Munich After Dark: Where To Drink and Where To Dance
FOX is a welcoming bar with a laid-back vibe in Munich | Courtesy of Fox Bar Munich
If you’re looking for a wild night out, Munich’s late-night scene certainly delivers. The city is home to a variety of laid-back bars, creative cocktail menus and crowded dance floors. Here, a local insider shares some of his favourite spots for drinking and dancing.
Munich’s nightlife culture goes way beyond beer. You can easily find a good house or techno party on any given weekend, with many clubs staying open until the early hours of the morning. Late-night fun is centred in neighbourhoods like the Glockenbach, the Ostbahnhof, Schwabing and Maxvorstadt, where you’ll be spoiled for choice with a vibrant array of buzzing bars and dance floors.
Toby Eberlein, a bartender at the hip Beverly Kills, has seen more bars and clubs opening in recent years than ever before. He is a fan of Munich’s electro scene and the relaxed bars of the Glockenbach. Here are his top recommendations for where to drink and where to dance in the city.
Bathed in red lighting, Beverly Kills offers a unique experience every night, with an in-house DJ playing a mix of old- and new-school hip-hop to a packed room. “The atmosphere is great here,” says Toby. “It’s crowded, full and hot. People come to dance and always have a good time.” The drinks menu at this bar and club offers a simple variety of beers and long drinks, along with a special house-made shot of the day. Swing by at 8pm on Saturday for stand-up comedy before the real party starts. The unpretentious atmosphere and free entry make this place a must-visit in the Glockenbach.
True to its name, Sauna is a hot and steamy dance club situated next to Hauptbahnhof. The inside of the club is lined with wooden pallets, like a real sauna, and features a soundtrack of danceable ’90s throwbacks, an unreal sound system and fog machines. Crowd-wise, expect relaxed yet exuberant partiers ready to break a sweat on the dance floor. And if ever it gets too hot, grab a refreshing drink and chill off in the outside area at the back of the club. The admission fee is a bargain by Munich standards, and drinks are also reasonably priced.
Centrally located in the Maxvorstadt neighbourhood, FOX caters to a colourful crowd of students and the coolest of Munich’s residents. The bar is known for its welcoming atmosphere, friendly bartenders and creative drink menu. Shabby-chic interiors look like an incredibly quirky living room, with a swing in the middle of the room and plenty of comfy retro couches. You’ll find a top selection of spirits at the bar, along with speciality drinks, such as the Basil Smash (fresh basil, lemon juice and sugar) and Liquid Cocaine shots (vodka and coffee). There’s also regular live music on Monday nights and a terrace open during summer months, perfect for soaking up the sun while sipping on the bar’s delicious cocktails.
Built in 1934, Zur Gruam was once a legendary corner pub frequented by sex workers, criminals and other denizens of the night. Since reopening in 2011, the clientele may have changed into a younger, hipper crowd, but the authentic charm (and the baseball bat under the bar) remains. The pub is tucked away under a railway bridge and is adorned with eclectic decorations like a jukebox and Virgin Mary statue. “Zur Gruam is a cool little bar in Sendling with a good atmosphere and electro music on Fridays,” says Toby. “This is really a great place to party.”
From the fabulous selection of German gin to the artfully made cocktails, the focus is entirely on the drinks at Zephyr. This chilled-out hangout near the River Isar may look pretty simple, with stripped-back interiors, plain seating and grey walls. However, behind the bar, cocktail magic is afoot. Bottles of super rare and unique origins fill the shelves, along with a variety of fresh ingredients, such as strawberries, lavender, meringues, herbs and flowers. The menu changes regularly but always delights with creative concoctions like the Two Leg Flamingo – a tequila drink made with strawberry dust, hibiscus shrub and rosé.
Relaxed and homey, Schall and Rauch is somewhat of a second living room for students from nearby Ludwig Maximilian University during the day; when dusk falls, it transforms into a buzzing nightlife spot. The few small tables and bar stools fill up quickly, as friends meet for a chat over glasses of wine. The Schall is known for its extremely well-poured drinks, personable staff and impressive menu, which mingles Indian specialities with Bavarian dishes and Italian pasta. In summer, the front windows open up, and bargoers populate the entire sidewalk.
“Loretta Bar is one of my favourite bars in Munich,” says Toby. “There are so many good cocktails, and the relaxed atmosphere makes it a nice spot to chill and drink. I go here a lot after work.” Whether relaxing with a drink in hand or watching the lively crowds of the Glockenbach pass by, Loretta Bar never disappoints. While it’s easy to walk past this industrial-style space (there’s no visible sign outside), it’s well worth the search. Inside, lamps of varying size hang from the ceiling, and vintage furniture is scattered about the room. Grab a seat and enjoy an inventive cocktail menu, laid-back vibe and friendly staff.
Nearly 1,000 colourful light bulbs cover the ceiling of Senatore, a quirky pizza restaurant-dance-bar hybrid inspired by Italian operettas. Heavy red-velvet curtains, bizarre cherub dolls and walls with gold edging fill the boomerang-shaped space, which looks out over Sendlinger-Tor-Platz. Senatore pays homage to Alla Scala, the long-established pizzeria that formerly filled the space; starting at 6pm, you can drink and order delicious pizza. At 10pm, however, the pizza oven shuts off, and the music is turned on. The soundtrack is mainly funk and soul, with a dash of hip-hop and electronic beats.
A classic in Munich’s club scene, Milchbar is one of the wildest spots in the city. The club is known as the last stop for night owls due to its opening hours (doors are open to clubbers until 9am) and steady selection of danceable tunes. It’s also the perfect place to make new friends, whether for a single song or the entire night. Stop by on a Monday for Munich’s only ’80s night, or experience German party hits on Wednesdays. Located next to Sendlinger Tor, Milchbar is easily accessible by public transit.
Cocktail Bar, European, Vegetarian, Pub Grub, Beer, Wine, Cocktails, $$$
Negroni may take inspiration from classic American bars, but the cocktail menu is far from traditional. Opened in 1998 in the Haidhausen neighbourhood, the bar is home to an exquisite range of spirits, including 130 types of whiskey and 160 different cocktails. Choose from a large variety of original creations and vintage favourites, all made by multi-award-winning bartenders who take pride in their excellent drink preparation. The sophisticated space is perfect for spending a cosy evening savouring your drink of choice, complete with elegant furnishings, wall lamps and leather-covered seats.
With renowned resident DJs, a main floor that vibrates on 11 steel springs and 3D laser and video installations, Harry Klein is much more than a techno club with an unusual name. The carbon-neutral club features an extensive drink menu, with everything from local cult beer to lovingly mixed cocktails. Revellers can enjoy Garry Klein on Wednesdays, a queer techno party, and the entire month of March is Marry Klein, a feminist techno club festival with only female DJs at the turntable.