Gastronomy: When bars aim high

The view is magnificent: from the 47th floor of the "One" skyscraper in Frankfurt's Europaviertel, it stretches over the lights of the big city to the Taunus.

Gastronomy: When bars aim high

The view is magnificent: from the 47th floor of the "One" skyscraper in Frankfurt's Europaviertel, it stretches over the lights of the big city to the Taunus. With a cocktail in hand, the guest sits behind floor-to-ceiling glass panes in winter, and in summer the operators also want to set up chairs on the surrounding terrace. For safety reasons, only exactly 199 people are allowed to stay in the "NFT Skybar" at the same time, including staff. The queue in the foyer of the "nhow" hotel, to which the bar on the top floor belongs, is correspondingly long late in the evening.

No reservations possible

It is important to hotel manager Hermann Spatt that the bar is accessible to all Frankfurt residents and visitors. Hotel guests have priority, "but everyone is welcome," he emphasizes. You cannot reserve a seat. Only the few guests who bought a digital work of art on the opening night, so-called NFTs, can safely get in. An artist had designed an NFT for each of the ten "signature drinks" created especially for the bar. On the drinks menu, a "Banksy" made from gin, maple syrup and sherry, a martini with asparagus for 16 euros each or the non-alcoholic "Mona Lisa" with lemongrass, ginger and green cardamom for 12 euros.

In terms of design, everything in the bar revolves around the topic of money. The wall behind the steps covered with colorful cushions is covered with Bitcoin symbols, the bar stools are adorned with coins, and small round lamps form a dollar sign above the - currently closed - restaurant area. Every "nhow" hotel has a thematic concept, explains Spatt, in Frankfurt the obvious choice was "money", "but with a wink".

"Germany's highest bar"

The "NFT Skybar" sees itself as "Germany's highest bar" - but that seems to be a question of definition. The bar in the Main Tower in the banking district is actually a few meters and several floors higher: The panorama bar below the viewing platform is on the 53rd floor and at a height of 187 meters, the "NFT-Skybar" on the 47th floor is only 185 meters high. According to marketing manager Jenni Oettel, the competition is two meters higher, but the gastronomy there is "not specifically declared as a bar".

In the opinion of some Frankfurters, the only city in Germany with a reasonable skyline, there are other bars at lofty heights, such as the "Barrel Bar" on the 39th floor of the Henninger Tower in Sachsenhausen or the "Oben" on the 15th floor of the high-rise " One Forty West" at the Senckenberg facility.

Hidden bar treasures

However, height is not the only thing that Frankfurt bars can score with. It's often the small, hidden bars that are worth a visit. The tiny bar "The Tiny Cup" with only a few seats in the building of the vegan star restaurant "Seven Swans" in the city center, for example. Operator Sven Riebel was recently named "Host of the Year" by the bartender trade magazine "Mixology".

In the bar on just 17 square meters: subtle background music, two comfortable benches, pleasantly dim light. Living room atmosphere and working close to the guest are his goals, says Riebel, who opened the bar in 2015. The small space makes it easier to start a conversation. However, there is no compulsion to do so. A maximum of 18 guests could be accommodated. The bar is aimed at "friends of cultivated drinking culture" and offers newly interpreted cocktail classics - but without umbrellas, artificial cherries or pineapple decorations. Vermouth is currently in demand. And cognac is making a comeback, says the 44-year-old. 20 drinks are on the menu, plus standards that a bar should have, such as "Whiskey Sour".

A classic among the bars is back - albeit only temporarily: The legendary "Jimmy's Bar" in the Grandhotel Hessischer Hof, which was closed at the end of 2020, has been open again since mid-December. Operators are Micky Rosen and Alex Urseanu, who have numerous other bars, restaurants and hotels in Frankfurt - until the hotel reopens. For decades, the dignified bar opposite the trade fair had cult status, and not just at the book fair.

The gastro editorial team of the magazine "Frankfurt geht aus" put the "Yaldi" bar in the Bahnhofsviertel in first place in the "Scene bars" category for the 2023 edition. The "White Rabbit" in the city center and the "Hunky Dory" on Baseler Platz are in the following places. Among the "classic bars", the bar in the "Roomers" hotel is at the top of the podium, followed by the "Old Fashioned Bar" in Alt-Sachsenhausen and the "Logenhaus" in the north end.

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