Nuremberg is best known for its Christmas market, but there is more to the city than Glühwein and Zwetschgenmännle (traditional prune Christmas figure). This city of about 500,000 residents also receives around 3 million visitors per year. While Nuremberg's castle, museums, and fountains keep people busy during the day, those that stay in the city overnight are rewarded with a bustling nightlife scene.
The city offers a little of everything from chic date night spots to chilled-out lounges to live music venues. The city is small and walkable so you can make a night of it on foot, or use the public transport system (VGN). Though you won't find the number of establishments as in nightlife king of Berlin, there is still plenty of party in this medieval city.
Bars in Nuremberg
- Schanzenbräu Schankwirtschaft: This local brewery is the perfect place to start a night in the biergarten and end it later in the cozy interior. There is a range of beers to choose from, as well as their house brand of Schanzenbräu Rotbier, Schanzenbräu Hell, and Schanzenbräu Kehlengold. Make a full night of it with a meal of Wurst (sausages) and German classics.
- Hannemann: A popular Wohnungszimmer (living room) style bar with an easy atmosphere or camaraderie. There are craft beers and long drinks as well as live music once a month.
- O'Sheas Irish Pub: It seems you can find an Irish bar anywhere, and that is true for Nuremberg. A meeting place for English-speakers, there is beer, plenty of shots, and Irish food specialties.
- Bar Biene: This rustic bar is Klein aber Fein ("small but nice"), the perfect place for intimate conversation with a glass of wine or a cocktail and a tasty toastie.
- Cafe & Bar Celona Finca: This Cafe Bar is open for breakfast, perfectly paired with a cocktail, or if you prefer a drink in the evening, it stays open late. With Mediterranean flair, you can almost imagine you are on a sea holiday as you sit outside on the banks of the Pegnitz river.
- Mr. Kennedy: A new craft beer bar with cider and long drinks. The small bar has periodic events like beer tastings.
Cocktail Bars in Nuremberg
- Mata Hari Bar: Located on one of the most beautiful streets in Nuremberg, Weissgerbergasse, tiny Mata Hari Bar claims to be “Germany’s smallest live bar.” Despite its small size, it offers a huge selection of drinks with more than 40 cocktails on the menu, as well as a choice of beers and wines. Watch the event calendar for the nights where a small band takes to the stage.
- Gin & Julep Bar: A classic speakeasy where only those in the know can find the entrance through a telephone booth. Order your favorite spirit, or have the bartender come up with something entirely new.
- Gelbes Haus Nürnberg: The "Yellow House" has been serving the finest cocktails since 1989. Try one of their unique signature drinks with unusual liquors paired with local, high-quality mixers. The bar is decorated in memorabilia and has one special long-term resident, Emma the bar cat.
- Die Blume von Hawaii: Forget about cobblestone streets and step into the sand at this Polynesian-themed tiki bar. Specializing in fruity island cocktails like zombies and Mai Tais, it is a bit of sunshine in Nuremberg.
Clubs in Nuremberg
- Club Stereo: This cellar club is usually packed with youthful fans of reggae, funk, and soul. The club has a regular light show and long, busy bar. If you come by in daylight hours, they also have a Sommergarten with drinks and music outside.
- Mach I: A place to dance and be seen, this popular club has multiple dance floors with the VIP area and bars arranged around the dancing. Open for the last 20 years, the party starts here on Thursday night and runs through the weekend.
- Das Unrat: Within the center of city, this club has a central bar and electric vibe.
- World of Nightlife: Also known as WON, this boisterous club offers DJs and dancing to everything from hip-hop to reggae.
- Der Cult: There are live concerts, cabarets, flea markets, theme parties, and fashion shows all held here.
- KON71: An ever-changing roster of DJs take the stage every weekend at this gothic club.
Live Music in Nuremberg
- Brown Sugar Rock Café: Brown Sugar goes hard with death metal music and hardcore decor. Along with the tunes, there is darts and plenty of people headbanging.
- Tante Betty Bar: This small jazz club allows patrons to jam with the musicians just inches away. Grab a cocktail at the delightful bar and relax with the music.
- Hirsch: Located outside of the city center, this former factory hosts live alternative music from local to international acts.
Festivals Near Nuremberg
- Rock Im Park Music Festival: Every May or June, close to a million festival-goers flock to Zeppelin Field for a three-day party. Local and international punk, alternative, and metal bands come together to rock the crowd.
- Nürnberger Altstadtfest: Nuremberg's city festival takes place every fall and is one of the most important festivals in Franconia. A two-week celebration of the city and region, visitors can specialties like zwiebelkuchen (onion cake) and Federweisser. Like Oktoberfest, it all kicks off with the tapping of a keg by the mayor. There are also medieval spectacles like the popular jousting events.
- St. Katharina Open Air Concert: Held in the ruins of 13th century St. Catherine’s Church in June or July, this festival provides a festival atmosphere with music and live theater. The music runs the gamut from blues to hip-hop.
- Fränkisches Bierfest: A Franconian Beer Festival held within the Nuremberg castle moat, more than 40 local breweries serve their sudsy brews. There are also four stages of live music and plenty of food stands.
- Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt: This Christmas market is one of the most magical in all of Germany. Though the focus is on family-friendly gifts and rides and food, the party at the markets continues after dark and offers cheery nightlife. Order a Glühwein (mulled wine) and some of Nuremberg's delicious little sausages to stay warm as you chat and listen to yuletide carols.
Tips for Going Out in Nuremberg
- The legal drinking age in Germany is 16, but hard liquor is only available from the age of 18. However, these laws can be quite laxly enforced, especially if the minor is the presence of their family.
- Entry into clubs is usually only available for 18 and over. IDs will be checked at the door.
- It is uncommon for bars in Germany to have a “last call.” Businesses usually have a suggested closing time, but may close earlier if there are not enough customers or stay open as long as there are patrons.
- Clubs in particular open late. Most don't even open until 11 p.m. or midnight and can be quiet until 12:30 a.m. From this time until 3 or 4 a.m., clubs can be filled to capacity on the weekend. To prepare for the late night, partiers may nap beforehand or lead up to club hours at a chill bar or lounge.
- Dress code is generally quite relaxed. Black is always a good idea.
- Nuremberg's small size means it is easy to walk around in the center and safely enjoy the city's nightlife.
- There is also a decent public transport system (VGN) of subway (U-Bahn), buses, trams, and commuter rail lines (S- Bahn). The system runs from 5 a.m. to midnight with taxis available from the center on weekends or by calling in advance.
- Open-container laws are practically non-existent in Germany. Beers on the go have a variety of names, like Wegbier, and can be enjoyed day or night. However, they are not allowed on transport (thought this rule is often ignored).
- Don't drink and drive. Your punishment will include high fines and losing your driver's license.
- Tipping is typically optional in Germany, but if you want to leave something in a restaurant or a bar/pub with table service, the range is between 5 and 15 percent. Taxi drivers don't expect tips, but you can round up your fare to the nearest euro.