Bar Sleuth: An inviting, intimate wine house in Griesheim, Germany
May 4, 2006
You won’t find me in a rowdy bar slamming shots with unprintable names. The prospect of several hundred weirdly flavored beers does not excite me. Nor do I look forward to shouting my conversations over loud music. And I am not (yet) so nostalgic about my college days that the idea of bumping and grinding on a sweaty dance floor, drink in hand, sounds appealing.
No, instead you’ll find me enjoying a glass of red wine at Gerd’s Winestube an der Linde, a tiny, intimate wine bar in historic Griesheim, a small town west of Darmstadt.
Gerd Wendt, the affable, English-speaking owner, has translated his lifelong love of wine into a wine house that’s inviting, intimate, and, as he says, “a little bit romantic.”
It’s the perfect place to spend an evening savoring one (or more) from at least 20 hand-picked vintages, including a robust selection of German wines, Wendt’s favorite. Selections include a deep, feisty Spanish red, a few more subtle German varietals and a sweet, nutty German gewurztraminer, a dessert wine. A glass — and if Wendt is doing the pouring, a generous glass — will cost you between 2.50 and 3.50 euros.
Additionally, the bar has a small, seasonal menu, the star of which is the traditional flammkuchen, a large, crispy pizzalike specialty topped with ham and onions and, at 3.50 euros, a bargain small meal for two. For the more adventurous, there’s a 5-euro version topped with wafer-thin salmon and chives, and another with arugula.
Top it off with a dessert version, topped with apples and cinnamon, doused in calvados and served en flambé, for 5 euros.
The bar also offers a cheese selection, a small choice of main dishes and salads. A main dish, usually served with salad, costs about 10 euros.
Despite the haute cuisine, Wendt stressed that the food is not the centerpiece. He invariably asks customers what they want to drink when they come in. If they want to eat, he said, they can read the chalkboard menu and ask for it.
“The important thing here is the wine,” he said. “I’m not a restaurant, I’m a wine house.”
When asked how long he’s been drinking wine, Wendt, who is 45, shrugged, smiled and said, “not long enough.”
He acknowledged that for some young people, wine can be daunting. However, he said he loves helping young neophytes become oenophiles.
“Sometimes they will come in, people who want to drink wine but they don’t know what they want,” he said. “When they are not sure, I help them.”
And for those who just can’t learn to love the grape, he offers a small selection of four local beers, one of them nonalcoholic.
But perhaps the best thing about the bar is its warm atmosphere, its friendly, English-speaking staff and its prompt service. Wendt often circulates among tables, chatting with customers, most of whom he seems to know.
“If I don’t know the people when they come in,” he said, “I know them the next time.”
As always, if you drink, do so responsibly. Don’t drink and drive.
Gerd’s Weinstube an der Linde
Hours: Tuesday: 5 p.m.-12 a.m.; Wednesday-Saturday: 2 p.m.-12 a.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Closed Mondays.
Address: Gross Gerauer Strasse 41, Griesheim
Best way to get there: Take the No. 4 or No. 9 streetcar to the end of the line in Griesheim. Get off and walk south along Gross Gerauer Strasse
Phone number: 06155 877050