Southern East Germany – Modernity Meets Tradition and History

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A journey through East Germany is also always a journey through Germany’s past and history. Be it the magnificent buildings in Dresden’s city center and the GDR-typical prefabricated slab buildings on the outskirts of Erfurt and Jena; memorials such as Buchenwald north of Weimar or Marienborn on the former inner-German border; the homes and workplaces of famous “children” such as Johann Sebastian Bach and Richard Wagner, Erich Kästner and Karl May, the sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider and the actor Gert Fröbe; or the Goethe House in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Weimar – in the land of poets and thinkers and the home of many German artists, one encounters history at every turn.

From a former workers’ and farmers’ state, this region of Germany has now become a high-tech country – former chancellor Helmut Kohl promised “flourishing landscapes” as early as 1990. Examples include the new capital city airport BER, Zeiss Jena and Jenoptik, Infineon semiconductor production in Dresden, SCHOTT glass, Meissen porcelain and the German watch manufacturer Glashütte. Stretching from the Elbe from the southeast to the northwest, the Spreewald in the north, Saxon Switzerland and the Vogtland in the south – the southern part of eastern Germany not only has history to offer, but also plenty of tourist attractions with and in the historic cities of Weimar, Erfurt, Jena, and Dresden.

And in between, small refuges where cigar passionados can indulge their passion. Because times are returning to normal after the pandemic; conversations in good company and spending time in a beautiful and quiet atmosphere are sought again. And this includes a fine cigar and a delicious drink.

So in the fourth part of this series, we set off for the southern region of East Germany and in search of the remaining post-pandemic options where a cigar can be enjoyed. In the following, we present outstanding and noteworthy cigar-friendly indoor locations between Berlin and the Ore Mountains, between the German-Polish and Thuringian-Hessian borders.

The legislation is similar to that in the other, more liberal-minded German states: smoking is permitted in separate adjoining rooms of pubs and in one-room taverns designated as smoking establishments that are smaller than 75 square meters [approx. 805 square feet].  It is also possible that in a smokers’ bar offering food, the ashtrays will not be placed on the tables until 10pm. Despite all this, it is worth calling before visiting the respective location to find out whether it is really open or whether there are any restrictions.

Bar Seven in NH Hotel Collection Dresden Altmarkt
An der Kreuzkirche 2
01067 Dresden
T: +49 351 50 155 670
www.nh-hotels.de/hotel/nh-collection-dresden-altmarkt/restaurants
Opening hours: daily, 5pm–1am

On the second floor above the reception of the hotel located next to the Kreuzkirche, the modern hotel bar at the far end has a small but fine cigar lounge with room for about 12 people. Furnishings in brown tones, a large window with a view of a side alley, a small humidor cabinet built into the wall with standard offerings, and friendly service – secluded from the hustle and bustle of the touristy city center – invite you to linger and enjoy.

Gin House in Hotel Suitess Dresden
An der Frauenkirche 13
01067 Dresden
T: +49 351 41 72 70
www.dresden-ginhouse.de

Opening hours:
Sunday–Thursday 6pm–1am
Friday & Saturday 6pm–2am

In a side alley of Neumarkt, at the foot of the Frauenkirche, this somewhat hidden hotel houses, directly at the entrance, a small but excellent bar with space for about 30 people, where the two bartenders Wilhelm Streich and Toomas Laur, focused on the spirit gin, know how to inspire with homemade ingredients. Even studying and working through the drinks menu that’s in newspaper form is worth another visit, in addition to the good, attentive service and advice on the drink to match the cigar at moderate pricing. The bar recommendation of the tour!

 

Champagner Lounge Dresden
An der Frauenkirche 20
01067 Dresden
T: +49 351 49 77 63 88
www.the-champagne-lounge.de
Large outdoor seating area

Opening hours:
Sunday–Thursday 6pm–1am
Friday & Saturday 6pm–3am

Here, located near the Frauenkirche, on the second floor of a restaurant, cigar passionados will find ornate interior design, with white faux leather seating and bar stools along the counter. A photo wall at the entrance attests to a lot of celebrities being guests. Open when the weather is not so good, because otherwise life and enjoyment take place on the large terrace on Neumarkt in front of the Frauenkirche.

