A Retro Lover's Guide to Munich

Courtesy of Kongress Bar
Courtesy of Kongress Bar

Bavaria is a hotbed of traditionalism. Mostly that means lederhosen and dubious clogs, but occasionally it leads to some hidden retro gems. In Munich you’ll find everything from coffee shops rooted in a 50s vibe, to atmospheric bars and even vintage dance schools. Here’s our guide to the best places for a blast from the past in Munich.

If you’re keen to start exploring retro Munich, you’ll probably want to look the part too. For over 30 years, Alexa’s has been situated close to Marienplatz and her unique wares and sensitive reproductions have built her a cult following in the city. For a bargain that supports a good cause, you could also head to Stoffwechsel. This non-profit shop specialises in bold, colourful vintage clothing with an eye-catching store to match.

Stoffwechsel store | © Roanna Mottershead

Stay in Neuhausen after your shopping trip for a caffeine hit with a retro vibe. Kaffee, Espresso und Barista is lined with old-school coffee machines, with customers ranging from couples to workmen popping in for an espresso at the counter. Around the corner, Kaffee Kolonial is another great spot for a caffeine hit with personality, and is a great choice if you’re in need of a late breakfast. Sip one of their signature Marocchinos – the cup is lined with cocoa before an espresso and milk foam is added – while admiring the vintage prints.

Munich’s retro reputation goes beyond the city. Iconic store Sams&Son played a key role in helping The Grand Budapest Hotel clinch an Oscar for Production Design. Specialising in travel memorabilia such as vintage trunks, suitcases and maps from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it’s an essential visit for anyone interested in re-creating that retro feel in their home.

Vintage cases | © Drew Coffman/Flickr

In need of a stiff drink after all that shopping? There are several options for classy cocktails with a retro slant. To experience old-school glamour, head to Pusser’s. Downstairs you’ll find first-rate pianists tickling the ivories every Thursday to Saturday from 9pm. They even have a trademark cocktail, the Pusser’s Painkiller™. Just alongside the Oktoberfest site, there’s also Kongress Bar – an authentic 50s-themed cocktail bar that prides itself on its extensive range of Manhattans.

Courtesy of Kongress Bar

If the night is still young for the retro lover, there’s a lively retro dance scene to explore in Munich. Why not try your hand at the charleston, or maybe swing dancing? In the creative quarter around Ostbahnhof you’ll find Nachtkantine, which hosts several salsa and swing-themed nights, with live music to match. Need to brush up your skills first? There’s a dedicated vintage dance studio in Munich run by four-time German tap dancing champion Silvia Plankl. Her studio recreate routines from the height of Hollywood glamour, even dabbling with burlesque and the can-can.

Swing dancing | © louiscrusoe / Flickr

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