It was acceptable in the 80s

Frankfurt am Main Travel Blog

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Morning has broken. The refuse men are clattering around outside the house and have been doing for what seems like the past hour. It's warm and sunny. What shall we do today then?

Today is officially designated shopping day - Rebecca wasn't working and we needed to get some stuff for my parents who were coming over to join us at the weekend for my mother's birthday.

Frankfurt has a large city centre with a vast range of shops and although many of them are the usual functional German stock there are plenty of exciting designer outlets if you know where to look. That said we did actually spend most of the day looking at cards, buying decorations and having photos printed.

We did though venture into (I think it was called) the Zeilgallerie which houses a range of mostly trendy clothes stores of the youthful kind. The whole place is built around one central lift and escalator system, which a single walkway spirals around for a good nine or ten floors it seemed.

I mention this place because I was most excited to spot a retro Lynard Skynard tshirt in the window of one of the boutiques. Now this might strike you as quite odd in that a) they are a hoary old rock band and b) they have a reputation for being unsavoury Klansmen. However, for those with in an interest in my sartorial elegance (and I know there to be many), I should explain that there is a current vogue in the UK at least for retro band tshirts worn as an ironic statement. (And no - this actual shirt was an ironic repro, not a genuine one!!)

With this in mind I was most please to find my Skynard shirt came complete with their name picked out in studs and ready made holes for that distressed look. Truly I was excited with my find and had to purchase the said garment immediately despite the shop not accepting credit cards without a passport to prove your identity.

Suitable happy with my new garment and having completed our shopping requirements we wandered back out of the shopping centre. On doing so we discovered that the precinct outside was devoted to a beer festival where beers from all over Germany, Europe and indeed the world were being sold from a multitude of stalls.

Never ones to pass up the opportunity for a drink or two we set off in search of the ideal vendors from whom to purchase some beverages. Now as neither my sister nor myself drink beer we did have to put a bit of a search in but we soon found a stall that sold wine as well.

This stall was in fact some sort of medieval place where they were flogging ye olde type beer whilst dressed in ye olde style costumes. Suitably impressed we purchased our wine which verilly did come in some stone goblet type affairs. Much merriment we had seated at long wooden benches with our medieval brew.

As the afternoon did wend it's way towards evensong we did feel that too much ye olde stuff was probably not a good idea and thoughts turned to the crucial matter of where we would be eating and drinking that very evening (plus it was getting a bit blustery sat there). And so forsooth we did return to our dwelling to get changed and head back out for further merriment.

After a quick wash and brush up and with me now resplendent in my new apparel we're back into town. We're off to sample the delights of the newly discovered 'Wein am Romer' which is to act as the starting point of the evening's activities.

Now as you will see from my review - this is a strangely odd little place that Rebecca discovered recently and has now installed it as number one destination (in the city centre at least.) As promised the only other customers in there with us were a couple of groups of German pensioners who were having a rare old time downing plenty of wine.

We squeezed round our bar-table, perched ourselves on stools and made haste with the wine card. Conversation wandered around the latest important happenings back in the UK (eg what's been on TV and what's in the charts) whilst we watched these pensioners get increasingly merry and stumble about. At one stage we thought they were playing a 'Best of Northern Ireland' CD but gave up on this after a couple of songs.

One high point was that when you go up the spiral staircase to the toilets some sort of sensor lets out a wolf whistle about half way up. The locals seem to find it most amusing to the extent that when one mature lady was tottering her way up she was most concerned that it hadn’t worked so came down a few steps again to make sure she set it off.

The general plan of the evening from this point was to visit a couple of Frankfurt's so called more exclusive hang outs. It's a bit of variety from just going to Escobar all the time after all.

The first stop then was Sansibar which is billed as a really up market bar / club. When we got there however we were not even sure whether it was even open. The place seemed to be in darkness without a sign of life.

In actual fact they were open but they just didn't have any customers as yet (this was about 8.30). Perhaps they get busier later? As we were inside now we decided to take advantage of no queues at the bar and plonked ourselves down and ordered drinks.

Our arrival seemed more of an annoyance to the multitude of staff than anything else. Despite having been open from early it appeared that we were the first customers of the day and they had to go and turn on the music, put the lights on and go round a light all the table candles.

There we sat in our exclusive bar, being exclusive. So exclusive in fact that we were on our own. Literally.

Some DJs turned up after a bit but all they did was open their record box, ignore the decks and just sit in a corner making phone calls. Eventually one other bloke did wander in but he just sat at the other end of the bar and stared at us.

For some reason we decided to have a couple of drinks here so spent quite a while and saw only three other people come in in around ninety minutes. By the time we left there were still about three times as many staff wandering about as customers.

