Residents of Frankfurt am Main often jokingly refer to their town as “Mainhattan” – and not just because of its futuristic skyline. With its multicultural atmosphere, this German metropolis is a genuinely cosmopolitan and welcoming city. During trade fairs such as Ambiente, Frankfurt becomes a centre of intense international activity – during the day in the exhibition centre and later on in numerous hotel bars. In this article we reveal some of the best places to go for great cocktails and conversation after the fair shuts up shop for the evening.
The world comes together in Frankfurt – at the airport, at the rail station, in the city and, of course, at the exhibition centre. The coming Ambiente looks set once again to be a great international get-together. And when the halls close for the evening, some of the best hotel bars in Frankfurt are just a short stroll away.
Let’s start at the Maritim Hotel, which is almost on the doorstep of Messe Frankfurt and is a meeting point for people from all over the world. If you think that the bar in this business-oriented hotel is one of those formula hotel bars for a quick drink before going for a well-earned sleep, you’d be quite wrong. The Life Style Bar with its unique circular counter, cosy alcoves and pleasantly dimmed lighting is a popular hotspot with locals and visitors alike. Bar manager Tony Arena’s multi-award-winning team offers not just a sensationally varied list of cocktail creations, great draught beer and delicious bar food, but also, most importantly, a fun atmosphere. It’s not unknown for people to come in for an after-work drink and end up dancing the night away to one of the varied live acts. In February, i.e. during Ambiente, singer and entertainer Jerry Canizales will be getting bar guests up onto the dance floor. And host Tony Arena will doubtless be adding to the entertainment, throwing beer mats in the air, performing spontaneous dance routines and, of course, treating guests to his famous cappuccino shots.
Just a few paces further on, opposite the exhibition centre in the Grand Hotel Hessischer Hof, legendary Frankfurt barkeeper Andrés Amador offers a unique blend of stylish and sophisticated hospitality. Dressed always in a custom-tailored suit and handmade Budapester shoes, the Spaniard with the warm smile has been welcoming guests – including many international stars – to Jimmy’s Bar since 1976. You’ll need to ring the doorbell and Andrés will welcome you to a journey back in time. With its heavy leather armchairs, elegant wood panelling, expensive artwork, warm lighting and the scent of high-quality cigars and sweet perfume, the bar evokes the charm and style of the 1940s and 50s. Simply relax and listen to the sounds of the grand piano, the array of different languages of the international guests and ice cubes clinking in the elegant crystal glasses. Lean back in the heavy upholstered seats or sit up at the timeless bar and enjoy an excellent cocktail, a glass of perfectly chilled champagne or one of the special finds of passionate whisky connoisseur Andrés Amador. The host of this time-honoured institution is the undisputed “grand old man” of the Frankfurt bar scene. It’s no wonder that so many guests come back time after time to Jimmy’s, a jewel among bars.
From “Jimmy’s” let’s take a trip to “Harry’s”, another meeting place for fans of classic bars, which can be found in the Lindner Hotel Main Plaza right by the river in Sachsenhausen. A visit to Harry’s New York Bar is like traveling back to the era of tweeds, spats and braces. A time when people knew how to appreciate a good dry martini and no-one would have dreamt of mixing vodka with Red Bull. However, if that’s what the guest wants, barkeeper Emmanuel Saridakis and his attentive team will be happy to oblige as service is just as important here as the serving of authentic classic cocktails and spirits. The humidor is also a big attraction for cigar aficionados, and live music (Tuesday to Saturday) offers a perfect accompaniment to the stylish atmosphere of the bar. In February, guests can try the cocktail creations of legend Harry McElhone from the original Harry’s Bar in Paris and his successors, including the Le Rose, a mix of cherry brandy, raspberry schnapps and Noilly Prat.
Unlike in other countries, it’s quite unusual in Germany for locals to come and drink in hotel bars. However, in common with all the bars we’ve mentioned, the Roomers Design Hotel is the place to see and be seen for visitors and Frankfurt residents alike. Guests come here for celebrations, flirtations, sophisticated food and drink and, above all, first-class service. It’s worth a visit just to experience the burlesque charm of the interior with its captivating subdued lighting, shimmering gold walls, cosy seating booths with elegant chandeliers and the centrally positioned black varnished bar with an array of herbs, fruits and ice for creating the outstanding cocktails. Simply tell the bartender how you’re feeling and he or she will create just the right drink for you from a superior selection of spirits and the house’s own syrups and juices. It’s no wonder that the Roomers Bar has a reputation as one of the most enticing bars in Frankfurt’s night-time scene.
And last but not least, here’s a bar that offers guests a stunning overview of the city. Welcome to the 22nd Lounge & Bar! It can be found way up on the 22nd storey of the Eurotheum skyscraper, right in the middle of Frankfurt’s banking district high above the Old Opera House. Here you can sit back in a sophisticated black sofa and enjoy your champagne, cocktail or long drink, accompanied by high-class service, live jazz and the most spectacular views of the city. Looking out at the skyline and the skyscrapers reaching up elegantly into the Frankfurt night sky, you can see why Frankfurt am Main is often referred to by locals as “Mainhattan”.