Nights to remember
In Strasbourg, the historic old town is where most people head to for a great night out, whether it’s to sit and sip a glass of locally made wine on a pretty terrace, relax along the river L’Ill at a bustling café or dine out on authentic Alsatian specialities. The warren of streets around the Place de la Cathédrale are simply brimming with bars, restaurants, cafés and winstubs (a traditional type of Alsatian wine bar and restaurant). Wander along the rue des Frères, place Saint-Étienne, rue du Maroquin, rue des Tonneliers, Grand’rue, and take your pick of any number of great eateries. The best way to get around the city is on foot, and when you do that you’ll discover there are plenty of places that are off the beaten track which are absolutely worth seeking out; I loved Place du Marché Gayot - as do the locals!
Aperitifs that make your soul soar
Black & Wine: Elegant and chic as well as friendly and welcoming, this bar is a bit of a secret. Located at the back of the Hotel Hannong, you could easily miss it unless you know it’s there. The perfect way to start your evening is with a glass of Alsatian wine. Don’t worry if you don’t know the wines, I asked the knowledgeable staff to pick for me based on my likes “red, not too dry, not too sweet” – they certainly didn’t disappoint. The owner’s wife writes cookery books and she chooses the tempting charcuterie, cheeses and little bread sticks that make up mouth-watering platters to nibble with your wine. In the summer head up to the fabulous outdoor rooftop bar.
Supertonic: What’s not to love about a gin joint that has 57 different gins, 12 types of tonic and serves homemade sausages lovingly created by a local artisan. Supertonic is on a sunny corner in the popular-with-the-locals Place d’Austerlitz. Visitors often miss it as it’s a short walk from the Cathedral, but you’ll thank me when you go there. Opened by Joseph Thomas a couple of years ago it’s loved by locals and students from the University and has a real buzz to it. Expect to taste the best G&T ever from a mind-bogglingly delectable Ginventory.
Open from 11.30-01.30. - Facebook.com/supertonicresto/
Wine and Dine
Chez Yvonne is an institution in Alsace and has been since 1873. Hidden away in rue du Sanglier, a stone’s throw from the Cathedral, savour traditional dishes of the region in a room that looks like an Alsatian grandma’s parlour. Think red and white check curtains and dark panelled walls – cosy, comfy and utterly authentic. I couldn’t help wondering if my table for two was where former President Jacques Chirac sat with German Chancellor Helmut Kohn. They enjoyed traditional dishes like choucroute and the restaurant’s famous knuckle of pork dish washed down with local beer when they dined here in the 90’s.
Les Chauvins, a father and son run restaurant, opened in early 2018 and has quickly established a place in the hearts of the locals. Chef Yannick Bangratz’ innovative menu always has an eye on the traditional flavours of Alsace but with influences from the Mediterranean – it makes for a truly scrumptious, seasonal menu of local products. The choice is agonisingly difficult as there’s so much that you’ll want to try – luckily for you, they specialise in Tapas style dishes so you get to try several specialities and don’t miss out!
Late night bars
Aedaen Place clandestine bar
Though I totally recommend this bar, I can’t tell you exactly where it is! It’s a sort of secret speakeasy and absolutely not to be missed if you like your cocktails zingy, your wine perfectly chilled, and your bars friendly, fun and fabulous. Head to Aedaen Place Pizzeria at 4-6 rue des Aveugles is all I’ll say. I promise you it’s worth seeking out. You’ll eventually find yourself emerge into a darkened bar with a 30’s vibe. Exposed brick walls contrast with plush red velvet banquettes and chandeliers swing alongside factory style fixtures. It’s architecturally stunning with a surprisingly erotic (yes I did say erotic) drinks menu.
Club Le Fat: This unassuming bar is loved by trendy young locals and students. It’s strictly for the late night crowd who throng into the dimly lit basement bar lined with bookcases. Don’t expect much action before 11pm most nights and it’s best after midnight until the early hours of the morning. It’s friendly, funky and fun. Night owls will relish its unpretentious ambiance, DJ sets (they love a bit of hip hop here as well as old school soul), well-stocked bar and welcoming staff.
More bars not to be missed:
Le Phonographe is a friendly bar with great music and DJ sets. It’s really popular with the local in crowd.
Facebook Le Phonographe
La Kulture bar and club cultivates the spirit of Berlin with its minimalist decor and retro underground ambiance. The creative cocktails and craft beers are a big hit with customers and for electro music fans, it’s unmissable.
Facebook La Kulture Bar
La Laiterie, a concert venue with a varied programme, plus club room with a focus on electro music. They hold a huge programme of events throughout the year.
For a laid-back atmosphere, head to the Quai des Pecheurs, a short walk from the Cathedral and relax at a riverside terrace or onboard one of the several boats which serve as bars and bistros.
Where to stay: Hotel Hannong
Everything about Hotel Hannong is designed to make you feel good. It was founded in the 1920s by brothers from nearby Mulhouse, Paul and André Horn. One an architect, the other a chemist, they worked together on several projects in Strasbourg including the design of Rue du Vingt-deux Novembre and several buildings including the Hotel Hannong. They had a passion for architecture and modern art (see the incredibly modern 1928 Aubette leisure complex) and their passion lives on in the hotel which is now managed by the 4th generation of the family. You’ll sleep like a baby in the comfiest bed in a room where nothing jars the eye but is specifically designed to pamper and please. Gorgeous bathrooms and toiletries make you feel utterly cosseted. Hannong’s breakfast is famous and (perfect after a night out) features a juice bar plus a smoothie bar where you can blend your favourites or ask for help. Hotel heaven.