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IDAR-OBERSTEIN, Germany — Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a guys and his boys walk into a German bar for a few big glasses of the local brew. Smokes are lit and conversation ensues. Then, out of nowhere comes the blasting sonic thump of European techno music. Sure, fans call it “house” or “jungle” or “trance,” but whatever you call it, that synonymous beat is techno.

I wonder how you would spell that beat on paper? UHN-sss UHN-sss UHN-sss? That’s about the best I can come up with, but you know what I’m talking about.

The Germans sure love that techno, don’t they? Even when not in a club, it seems like a week can’t go by without seeing some dude rolling down the street, that same techno beat blasting from his car’s speakers. UHN-sss UHN-sss UHN-sss.

So what a pleasant surprise it is to walk into the Eckstein in Idar-Oberstein, a 15-minute drive from Baumholder, Germany, and right down the hill from Strassburg Kaserne, and hear the soul samplings of Aretha Franklin, Bill Withers and Isaac Hayes.

The Eckstein always seems to have a great soul/funk/old hip-hop song spinning from their massive collection. On another night there, old-school De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and other early 1990s rap staples were in rotation, harkening back to what fans in their late 20s and early 30s consider a golden age of the genre.

After the constant aural assault from the Euro-techno ambiance of most watering holes, Eckstein emerges with a different vibe.

Bernd Ruppenthal, who has owned and operated the Eckstein for 11 years, said he doesn’t make a conscious effort with the music he plays from his massive in-bar collection.

“It’s mostly just music I like,” he said matter-of-factly. “I try to play some music that puts customers in a good mood.”

In addition to a great musical rotation, Eckstein has space for days. Even on the weekends when it’s crowded, it doesn’t feel crowded. There’s tons of room at the bar, while couches and tables are set in the back.

Eckstein basically stays open until Ruppenthal feels like closing, but most weekends the show’s over by about 3 a.m. or so.

In addition to being totally chill, Eckstein has a nice food menu that includes mozzarella sticks, chicken nuggets and nice, big American-size hamburgers.

The clientele is mostly German, but Americans represent as well.

“Everybody’s welcome here,” Ruppenthal said.

To see previous After Hours reviews, go to:

Drink prices: Pretty standard fare. A few euros will get you a glass of beer, while cocktails cost a few scheckles more.Food: Good bar food, including mozzarella sticks, chicken nuggets, and America-sized burgers.Entertainment: Quality music, spacious layout and a mix of people. How could you not be entertained?Dress: CasualClientele: Mostly Germans, but some Americans.Hours: Monday-Thursday, Sunday 11 a.m.-?, Friday-Saturday 7 p.m. to whenever.Location: Am Markt 5, Idar-Oberstein. About a 15-minute drive from Baumholder, and right down the hill from the Strassburg Kaserne.Phone: 06781-46634


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