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Rheinfelder Bierhaus

There's no pretension here--the Rheinfelder Bierhaus, on Marktgasse in the pedestrian zone of Niederdorf on the hilly side of the Limmat, is a cheerful no-frills beer hall where most of the atmosphere comes from cigarette smoke.

In many ways, the Rheinfelder is my favorite of the three beer halls in this article. It has a lively mixed clientele of students, working men, soldiers, and business types, with a few red-nosed regulars imbibing liquid meals. The waitresses are good-natured (mine was almost motherly), and you can watch soccer on the TV above the door if you aren't in a mood for conversation.

When you enter the Rheinfelder Bierhaus, grab a chair at one of the long wooden tables, nod to your neighbor, and light up a cigarette or get a nicotine buzz from your tablemates' exhalations. If you aren't very hungry, you can just order a beer or a snack, but I recommend the "Jumbo-Jumbo Cordon Bleu" after a long day of hiking around the city. This is a huge boneless pork filet sliced in half, filled with cheese, breaded, fried, and served with excellent French-fried potatoes. A small gemischtes Salat makes a nice accompaniment; it isn't on the menu, so just ask.

Prices are the cheapest of any beer hall in this article; if you're on a budget, this is the place to come for an economy splurge.

Verdict: Great value, friendly staff, and cheerful patrons--but don't bring your friends from the Anti-Tobacco League.

Rheinfelder Bierhaus
Marktgasse 19
Telephone: 01 251 2991

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Zürich Beer Halls:
Introduction Zeughauskeller
Bierhalle Kropf Rheinfelder Bierhaus