Next up was Bar 22.

Now if Sansibar was a bit odd this place had it beat for weirdness. Half way up a skyscraper it does feel a bit odd wandering past the security desk and then taking the lift up to a bar - not the sort of thing you get in the Cremorne!!

The most amazing thing about this bar though was not only that it was situated on the twenty-second floor but also that it was situated in 1983. It's odd really that one bar can have invented a lift that induces time travel and not shared it with the rest of the world.

Stepping out of the lift we enquired if there was a free table (this place ain't that big either) and the harassed looking guy ushered us to the only spare one in the house. The big selling point of the bar is the wall to ceiling windows that allow you to look down on Frankfurt from your table. Interesting then that our table was in fact behind a very hefty pillar and you could see precisely nothing of Frankfurt. You could see the toilets though. And there were no stools so we had to stand up.  At the table that is.

This bar has exactly the same feel as the ones in the film Lost in Translation. Now I'm not sure if this means that all bars up skyscrapers end up like this or that it's just bars in Japan and Frankfurt. This was the overwhelming feeling I got about the bar but that's not necessarily a good thing. Lost in Translation is an interminably dull film. Nothing happens. Yes - I can see it's artistic pretensions. I know what it's trying to say and how it's trying to say it. But I just thought 'GET A F****** PLOT AND STOP WASTING MY TIME!!!'

Anyway - back to Bar 22. Another benefit of this table was that having travelled through time you now also get to be invisible as the waiter studiously ignored you. This waiter may have been concentrating too much on his 'Flock of Seagulls' haircut to do anything else but a drink wouldn't have gone amiss.

Taking advantage of our invisibility we pounced onto a small table by the window as soon as someone stood up. From this vantagepoint invisibility obviously doesn't work as no soon as we were seated when Flock of Seagulls was bringing us more cocktails. From here you could see indeed see all the marvels of the Frankfurt cityscape through the windows and the wonders of 1983 in the bar.

Women with big shoulder pads mingled with stockbroker types in braces whilst a woman at in the corner behind a Jean Michelle Jarre style bank of keyboards quietly warbling 80s tunes - my favourite being 'Flashdance'.

Despite all the oddity we were having an enjoyable time. Just as were getting into it there was an odd announcement to say that due to problems the lifts were now not working. Odd in so much that it was given in English first and then translated into German. This announcement was then followed by a group of firemen trying to surreptitiously troop into the kitchens without being seen.

This of course gave visions of a starring role in our own version of The Towering Inferno but nothing that exciting was to happen. After about twenty minutes the firemen were sneaking back out again and the lift was announced to back in working order.

If you've read this far then you might now be wondering about no mention of food this evening. Well we were planning on eating late and decided that post Towering Inferno we would head off as none of us had a second mortgage handy to buy another round of drinks.

We paused only to go to the toilet, which in itself was an event. They were very arty things with lots of opaque glass and what I didn’t realise was a sliding door to enter. Now I don't recall anywhere else where the toilet door was a sliding one so I duly tried to open it with the handle. I'd almost wrenched it off it's runners before I realised what was up.

Back down in the time lift we went and found ourselves back in 2007 but a good while after we had left. What this meant was that by the time we got to Chicago Meatpackers (our chosen eating venue) they had stopped serving. Well it was about 11.30 by now!

There was nothing else for it but to head for take away so we hot footed it to the green cabin place on the other side of the road which had the biggest take away menu I think I’ve ever seen serving everything from kebabs and burgers to pizza to thai food.

So at least we got something to eat and then it was back home for more Heidi and schnapps. As we walked back to the tram stop we passed Sansibar again. There were a good ten or so people in there by this time...

dougal says:
That should be busier lol
Posted on: Jun 29, 2007
dougal says:
There are phone boxes businer than Sanzibar...
Posted on: Jun 29, 2007
Eric says:
There is a cool place called Zanzibar in Los Angeles, but it's sounds slightly more crowded than "Sanzibar" ;)
Posted on: Jun 28, 2007
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Frankfurt am Main Nightlife & Entertainment review
This place is very aptly named. Firstly it's a bar so they got that one right. Secondly it's located on the twenty second floor of one of Frankfurt'… read entire review
Frankfurt am Main Nightlife & Entertainment review
It does what it says on the tin. Wein am Romer is a tiny bar located round the back of the Cathedral and serves up exactly what you'd expect - wine… read entire review
Frankfurt am Main Nightlife & Entertainment review
Sansibar is billed as one of the trendiest places to be seen in Frankfurt. Apparently it's split over two locations - one roof terrace on top of a sk… read entire review