 

Cigar Lounge Bülow-Palais
Königstraße 14
01097 Dresden
T: +49 351 800 30
www.buelow-palais.de/restaurants-bar/#cigar-lounge

Opening hours: daily from 11:30am–last call
Outdoor seating area

Located in Innere Neustadt across from the Dreikönigskirche, this 5-star superior hotel has an Old English-style smokers’ lounge across from the bar. Comfortable leather furniture and decor in dark-brown tones, attentive, friendly service and a first-class selection of the finest international spirits and drinks make cigar passionados feel right at home. And if you don’t have your own cigar with you, a look at the extensive selection on the cigar menu, with a range of Davidoff, AVO, and many other Cuban delicacies, will leave nothing to be desired. The most beautiful ambience of the tour!

Smokers’ Lounge in Hotel Bergwirtschaft Wilder Mann Dresden
Großenhainer Straße 243
01129 Dresden
T: +49 351 20 54 540
www.bergwirtschaft-wildermann.de

Opening hours: daily from 6pm–last call

Located directly at the A4 freeway exit on the way from the airport to the city center, this hotel houses a fine lounge, including a small humidor cabinet with standard offerings, that is used by the restaurant during the day and has its own bar from 6pm. After a nice dinner – whether meat, fish or vegetarian – on the terrace overlooking the city, you can sit down on brown leather seating in the lounge adjacent to the restaurant and indulge in thoughts about further pursuits in this beautiful historic city with a fine cigar.

Smokers’ Lounge in Hotel Elbresidenz an der Therme Bad Schandau
Markt 1–11
01814 Bad Schandau
T: +49 35022 919 700
www.toskanaworld.net/de/55.69/hotel-bad-schandau/gastronomie/rio-xingu-bar

Opening hours: daily from 5pm–last call

At the beginning of the long spacious Rio Xingù Bar (named after a tributary of the Amazon River) is the hotel’s somewhat very small smoking lounge. Separated from the smoke-free bar by a glass wall with display shelves, cigar smokers can sit on a light brown leather bench and enjoy their smokes with classic drinks and tasty cocktails.

Locos
Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 36
03044 Cottbus
T: +49 355 49 48 02 85
www.restaurant-bellessa.de/locos-2/

Opening hours:
Friday & Saturday: open on request
Outdoor seating area

A visit to this small smoking lounge in dark brown and red tones in the Eberthof, an inner-city building complex with restaurants and stores, is like a trip back in time to shabby chic – everything a bit shabby and wicked in a loving way. A small but good range of spirits, attentive service, and a premium selection of cigars in the in-house humidor invite you to spend time there.

Cigar Malt 46 Lounge
Zittauer Straße 2
03046 Cottbus
T: +49 355 729 37 29
www.cigarmalt46.de

Opening hours: pre-reservation by phone only

Owner Thomas Grabitz opens his small but fine lounge, which is somewhat hidden in a quiet residential area, only on personal request. This makes the conversations at tastings and pairings of cigars and spirits more personal and targeted – nothing then stands in the way of suitably enjoying oneself.

Hotelbar in Radisson Blu Hotel Cottbus
Vetschauerstraße 12
03048 Cottbus
T: +49 355 47 610
www.radissonhotels.com/de-de/hotels/radisson-blu-cottbus

Opening hours: daily, 6pm–1am
Outdoor seating area

In the city of Cottbus, located in Lower Lusatia on the Spree River and just before the Polish border, directly opposite the main train station, this hotel operates a large bar with classic and international drinks. Combined with attentive service and plenty of seating and standing options, this invites you to linger and enjoy.

Smokers’ Lounge in Steigenberger Grandhotel Handelshof Leipzig
Salzgässchen 6
04109 Leipzig
T: +49 341 35 05 810
www.steigenberger.com/hotels/alle-hotels/deutschland/leipzig/steigenberger-grandhotel-handelshof

Opening hours: daily, 2pm–last call

The staircase access to the smoking lounge, which is located on the second floor next to the restaurant and is somewhat spartanly furnished, with room for about 12 people, is somewhat hidden in the rear area of the bar that resides directly in the atrium of the large, inner-city Steigenberger Grandhotel Handelshof. Brown, comfortable leather cube seats, a good range of delicacies slumbering in the small wall humidor, an international range of drinks from the hotel bar (which can also be reached by telephone) and, above all, the peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city center invite cigar passionados to linger and enjoy.

