

The use of natural materials - wooden furniture, tile floors - is pleasing, but the main room is far too bland and food-orientated for my taste. The "beer corner" - see the photo above - is much more comfortable, but of limited size (I've managed to get about half of it in the picture). I did find the staff (and judging from the Italian I heard being spoken amongst them, a number genuinely are from Italy) friendly and helpful, which always helps me leave a pub a happy man.

I didn't consider the beers to be anything to get excited about. The Dunkles was by far the better of the two. Perhaps the Pils was just having an off day. We are talking about very small-scale brewing here, so some variation is to be anticipated. There is the great advantage of the very central location - the Rathaus is within 100 metres - to be taken into consideration. For that reason alone, it would be on any pubcrawl I planned in the town centre.
Rating: *** Public transport:

Barthels Hof
Hainstr. 1
04109 Leipzig

Tel. 0341 - 141310
Fax: 0341 - 1413120
Email: info@barthels-hof.de

Barthels Hof Leipzig
Opening hours: Mon - Sun : 07:00-24:00
Number of draught beers: 3
Number of bottled beers: 2
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €4-8, meals €10-20.
Barthels Hof, in a courtyard just off the Markt, has a long history stretching back to 1497. The current buildings date from 1750 and it reopened, after extensive renovation, in January 1997. In its current state, it's a whole complex containing a bar, restaurant and wine cellar.

There's obviously been a few bob spent on the interior which is deceptively simple, but makes use of top-quality materials. Strangely, there are many old advertising posters for Belgian beers scattered around the walls counterpointed by brass musical instruments. Classy, but not sterile, it shows how money invested in quality fittings is well spent.

The menu includes one meal with a schwarzbier sauce and there are several Saxon wines available.
Rating: *** Public transport:

Paulaner Restaurants
Klostergasse 5,
04109 Leipzig.

Tel: 0341 - 211 3115
Fax: 0341 - 211 7289
E-Mail: info-PaulanerLeipzig@t-online.de

Paulaner Leipzig
Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 11:00-01:00
Number of draught beers: 4
Number of bottled beers: 4
Regular draught beers: Bottled beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.
Prices: Meals €5-13, beer about €3 a half litre.
Paulaner Leipzig interiorThe reunification of Germany gave Paulaner the chance, in 1990, to reacquire their former Leipzig showcase. Originally built as a bank, it was later a coffeehouse before it came into the hands of Paulaner in 1920. It was confiscated in 1948 and led a checkered existence in the DDR period.

Since taking it over, Paulaner have done their best to make it a beerhall in the Bavarian style - all white walls and scrubbed pine tables. A few old photos and newspaper cuttings, very sparsely scattered around the acres of wall space, are about the sum total of the decorations. There are several rooms, with varying levels of poshness and beeriness. Rather than a single pub, it's actually a group of bars and restaurants that occupy about half of the street.

Paulaner are unusual in having a string of pubs throughout the whole of Germany, usually offering a good range of their products and good-value food. It was disappointing then, when this establishment first reopened, that the only two draught beers were Pils and Helles. I am very pleased that they now have a pretty full set of their brews on sale. In particular, the Dunkles is good to see as it allows the opportunity to compare this typically Bavarian style of dark lager with Saxon Schwarzbier.
Rating: **** Public transport:

Zill's Tunnel
Barfüßgäßchen 9,
04109 Leipzig

Tel. 0341 960 2078
Fax 0341 960 1969
e-mail: info@zillstunnel.de

Zill's Tunnel Leipzig
Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 11:30-24:00
Number of draught beers: 2
Number of bottled beers: 5
Regular draught beers: Bottled beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.
Prices: meals €8-10, beer €3-3.50 a half litre.
This old wein- and bierkeller was built in the 1880's on the site of a pub which had been called Zill's since at least 1841. It has, with its horizontal wood panelling and ceiling vault, the appearance of an upturned boat. It's restaurant pretensions leave with a slightly false, posh air.

