When the bars aim high

Frankfurt/Main (dpa) – The view is magnificent: from the 47th floor of the “One” skyscraper in Frankfurt’s Europaviertel, it stretches from the lights of the big city to the Taunus. Cocktail in hand, the guest sits behind glass windows in the winter, and in the summer the operators also want to set up chairs on the surrounding terrace. For security reasons, only exactly 199 people are allowed to be in the “NFT Skybar” at the same time, including staff. The queue in the lobby of the “nhow” hotel, to which the bar on the top floor belongs, is all the longer later in the evening.

No reservation 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 says. You cannot reserve a place. Only the few guests who purchased a digital artwork on opening night, the so-called NFTs, can safely enter. An artist had designed an NFT for each of the ten “signature drinks” created especially for the bar. On the drinks menu, a “Banksy” based on gin, maple syrup and sherry, an asparagus martini at 16 euros each, or the alcohol-free “Mona Lisa” with lemongrass, ginger and green cardamom at 12 euros .

In terms of design, everything in the bar revolves around the theme of money. The wall behind the steps, covered with colorful cushions, is covered in Bitcoin symbols, the bar stools are decorated with coins, and small round lamps form a dollar sign above the food area – currently closed. Each ‘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 matter of definition. The Maintower bar in the banking district is actually a few meters and several floors higher: the panoramic bar under the observation deck is on the 53rd floor and at a height of 187 meters, the “NFT-Skybar” is only 185 meters high on the 47th floor. 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” in 15th floor of the ‘One Forty West’ skyscraper at the Senckenberg facility.

Hidden treasures of the bar

However, size isn’t the only thing Frankfurt bars can score with. It’s often the little hidden bars that are worth a visit. The Tiny Cup bar, which can only accommodate a few people, is located in the building of the starred vegan restaurant Seven Swans in the city center, for example. Operator Sven Riebel was recently named “Host of the Year” by professional bartending magazine “Mixology”.

In the bar on just 17 square meters: subtle background music, two comfortable benches, pleasantly subdued lighting. Lounge vibe and customer proximity are his goals, says Riebel, who opened the bar in 2015. The small space makes it easy to start a conversation. However, there is no obligation to do so. A maximum of 18 guests can be accommodated. The bar caters to “friends of cultured drink culture” and offers classic cocktails with a twist — but without umbrellas, artificial cherries, or pineapple decorations. Vermouth is currently in demand. And cognac is making a comeback, says the 44-year-old. There are 20 drinks on the menu, plus the standards a bar should have, like the “Whiskey Sour”.

A classic among bars is back – if 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. The operators are Micky Rosen and Alex Urseanu, who have many other bars, restaurants and hotels in Frankfurt – until the hotel reopens. For decades, the worthy bar facing the fair has had cult status, and not just at the book fair.

For the 2023 edition, the gastro editorial staff of the magazine “Frankfurt geht aus” ranked the “Yaldi” bar at the Bahnhofsviertel first in the category “Stage bars”. The “White Rabbit” in the city center and the “Hunky Dory” on Baseler Platz can be found at the following locations. As for “classic bars”, the hotel bar “Roomers” is at the top of the podium, followed by the “Old Fashioned Bar” in Alt-Sachsenhausen and the “Logenhaus” at the northern end.

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