Mephisto Bar of the Auerbachs Keller Leipzig
Mädler Arcade / Grimmaische Straße 2–4
04109 Leipzig
T: +49 341 216 100
www.auerbachs-keller-leipzig.de/de/mephisto-bar.html
Outdoor seating area in the arcade

Lounge opening hours:
Sunday–Thursday 12pm–10pm
Friday & Saturday 12pm–12am

The cozy brewery-style bar belonging to Auerbach’s Keller, located at ground level in the Mädler Arcade, invites you to pleasant cigar enjoyment. The friendly and attentive service, the rich offering of drinks and food (during the day, home baked goods and coffee specialties; in the evening, accompanied by fine piano music, classic drinks and typical pub food) are always worth a visit, among other things because – take note! – smoking and eating are possible and allowed at the same time.

Metropolis Table Dance Lounge
Große Fleischergasse 4
04109 Leipzig
T: +49 341 46 25 615
www.metropolis-leipzig.de

Opening hours: daily, from 10pm

Located for over 20 years in the basement of a burger store, Metropolis, the table dance lounge in the middle of the center of Messestadt, is impressive with its low admission price, good range of drinks at moderate prices, large amount of space with several seating areas and private dance booths and, of course, good-looking “artists” in erotic dance and sporty pole acrobatics. On weekends, bachelor party participants also belong to the regular audience, which is also overseen by strict admission controls and the nevertheless friendly “bouncers.” The somewhat different way to enjoy a nice smoke; cigars for this are available from the small but well-stocked wall humidor. The entertainment highlight of the tour!

Bellini’s
Barfußgässchen 3
04109 Leipzig
T: +49 341 96 17 681
www.bellinis-leipzig.de
Outdoor seating area

Opening hours: smoking allowed from 9pm

In this somewhat touristy cocktail bar and restaurant on Leipzig’s pub mile, guests can enjoy over 100 international drinks and non-alcoholic mixed drinks. The attached kitchen offers a wide selection of traditional and international dishes from the constantly changing seasonal menu. After a delicious meal with matching drinks, smoking is allowed from 9pm.

Fürst Leipzig Restaurant & Bar
Barfußgässchen 2–8
04109 Leipzig
T: +49 341 99 99 384
www.fuerst-leipzig.de
Outdoor seating area

Opening hours: from about 10pm (after dinner) smoking allowed until last call

The noble ambience of the Fürst restaurant and bar, located in the middle of Barfußgässchen in the heart of Leipzig, with high, white-colored seating groups and benches, a small but well-stocked bar and international culinary delights invites you to unwind. As a treat, on Fridays and Saturdays from 10pm the “Fürstin” does the honors – the bar becomes an exclusive dance club with great music.

Restaurant Zigarre
Barfußgässchen 10
04109 Leipzig
T: +49 341 96 15 035
www.zigarre.restaurant

Outdoor seating area

Opening hours:
Tuesday–Thursday 12pm–12am
Friday & Saturday 12pm–3am

The restaurant is located on the ground floor and offers home-style meals. Cigar passionados will find a selection of Cuban and Dominican cigars in the restaurant’s humidor, housed in the historic vaulted cellar. The friendly staff offers advice on cigars; cocktails, malt whiskies, fine rums or wines are waiting to be enjoyed.

Tabak-Kontor / La Casa del Habano Leipzig
Hainstraße 11
04109 Leipzig
T: +49 341 96 28 982
www.tabak-kontor.de

Lounge opening hours:
Monday–Saturday 11am–5:30pm

Tabak-Kontor, somewhat small and inconspicuous from the outside, houses a bulging, tall, walk-in humidor in the back of the store in the busy pedestrian zone. According to its own statements, Kontor is the leading specialist tobacco store in central Germany. On the second floor, next to the large, quiet lounge, which seats about 25 people but is somewhat uncharitably furnished, is another humidor. But here, as is typical for La Casa del Habano, only Cuban cigars are sold. The friendly service in the lounge and the store’s large offering invite you to spend some time there.

TankBar
Jahnallee 52
04177 Leipzig
T: +49 1520 850 99 68
www.tankbar-leipzig.de

Large outdoor area

Opening hours:
Wednesday & Thursday 5:30pm–12am
Friday 5:30pm–3am
Saturday 2pm–3am
Sunday 2pm–9pm

Located in Altlindenau, directly at the Elsterbecken and not far from the Red Bull Arena, TankBar with many music events is characterized by an “old school” bar flair. It’s a perfect place for bikers, chrome and rock ‘n’ roll fans who enjoy a cold beer and a fat cigar. They have American food, like burgers and nuggets on offer, as well as a large, adjacent beer garden with a suspended Cadillac flying above it – all a bit heartier and more rustic. For public viewings, TankBar says it has the biggest screen in town.

