Support our mission

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — History is a reason in itself to stroll into the Spinnrädl and take a peek.

The half-timbered building is the oldest in downtown Kaiserslautern and listed as No. 6 on a walking tour of the city.

Add a large wine cellar, a relaxing cigar lounge and some of the region’s typical dishes and visitors will want to take more than just a casual look.

Reservations are not required, but they are recommended, especially for dinner and on the weekends. The place is a favorite spot of both locals and university students and is recommended by many.

The restaurant is in the heart of the downtown’s pedestrian area and only a few steps from the 13th century Stiftskirche, Kaiserslautern’s oldest church.

Spinnrädl, or the Spinning Wheel, dates to 1740. It once was owned by a butcher before it eventually became a restaurant. The current owners have operated it since 1996.

The structure survived repeated invasions by French troops and a barrage of bombs during World War II. Allied aircraft destroyed more than half of the buildings in town during the war.

The inside and outside of the Spinnrädl have gone through more face lifts than an aging Hollywood starlet, but it still has that Old Germany charm.

The restaurant probably should have been torn down to make room for street cars that traveled Schillerstrasse in front of the restaurant, but the creation of a pedestrian area in town might have been its savior.

Dark-stained tables and chairs match the ceiling beams, floors and bar. In the evening, the room is dimmed and illuminated by candles on the table. Friendly waitresses speak both German and English and are more than willing to explain the menu and offer their recommendations.

There are plenty of dishes to choose from. But the Palatinate cuisine will always get top billing.

If such entrees warm liver or stuffed pig’s stomach doesn’t suit you, there are the more universally palatable dishes of bratwurst and steak. The place also has one of the largest wine menus in town. There are more than 40 types of international or local wine available by the glass, and more than 60 by the bottle. Pilsner and wheat beers are on tap. Buy the beer mug and you can take it home as a souvenir.

But what really sets the Spinnrädl apart from all of the other eateries in the area isn’t the food or the wine selection. It is one of the few restaurants to have a cigar lounge.

The small, upstairs room has leather lounge chairs and a selection of brandy, whiskey and cognac. The humidor offers some of the best cigars from Cuba, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

“It’s the perfect place to just talk and sit down and relax,” said Thomas Frey, the Spinnrädl’s assistant manager.

Click here for previous After Hours reviews.


Prices: Dinner dishes from 6.50 to 12 euros. The Spinnrädl Ofenbraten (roasted pork) with potatoes, dumplings and French beans for 10.50 euros is one of the house specialties. Jägerschnitzel (pork covered in a mushroom sauce) with Bavarian noodles costs 10 euros. A glass of Spinnrädl 2004 Riesling costs 2.50 euros. Homemade cheesecake is 1.80 euros.

Specialties: Featuring typical Palatinate dishes. The restaurant offers 40 wines by the glass and more than 60 by the bottle. Cuban, Dominican and Honduran cigars available in the cigar room’s humidor.

English menu: Yes.

Dress: Casual.

Clientele: A good mix of local Germans, university students, American GIs and tourists.

Location: Schillerstrasse 1, downtown Kaiserslautern. Phone number: 0631-60-511.

Web, in German only.

Stripes in 7

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up