Artist and tour guide Tomas Kaiser shares his personal recommendations
I was born and raised in Hamburg 51 years ago, and although I have lived and studied in other German states and in Italy and Austria, a relationship eventually brought me back to this city.
The city district I particularly love is Altona. With its mix of old and new architecture, it is an edgy place, with a diverse population including creative types from all over the world. It is open-minded, unconventional and politically active, and there are lots of bars and cafes. Along with its neighbour St Pauli, there are lot of community enterprises here, as well as squatter enclaves, charity parties, and even churches which offer meditation and dance classes. It is also close to the Elbe river with its harbour and parks. On a summer’s evening a particular pleasure is to head down to the Elbe beach to watch the sunset from the beach bar Strandperle.
Of course I do also go downtown for my social life, sometimes to Le Lion, for excellent cocktails, right in the shadow of the Rathaus. But the place which takes cocktails to another level is the Chug Club, on Taubenstrasse in St. Pauli, the traditional entertainment district, a place which has cleaned up its act greatly in the last few years. The Chug Club is incredibly hospitable, and its menu features flights of cocktails, five tasters at a time.
Afterwards, for dinner, I might go to Clouds, for its fantastic view of the city and the harbour. The restaurant is up on the 23rd floor of the so-called Dancing Towers, a distinctive skyscraper right by the Reeperbahn in St Pauli. The food up here is good, although it can be expensive.
If I am downtown during the day I will sometimes pop into Daniel Wischer by the Rathaus, where it offers very good value for money despite its central location. The speciality here is fresh fish, and I love the cucumber salad.
An unusual option, especially when the sun goes down, is the Kleinhuis Restaurantschiff, located on an old ferry boat on the Elbe river in Ottensen, right by the landing stage where the regular number 62 ferry arrives from Landungsbrücken.
And finally, a really reliable old friend is the Burger Lab, back in Altona. It’s a cool place, very uncomplicated, not part of a chain, and with good staff. I love it, and in summer I am here once a week.
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