Gierke Cigarren
Brandvorwerkstraße 15
04275 Leipzig
T: +49 341 30 14 520
www.gierke-cigarren.de/gierke-cigarren-lounge/

Opening hours: pre-reservation by phone only

You can tell right away that owner Stephan Gierke is “on fire” for cigars. Admission to the small lounge, located in a backyard of a traffic-calmed residential district in the southern suburbs, is only possible by appointment. And so, through personal conversation and expert advice from Gierke, one learns a lot about his own history and family connections to Cuba, about predominantly Cuban cigars and an Arnold André focus in the walk-in humidor. In addition, he provides information about a range of drinks to go with cigars and tells one or two stories and anecdotes from his guests during numerous, convivial evenings.

Smoking Lounge in Rittergut Positz
Rittergut Positz 1
07381 Oppurg
T: +49 3647 50 45 35
www.rittergut-positz.de

Outdoor seating area

Opening hours: on request

If you want to celebrate lavish parties or events, the idyllically located Rittergut Positz, about 15 kilometers south of Jena and the A4 highway, is an excellent location. The historic walls are home to a hotel with event facilities, vacation apartments, a large courtyard, an inn and, above it, a small, lovingly furnished smokers’ lounge with a well-stocked humidor. There’s room for tastings of all kinds of spirits from suppliers in the immediate vicinity. Owner Stefan Schwarzer will also join in for a brief time-out, recounting stories from the past and looking ahead to the future and the possibilities of the Rittergut. On the website, you can read about the lively and eventful history of the Rittergut, which dates back to the 11th century and extends to November 1997, when the current owner family, Schwarzer, acquired the estate, saved it from complete decay and has been breathing new life into it ever since. The historical highlight of the tour!

Davidoff Lounge in the Steigenberger Esplanade Jena
Carl-Zeiss-Platz 4
07743 Jena
T: +49 3641 8000
www.steigenberger.com/hotels/alle-hotels/deutschland/jena/steigenberger-esplanade/restaurants-bars

Bar opening hours: daily, 6pm–12am

At the back of the Goethe Galerie in downtown Jena is the hotel’s inconspicuous entrance. If you take the elevator to the third floor, you arrive at a large atrium, the residence of the Moonlight Bar. On the right is the associated Davidoff lounge, unfortunately somewhat lovelessly furnished and outfitted. Seating is provided in a long leather bench and upholstered chairs. A built-in wall humidor is equipped with the usual Davidoff assortment.

Erik’s Tabakhaus
Oberlauengasse 8
07743 Jena
T: +49 3641 56 13 300
www.facebook.com/eriksjena/
Outdoor seating area

Opening hours:
Monday–Friday 10am–6pm
Saturday 10am–4pm

Located on the eastern edge of the old town below the JenTower, visible from afar, and the Kirchplatz, this little paradise for cigar smokers and whisky lovers was founded in May 2016 and has been awarded the Habanos Specialist title. There is a 40-square-meter walk-in humidor with all kinds of Latin American delicacies, a large sales room with themed side rooms for the wide range of whiskey, rum and the current in-drink gin, a comprehensive selection of pipes and pipe tobacco with all kinds of accessories, a cigar lounge on the upper floor accessible via a spiral staircase with chair seating for 16 people and spread over a long bench. What more could the connoisseur want!

Bar Mozart
Straße der Nationen 56
09111 Chemnitz
T: +49 371 68 11 06
www.mozartbar-chemnitz.de/de/
Outdoor seating area

Opening hours:
Monday–Saturday 11am–12am
Sunday 5pm–11pm

Next to the entrance to the Bar Mozart of the Hotel an der Oper is the spacious smokers’ lounge, furnished in an old living room flair, with room for about 15 people. The bar offers an international beverage menu, including a sophisticated selection of whiskies and leaves nothing to be desired for cigar connoisseurs; a small humidor also renders its services.

