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Ratskeller

Reviewed by Shanky

Am Marienplatz 8,
D-80331 München
Phone: +49 89 2199890
Hours: 10 am – 12 am
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The Ratskeller (no, nothing to do with rats) is one of Munich’s most famous taverns. Literally the cellar of the Neues Rathaus (meaning council hall, nothing to do with rats again) at Marienplatz, it is an elegant and impressive place. There are two ways to get in – a glass encased lift on the plaza or a broad stairwell from the side street. Land up at Marienplatz, and follow the signs. Before going in, take in the magnificent town hall building… you may be too drunk afterwards. Then, go down the cavernous wooden stairs into the dungeon.

The cellar is supported by huge arches resting against fat columns, and has enough old world charm to fill an evening. Old wrought iron fixtures, huge carved wooden barrels, massive arches and the buzz of people make it a very welcoming sight. The pub is owned by Lowenbrau and serves beer in the main room. They also have a Franconian wine cellar open 3pm onwards that I hear is worth trying out (though I admit I did not have the heart three pints and half a pig down).

The food is Bavarian specialty, and great. Next door to the pub – at street level – is their Franconian wine shop from the Juliusspital estates. Its incredibly elegant, a small shop with beautiful trimmings and soft gold lighting – worth gawking at even if you don’t intend to purchase anything. And if you’ve never heard of Franconian wines, despair not – tastings are at hand! If you do intend to purchase, wines range from DM9 (about Rs 200) to DM50 or more and come in very nice-looking traditional bottles.

Incidentally, many cities in Germany have taverns called Ratskeller. Its not a chain; Rathauses (council houses) traditionally had cellars that sold wine and food to noblemen. Since then, the name has stuck to many taverns, not necessarily connected to Rathauses. To confuse things further, Gilde Ratskeller is a popular beer brand whose sign is often found outside pubs of all names. But this Munich one is THE Ratskeller, not the oldest but the most famous.

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