It’s been almost 18 months since I moved to Bonn, Germany and I realised there’d not been much mention of that here on Bolsoversion. I shall now make amends by accumulating the know-how gleaned in the last months into an insider’s ‘best of’ list.
Best beer garden – Alter Zoll, Am Brassertufer, Zentrum (U-Bahn Uni/Markt). Just a quick stroll from the Hofgarten park and the University, the Alter Zollhas a great position overlooking the Rhine. Perfect on long, warm evenings or for drinking away a sunny Sunday. You can play boules on the adjacent gravelled area, or sit on the grass and have a barbeque.
Best bars – The best place for a concentration of good bars and pubs is to head to the Altstadt. Pawlow (Heerstraße 64) has curious decor, but draws an interesting, arty crowd, Lichtblick (Dorotheenstr. 2) is normally pretty packed with students at weekends due to its music and decent drinks prices and Maya (Breite Str. 72) does one euro tequila and alright Mexican food (as Mexican food in Germany goes). If you’re in the Uni/Markt area, I like Cafe Blau (Franziskanerstr. 9), as it’s basically a swimming pool cafe, but in a trendy way. (That’ll make sense if you go.) It has a big drinks list, a discoball and someone there really likes New Order. For a more grungy drink, check out Zebulon, opposite Ichiban on Stockenstrasse. Heading further south, I recommend Mausefalle (Weberstr. 41) which is easy to miss as it’s underground. Great music selection and a bit of a hidden gem. Stays open late. A slightly dated website can be found here.
Best fleamarket – Third Saturday of every month during spring and summer, the Rheinaue park in the south of the city is taken over by hundreds of stalls for a giant flea market. Come early if you want to find the best stuff, but it goes on until mid-afternoon if you fail to wake up. There’s normally an amazing collection of tat, but as with all German outdoor activities, you’re never far from a beer and a bratwurst.
Best restaurants – Depending on what food you’re into I can recommend Ichiban (Stockenstrasse) for sushi (although claims they are watering down the soy sauce need to be verified), there’s Tusculofor giant pizza (two locations – Karl-Kaiser Ring, Nordstadt and a new one in the city centre near Maredo), May May (Am Hof 24, Zentrum) for Vietnamese, or for traditional German there’s several places around Friedensplatz where you can get giant schnitzel. To be honest, I’m still looking for a restaurant that blows my socks off. These are all cheap, friendly and yummy, but I’m still on a cuisine quest.
Best cake – Cafe Kleimann, Rheingasse 18, Zentrum. This place is stuck in a magical time warp from its last revamp in the 1970s. Enjoy the velour kitsch surroundings and join the geriatrics for some delicious kaffee und kuchen.
Best museum – Haus der Geschichte, Willy-Brandt Allee 14, (U-Bahn Heussallee). Comprehensive look at German post-war history, although more enjoyable if you can read German. There are regular exhibitions often focusing on issues of pre-reunification Germany. And it’s freeeeee. Honourable mention also goes to Museum König where you can pretend to be on safari with the stuffed animals.
Best Irish pub – The Quiet Man, Colmantstr. 47, Zentrum (U-Bahn Hauptbahnhof). As a so-called ‘international city’ and home to the UN, Bonn boasts several Irish pubs. I can name at least six, and I’m sure there’s more. I avoided this place for a long time as I didn’t want to be that ex-pat stereotype. However, after six months I had to concede that the pub is really fun, the staff are amazingly friendly and whatever your sporting preference, they’ll probably put it on tv for you. Beware, you can go in for one drink and leave several hours later having spent a little too much on your tab. Facebook page here.
Best cocktails – Mohito’s, Königstr. 9, Südstadt. Does a good daily happy hour with different offers each week. No watery cocktails like many of the places in the centre of town, plus a slightly older clientele (ie not 17).
Best döner – I’m more a falafel fan myself, but I have it on good authority that Döner House (Heerstrasse 119, Altstadt) is one of the best. Does live music some nights, and has a beer garden out back. Bit smarter than the average Imbiss.
Best late night drinking hole –Nyx, Altstadt. It gets to 1am, you’re still going strong but can’t face one of Bonn’s many dubious clubs (nor are drunk enough to end up in the meat market that is Blow Up) then you should head to Nyx. Fridays and Saturdays often boast alternative, Britpop, 80s kind of themed events, and there’s the ever popular World Beat Party.
I’m still not sure what this was, but there were several men with their shirts off. It’s not normally like that at Nyx. Prices are good, there’s a good mix of locals, the music is decent and they don’t kick you out when it gets late. Good for watching football too, but it does get smoky.
Best brunch – Miebach’s cafe, Marktplatz, Zentrum. You may not get the greasy goodness of an English fry up, or the buttery treats of a French croissant, but the Germans do a hearty and deliecious breakfast. Sundays and bank holidays often cetre around a big brunch which consists of cold meats and sausage, cheese, eggs, bread, fruit, and muesli. At Miebach’s you pay around 8 euros for an all you can eat brunch, which also includes pancakes, bacon, toast and other bits should you want it. Outside seating in the Marktplatz available on nice days, although service can get pretty slow when it’s busy. Don’t try rushing brunch.
I think I’ve exhausted my know-how. If you have any tips for me, or suggestions for places that should have made the list, feel free to let me know!