Havanna Bar in Hotel Van der Valk Berlin-Brandenburg
Eschenweg 18
15827 Blankenfelde-Mahlow
T: +49 33708 580
https://berlin.vandervalk.de/restaurant-bar/havanna-bar/uber-unsere-bar
No official outdoor smoking area

Opening hours:
Monday–Saturday 7pm–last call

Located on the outskirts in the south of Berlin at the A10/B96 intersection, within shouting distance of the new capital city airport BER. Entering the bar located in the basement of the hotel opens a gem of opportunity to enjoy a cigar in a separate area with drinks recommended by a very attentive bartender focused on cigar smokers. The furniture, which seats about 30 people, is in subtle shades of dark brown, the lighting is discreet, and Louis Armstrong and his trumpet shine from the walls. In the walk-in humidor of the excellent Habanos Smokers’ Lounge, further treasures await the connoisseur. The somewhat stronger Hemmy’s Robusto – a cigar from a Berlin-Cuban coproduction – tasted particularly good with a delicate whiskey sour and an orange-tart Dirty Daiquiri.

The Fan Sports Bar Magdeburg
Leiterstraße 1
39104 Magdeburg
T: +49 391 56 39 221
www.sportsbar-fan.de

Opening hours:
Monday–Friday 4pm–1a
Saturday & Sunday 2pm–1am
Large outdoor area

This cozy, somewhat quaint American sports bar in Magdeburg, located not far from the main train station and at the entrance to the pedestrian zone, scores points for, in addition to American culinary delights, lovingly implemented decoration and details, its large sun-flooded window front facing the busy Otto-von-Guericke-Strasse, and a long bar with two larger rooms located on a slightly raised area. The large screen and various monitors create a stadium atmosphere during sports broadcasts. As a starter for the evening and the tour, we had a somewhat lighter Plasencia Reserva Original Churchill to go with penne all’arrabbiata and a fresh, tart Hasseröder Pils.

Tabakskolleg in Hotel Zumnorde
Anger 50–51
99084 Erfurt
T: +49 361 56 800
www.hotel-zumnorde.de/kulinarik/tabakskolleg/
Outdoor seating area

Opening hours: daily, from 5pm–last call

The lounge, which seats about 20 people, according to its own website “THE place to be” in Erfurt, can be reached through the entrance of the restaurant located in the Grafengasse. This belongs to a large hotel complex in a side street of the beautiful, traffic-reduced city center. After a good meal in the restaurant, the friendly staff will offer guests a selection of cigars from the humidor along with matching drinks such as whiskey, cognac or wine for the lover of good smokes.

Havana Bar Erfurt
Neuwerkstraße 10
99084 Erfurt
T: +49 361 218 555 23
www.havana-bar-erfurt.de

Outdoor seating area

Opening hours: daily, 6pm–last call

Located directly at the Hirschgarten and opposite the State Chancellery, this large bar opened in 2015 with colorful seating and high tables for a somewhat younger crowd. Here you can enjoy homemade cocktails with fresh ingredients at moderate prices or another rich offer of drinks and a cigar or two.

Havana Club Weimar – Bar and Guesthouse
Schlossgasse 2
99423 Weimar
T: +49 3643 80 55 88
www.havanaclub-weimar.de

Opening hours:
Monday–Saturday 6pm–last call
Outdoor seating area

Integrated into the historic old town, this quaint bar, named after the Cuban Havana Club – el ron de Cuba, has now been around for more than 17 years. It’s worth taking a look at the recipe book of the bar, which extends over several side rooms that accommodate about 120 people and is furnished with a lot of love for Caribbean decorations. Cigar smokers are welcome to enjoy the wide selection; however, there is also a non-smoking area. And all of this can be enjoyed while vacationing in the attached guesthouse.

Bobby Jones Smokers Lounge in the Weimarer Land Spa & Golf Resort
Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 34
99444 Blankenhain
T: +49 36459 61 640
www.golfresort-weimarerland.de/spa-golf-hotel/geniessen/bobby-jones-smokers-lounge.html
Outdoor seating area

Opening hours: daily, 5:30pm–last call

There is also an excellent place to go in eastern Germany, not far from Weimar, for golfers and wellness enthusiasts. The Grafe family, which runs the hotel, has turned the former Krakau estate into a leisure paradise in a dreamlike setting. This is a hotel complex with a golf course consisting of two 18-hole golf courses and a 9-hole course, with a large wellness and spa offering, five restaurants and three bistro cafés, a vinotheque as well as a large bar – tended to by the Bobby Jones Smokers’ Lounge. This is decorated in light-colored wood and seats about 15 people on light leather seating. A fireplace on one side, on the other a large window front to the inner courtyard of the complex – here it’s possible to live and enjoy a cigar with a suitable drink. Note the large, extensive cigar and drink menus. The lounge highlight of the tour!

Photos: Volker Schäffner

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