Schlenkerla - in Bamberg a magical word with many meanings. Strangers will hear it from the taxi driver or, at the latest, in the hotel after the recommendation of a visit to the cathedral. The three syllables don't just stand for the beautiful half-timbered house and the Smokebeer, tapped directly from oak-wood kegs, but for much more.
There is far more to Schlenkerla than delicious food and drink. If you would rather drink you beer by yourself, be forewarned: it is almost impossible to avoid relaxed, cheerful conversations at the wooden tables. In everyday life the ordinary Franconian acts somewhat reserved when dealing with strangers, but that characteristic is left outside when entering the Smokebeer paradise.
And that is a tradition. For centuries the tasty, dark brown brew has made our guests happy and loosened their tongues. As in the past, when high clerics sat at the same table with farmers, today the musician from the Bamberg Symphonic Orchestra drinks his beer next to the factory worker. Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer levels the differences between classes. It brings together the stranger with the local.
Here and there, between laughter and talk, you might see some serious faces. Ever since Bamberg has had a University, worlds have been changed in Schlenkerla - at least theoretically: the meaning of God has been newly defined or an alternative view of history has been taken. Students of the first semester are most passionate in this, but after the third or fourth beer they often lose their scholarly seriousness.
In the summertime - the house having been adorned with geraniums - the inner courtyard comes to life again. The places and tables outside are as popular as the ones inside. It is very common to see a couple in their best dress - having just come from a midday concert - sitting next to a family in hiking dress - exhausted after a long walk. Thirst binds them all together.
Schlenkerla is the secret center not just of the old town, but of the whole of Bamberg and its surroundings. Even the city fathers apparently see it like this, as they bring their guests from all parts of the world with pride to Schlenkerla. Its uniqueness just doesn't seem to fit the usual definition of hospitality: it is more.
Many have tried to describe Schlenkerla, but no comprehensive description is possible, one has to experience it to understand!