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BAMBERG, Germany — Most travelers who find themselves in Bamberg usually end up at the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) at some point — the picturesque building features prominently in tour brochures and on Web sites, standing proudly in the middle of the River Regnitz.

Just a block away from the Altes Rathaus sits the Hofbrau Restaurant and Bar, and if you’re looking for a nice lunch or dinner, it just might be the place.

Upon entering, you’ll most likely hear smooth jazz or possibly Norah Jones—that is if it’s not busy. Due to its location, the Hofbrau stays quite busy.

In fact, if one of the summer fests is going on, such as Magic Bamberg in July, or Bamberg’s largest fest, Sandkerwa, in August, it may be almost impossible to get to the front door. Most days, however, there’s plenty of room either inside or, weather permitting, outside.

The staff was helpful and unobtrusive, and their English was much better than my German.

Having never had salad with rabbit before, I decided to give it a try, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was worth every bit of the 8.50 euros I paid, and the house dressing was superb.

The menu also features a wide variety of Franconian (and Australian and Chilean and Italian and …) wines, and of course local Bamberg beer.

When it’s in season (usually late spring to early summer), the Hofbrau also has a fantastic white asparagus menu coupled with the normal lunch and dinner fare.

Never one to turn down a customer, after opening daily at around 10 a.m., the Hofbrau stays open late every night, locking the doors

after the last guest leaves. Weekdays this is usually around 1 a.m., and weekends an hour later.

So if you find yourself getting cold while taking in Bamberg this winter and happen upon the Altes Rathaus (you’ll know when you do), check out the Hofbrau. I’m glad I did.

Hofbrau Restaurant and Bar

Bamberg, Germany

Prices: Dinner and two drinks ranges from 15-25 euros. A salad will run 8.50 euros, a filetsteak meal 18.50. Top shelf shots are around 3 euros, a glass of wine about the same.

Specialties: Seasonal menus.

English menu: No.

Dress: Casual.

Clientele: Mostly Germans. About 20 percent American.

Location: Karolinenstrasse 7, within shouting distance of the Altes Rathaus. The closest major parking is the Rose Garden Parking Garage on the other side of the River Regnitz next to the Bamberg tourism office. The Hofbrau opens daily at around 10 a.m., and closes when the last guests leave, which is usually 1 a.m. on weekdays and around 2 a.m. on weekends. Of note: Mondays feature live piano starting at 7 p.m.

Web site: None.


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