Fans of Munch and its legendary Hofbräuhaus may get a surprise on their next visit to Berlin. For last Friday saw the opening of Hofbräu Berlin. This, the third in a franchise-there are already two Hofbräuhausers in Hamburg, hopes to offer Berliners and any curious tourists a little slice of Bavaria.
Except, as befitting any homage to the original Hofbräuhaus, it’s anything but little. What they have done is create Europe’s largest beer hall. 6000 square metres is spread over three floors and incorporates some 2 kilometres of benching to seat 2,500 punters.
Despite the legal wrangling that forced a change of name and some local doubts as to what a Hamburger is doing involved; general manager Björn Schwarz is confident it will be a success. His figures tell him that there are plenty of Berliners ready to eat 120 tons of pork shank, 25 tons of the white sausage called Weißwurst, and drink a million litres of beer per year.
And if they don’t? Well its location at the heart of Alexanderplatz should guarantee that there are enough tourists to pick up the slack. But the true Hofbräuhaus is about more than just food and drink. So its Berlin clone offers a stage on each floor where yodelers, alphorn performers and glockenspiel players will entertain customers.
To complete the Munich experience, Schwartz says: “customers are encouraged to link arms and sway” in true Bavarian style. How the cosmopolitan Berliners will take to all this Bavarian jollity is anyone’s guess, but I suspect they may well enjoy the experience.