Reviewed by Shanky
Schweizer Straße 71,
60594 Frankfurt am Main
Tel: +49 69 612565
Timings: 11 am – 12 am
This Apfelwein tavern is the big daddy of Apfelwein taverns. Inquiries at your hotel or a popular guidebook about an Apfelwein tavern to visit will probably yield this one name. As far as I know, it has nothing to do with either the composer or his music. Located in the entertainment district of Sachsenhausen, on a street that’s full of eateries and nightlife is this huge, wood paneled, boisterously crowded place. You have to enter it through a large, impressive entrance that leads into a passage of sorts between what seemed like residential apartments, and then there it is. The entrance is usually marked by a crowd of people waiting to sit.
The place, though huge, is full even on weekdays, so unless you’re small and alone be prepared to wait for some time. I being a solitary soul, managed to slip under the high-speed waiters with laden trays into the corner seat of a table with four different groups sitting. Three of them were visitors to Frankfurt’s myriad trade fairs, while a solitary old man was a native of the city. Not everyone drinks apfelwein – there’s plenty of excellent beer to go around – but I stuck to my focus and like my local neighbour, ordered an apfelwein. It is difficult to say if it was great apfelwein or not, I not having tasted much by way of variety. The mental association with apple juice is completely misplaced, not unlike wine with grape juice. It tastes nothing like apple juice, and has instead a dry fruitish fermented taste. Like decent wine, there is no alcoholic bite but instead a smooth warm feeling.
I observed that most people seem to drink very very slowly, without any accompaniments except contemplation or conversation. The primary reason for the speed, I realised after a gulp, is that the taste can be very overpowering if drunk swiftly. The sour taste sort of explodes in your brain if taken more than a sip at a time. Conversation in faltering German and English told me this place is also famous for its apple pie with custard cream. Who is to question the wisdom of trade-show attendees, so I ordered and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Zum Wagner is worth going to because of the atmosphere. It is not touristy, though as it turns out, a large number of the people there were trade show visitors from out of town. The service, by cheerful male waiters was patchy; prompt when you managed to catch any attention, non-existent otherwise. Prices are reasonable and credit cards accepted with reluctance. The place, like most places in Frankfurt, closes by 11 or so.