From: Leipzig, Germany
Auerbachs Keller is one of Germany's oldest taverns, dating back to 1525. The cellar bar-restaurant was founded nearly half a millennium ago as a wine bar. According to an official history, Heinrich Stromer--a physician and professor who frequently went by the name "Auerbach"--believed that "Wine is an excellent prophylactic against all kinds of afflictions, if one uses the wine in the right way."
Stromer's apothecary approach to wine-selling didn't last long: In 1528, he tore down the original structure and built a new house with a large cellar that still houses the Witch-Kitchen, the Cask Cellar, the Luther Room, and the Goethe Room of today's popular restaurant.
Goethe was a regular at Auerbachs Keller as a university student in the 1760s, and he later made the tavern a household name (at least in German households) in Faust, where he described the devil's ride on a wine barrel:
Today, a successor to Doctor Faustus's wine barrel is still being ridden by devilish actors during a "Cask Cellar Ceremony" performance in the Fasskeller or Cask Cellar.
Hours and venues:
Auerbachs Keller is open daily except December 24. The main restaurant, a.k.a. the or "Big Cellar," was open from 11:30 a.m. to midnight the last time we checked, with a menu that emphasizes cuisine and beer from Saxony. The food is excellent, the decor has the look and feel of a German Ratskeller, and your fellow guests are likely to be a mixture of locals and tourists.
Downstairs are several historic wine bars and small dining rooms, including the(where Goethe hung out), the (see photo at left), the 30-seat (after the religious reformer, who drank at Auerbachs Keller when he wasn't sermonizing), and the . Hours vary, and some rooms may be booked for private events, so it's a good idea to inquire or book ahead of time.
Finally, Auerbachs Keller has an above-ground café, the, which is a convenient spot for coffee and cakes or a drink in the Mädlerpassage covered shopping arcade, where you'll find the entrance to the underground restaurants.
Back to: Leipzig, Germany
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