Tuesday 15th April 2014
Struwwelpeter is to be found on the corner of a small block that includes three other Apfelweinwirtshausen (Cider Pubs) that are all traditional. Please see the separate articles on the Affentor-Schänke and Apfelwein Dauth-Scheider. Although the interior of this pub looks as if it has been around for a century it is said to have been established in 1990, or was it renamed in that year? Information would be gratefully received.
The reason for asking the question is the pub has a non-traditional name. Struwwelpeter is the title of a children’s book written in 1845 by Heinrich Hoffman, a Frankfurt resident. The nearest translation is Shockhaired Peter, as the child depicted in the illustrations looks as if he has received a severe electric shock. The author, frustrated by the lack of good children’s books, decided to write one himself.
The stories themselves are intended to be moralistic; illustrating what awaits children who misbehave. It is very much of the Victorian era as some of the events that befall the naughty children are quite gory. It would appear that the author wanted to scare children into better behaviour. It is said to have been directed at 3 to 6 year olds, yet if it was published now it wouldn’t even reach the bookshops’ shelves because of its violence.
In contrast the pub is quite lovely. I would imagine it is quite popular on warm days as there is a large area of outside seating; inside it is fairly compact.
As you enter there is a long fitted bench on the right facing across the room where there is more space with loose bench seating with cushions. It is a bit more basic than some of the Apfelwein pubs and the wood panelling is nothing like that to be found in the others.
The serving area is about halfway along the pub and it has a nice bar back and a varnished bar top.
Like most cider pubs in this city the product is served from a traditional ceramic jug. In this case a large one fitted in a rotating frame to facilitate the pouring.
Please allow me to tell you a little about the etiquette of serving the cider. The large jug mentioned above is a Faulenzern, the more usual smaller jug is the Bemkel.
These come in many sizes and in most houses the cider can be bought by the jug with the appropriate number of glasses. The jugs are traditionally made in the colours of grey and blue and come from Kannenbacherland in the Westerwald.
Cider is almost universally served in a 0.3l glass known as a geripples or a rip. It is straight and tapered smaller towards the bottom. The distinctive feature is the diamond-shaped rippled exterior. It is said that this dates from when people ate with their fingers from a bowl and the glass would have been slippery if they were made with smooth glass exteriors. I don’t buy this as glass vessels were introduced in the mid 19th century and eating utensils were in use long before then. Of course, they may have been eating sausages with their fingers!
Of course, being Frankfurt there are still sausages on the menu but there are many other local specialities, mostly involving pork in many guises. It was here that I had my first experience of the local “Gruner Sosse” (Green Sauce). I had it in a traditional manner with hard boiled eggs and boiled potatoes. I liked it a lot but I also saw on the menu that there was Zander in green sauce. Zander, a fresh-water fish, is not particularly strong tasting like; say trout. So I think it would go well with Gruner Sosse.
This is a very likeable pub and to combine it with a four-pub crawl that encompasses all of 50 metres sounds to me like a good way to spend a lazy afternoon.
Struwwelpeter, Neuer Wall 3, Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen. Tel: 069 611297
Open: Monday-Sunday 11.00-23.00
To get to the pub the nearest access is the Affentor stop on bus routes 30 and 36.
The tram stop for routes 15 and 16 is at Dreieichstrasse/Lokalbahnhof, about 250 metres away.
The station of Lokalbahnhof is around 500 metres to walk and this served by S-Bahn lines S2-S6.