Move over Berlin. There's another German city brimming with inspired food and natural wine, noteworthy architecture and design worth seeking out
Where to see design: Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
After imagining the interiors of Herzog & de Meuron’s Elbphilharmonie, German design team Studio Besau-Marguerre were tasked with redesigning another of Hamburg’s cultural institutions, the MK&G design museum. Built in the 19th century as a museum for arts and crafts, the MK&G’s previously all-white entrance has been given a jazzy update with a new colour palette of cobalt blue, yellow and coral and a selection of bespoke furnishings. Further inside is a diverse collection of design which spans history and cultures, from antiquity to the present day, from Europe to Asia.
Where to eat: hæbel
After travelling the world and working as a chef for various musicians and artists, Fabio Haebel found a permanent space for his cuisine in the St. Pauli neighbourhood of Hamburg, where he oversaw the contemporary design of his eponymous restaurant himself. Eight years and one Michelin star later, Fabio has now entrusted the kitchen to Head Chef Kevin Bürmann, who puts sustainability at the heart of his beautifully presented dishes. Two distinct tasting menus showcase the seasonal bounty of north Germany: choose from Flora for a vegetarian experience or, for a taste of the land and sea, opt for Fauna to see what the team has managed to catch at the moment. Sister addresses include the marine-focused restaurant XO Seafoodbar and sourdough bakery kiosque.
Where to see architecture: Elbphilharmonie
Hamburg’s long-awaited concert hall became an instant landmark when it opened in 2017 thanks to its bold design, courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron. If you’re not there for one of the concerts (classical, jazz, pop and beyond) then you can take in the architecture with a guided tour, enjoy a views of the city from the panoramic 8th floor public platform. Or, book a night in the Elbphilharmonie’s own hotel, the sleek Westin Hamburg which sits high above the city in the upper part of the concert hall.
Where to shop: Little Department Store
The small monochrome Little Department Store is Hamburg’s one-stop boutique for ultra cool womenswear and beauty. Owner Sylva Kairies has curated a careful selection of beloved brands such as Vanessa Bruno and Veja, cult creams from Aesop, as well as lesser-known German designers including Wald Berlin and her own cashmere scarf brand Filippa&Florentine, produced in Hamburg and Italy and named after her two daughters.
Where to find coffee: Codos
After launching its first third wave coffee shop back in 2014 in Hamburg‘s Schanzenviertel neighbourhood, Codos Coffee has expanded to four locations around the city. Beans are selected from South America, Africa and Asia and roasted by the team in Hamburg before being served up in the ultra minimalist spaces alongside cakes and pastries from local artisan bakery, Black Apron. You can also grab lunch at the Codos Roastery & Kitchen, and watch the roasting team in action over a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
Where to stay: Henri Hotel
Henri Hotels tapped the Hamburg-based JK Architekten to reimagine a former Kontorhaus (office building) as the brand’s first boutique address in Kontorhaus, Hamburg’s historic merchants’ quarter and now a Unesco World Heritage Site. The design studio took inspiration from the building’s history to create retro-inspired interiors which have been dressed with mid-century flair and bespoke wallpaper from Hamburg-based graphic designer Katharina J. Haines. Larger rooms come kitted out with kitchenettes and desks, making them well suited to longer stays, while up on the seventh floor the small but complete spa comes with a steam room, Finnish sauna and Kneipp bath.
Where to drink: Klinkerbar
From the same team behind Restaurant Klinker, Klinkerbar champions natural and biodynamic wines from Eastern Europe (think Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Slovakia), Germany and more recently France on its continuously evolving menu. As a wine bar and not a restaurant the team have the freedom to play around more with the menu but dishes are always created from local and seasonal ingredients, and are completely vegetarian. On Saturdays there’s a “Boozy Brunch” where you can swop coffee for a glass (or bottle) of wine shared over dishes such as grilled cheese sandwiches and eggs benedict.