An extensive restoration in 2000 has left an interior that seems to retain few of its original features. I'll give them a few marks for originality: the quirky collages of old newspaper cuttings, cigars and beer steins, knock the socks off the cliched victoriana so popular with British pub despoilers.
Rating: ** (for the beer) * (for the pub) Public transport:

Die Gohliser Wirtschaft
Gohliser Str. 20,
04105 Leipzig/Gohlis.

Tel: 0341 - 5644 033
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 11:00 - 01:00
Number of draught beers: 6
Number of bottled beers: 2
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €3-5, meals €4-8. Beer €2.70-3.20 for 0.5l.
Pub in the Leipzig suburb of Gohlis with amazingly cheap food. I´m afraid that I have no idea where the house beers are brewed.
Rating: Public transport:

Kolonnadenstrasse 15,

Tel: 0341- 9999 815
Fax: 0341 - 9999 816
Email: info@stoned-leipzig.de
Opening hours:
Number of draught beers: 2
Number of bottled beers: 6
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €2.50-3.50, meals €3.50-7.00. Beer €2.50-2.70 for 0.5l.
A weird bar in the west of the city that seems to pretend to be an Amsterdam-style coffeeshop.
Rating: Public transport:

Katharinenstr. 11,
04109 Leipzig.

Tel: 0177 476 4855
Fax: 0341 - 9113 717
Email: herrmann@sixtina.net
Sixtina Leipzig
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 18:00 -
Number of draught beers: 3
Number of bottled beers: 10
Regular draught beers:
Food: Beer €2.50 for 0.5l.
Sixtina is a bizarre gothic bar in a building that dates from 1545. The vaulted interior has been decorated like a church, even having a Da Vince-esque painted ceiling.

If that wasn´t odd enough you can also find what must be one of the rarest cocktails in the world: Gose mixed with absinthe. It´s hard to imagine anything stranger or more obscure. Absinthe seems to be their speciality and they offer a wide selection of it. Sounds good to me, as long as they have Gose to wash the nasty taste away.

Love the skeleton in the window. And the absinthe sign above him.
Rating: Public transport:

Thüringer Hof zu Leipzig
Burgstrasse 19,
04109 Leipzig.

Tel: 0341 - 9944 999
Fax: 0341 - 9944 933
Email: info@thueringer-hof.de
Thüringer Hof zu Leipzig
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 11:00 - 24:00
Number of draught beers: 3
Number of bottled beers: 3
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €3-10, meals €7-16. Beer €3.40 for 0.5l.
Thüringer Hof zu Leipzig interiorA traditional beerhall with vaulted ceilings. There´s been a pub called Thüringer Hof on this spot since 1838. The original was destroyed in 1943 and rebuilt in 1948 and 1993.

The food is a mixture of Thüringian and Franconian specialities.
Rating: Public transport:

Lotter & Widemann, Restaurant "Altes Rathaus" GmbH
Markt 1,
04109 Leipzig.

Tel: 0341 - 149 79 01
Fax: 0341 - 225 12 66
Email: info@lotter-widemann.de
Altes Rathaus Leipzig
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 09:00 - open end
Number of draught beers: 4
Number of bottled beers: 7
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals. Beer €2.90 for 0.4l
Altes Rathaus Leipzig interiorPosh restaurant bar in the Altes Rathaus, Leipzig's former town hall..
Rating: Public transport:

Ratskeller Leipzig
Lotterstraße 1,
04109 Leipzig.

Tel: 0341 - 123 4567
Fax: 0341 - 123 6202
Email: info@ratskeller-leipzig.de
Ratskeller Leipzig
Opening hours: Mon - Sat 11:00 - 23:00,
Sun and public holidays 11:00 - 15:30
Number of draught beers: 4
Number of bottled beers: 5
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €4-9, meals €7-16. Beer €3 for 0.5l
Cellar restaurant/bar located in the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall).

It´s in a traditional beer hall style with a vaulted ceiling and panelled walls. There are several rooms, including the Reudnitzer Ratsbierkeller, Hochzeitszimmer and RatskellerClub. In all, it can accomodate more than 700 guests.
Rating: Public transport:

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