Gin Sul meets Sieferle & Sailer
Out of the city and back home towards the southwest to take care of my parents garden and house. I am going to spend one week in the sunny Palatinate region working from home and enjoying the local bar scene. Fortunately on the day of my arrival a Gin Sul event took place at the Sieferle & Sailer Bar in Mannheim. Fantastic gin, fantastic event, a new bar in my hometown, life can be so relaxed.
The Sieferle & Sailer Bar is located in the Mannheim area of Jungbusch, a former commercial port and now has become a hipster area with trendy restaurants and bars. I already recognised from a distance the Gin Sul VW Bulli (minivan), which came all the way from Hamburg. I parked my car and got off. I received a warm welcome and a Gin & Tonic. I like the Gin Sul a lot and I love the story behind it. I had some nice experiences in Portugal and the Portuguese feeling of Saudade fitted perfectly the feeling of returning home. On one hand I feel a bit homesick but on the other hand I am starting to feel home in Berlin as well, but there is always a bit of melancholy. After I had a look inside the Sieferle & Sailer bar, this could be a reason to come back. There was no proper bar when I left Mannheim.
First of all Roger introduced me to Paul Sieferle, the mastermind behind the bar. He showed me the bar, explained the concept, the interior design and the bar menu.
I asked if the locals accept this kind of bar. I would say the bar culture is establishing itself exactly at this place.
My criteria for a good bar are fully met. First of all there is a doorbell, that means a warm welcoming spirit. The bar has 25 seats, a “drinking in the second row” does not exist. The main ingredient of the drinks was Gin Sul on that day. Becaue of that reason, I am telling you something about the menu, the spirit(s) and especially about the unusual seating experience. Orderly beard, men’s hairstyles of former days, a barbershop is door to door to the bar. Here works Marco Sailer, awarded as the best barber in Germany, and the other half of the bars name. The bar menu comes in a Din A3 format and has been designed by the tattoo artist Clemens Hahn. The names of the haircuts from the barbershop find their ingredients in the corresponding drinks. This menu is designed with a lot of love and individuality, with many details and at the same time simple and easy to understand. A small work of art that does not fit in the handbag.
The focus on the used spirits is on Bourbon and Mezcal, but also many local products from the home region of Paul Sieferle, 150 kilometres south of Mannheim. The classical origin of the drinks is immediately recognisable and there is much to expect from their own twists. I will try them during my next visit this week. It was love at first sight. An intimate longish room, concrete, black tiles, warm and cozy lighting.
The centerpiece is the bar in the 50s style with a black glossy bar counter. The bar stools fit perfectly. I spend a lot of time in bars 😉 so the sitting comfort is particularly important. The sitting is not only comfortable but also a bit lower with more stability. What struck me immediately when the bartender stood before me was the distance between us. There is no mixing station in front of the bar counter. The bartender prepares the drinks in front of you, using the same counter. Face to face the bartender is stirring the drinks and placing it without great effort directly in front of you. Ergonomic and efficient work on one hand, and on the other hand a very unusual intimacy. The unusual format requires a lot of individually manufactured or custom-made equipment behind the bar. Standard equipment does not fit a lower and smaller bar like this. This location, this concept has been thought out to the smallest detail like the coasters for the drinks, the towels in the restroom, the details on the shelves behind the bar.
Serious drinking was hard to find in Mannheim. The first attempts were not accepted or understood. Sieferle & Sailer is a little off the main streets and be spared by walk-in customers. The guests come very intentionally and find a great bar, an attentive, friendly and stylish service. There is a thoughtful interaction between guests and bartenders. This increases the acceptance of serious cocktails. Drinks are well made and is well worth trying.
By now, the focus is on bars outside the megapolises. Spot on for Mannheim. Just recently you will find the bar on the longlist of the Mixology Awards in the categories New Bar of the Year and Bar Menu of the Year. Well-deserved!
to be continued