Auerbachs Keller Leipzig – Goethe’s Favourite Wine Bar During His Student Days:
Auerbachs Keller (Auerbachs Cellar) owes much of its fame to Goethe who immortalized the wine tavern in Faust I – In part V, Mephistopheles, the demon, takes Faust to the tavern in an attempt to ruin him, but fails.
Goethe frequented Auerbachs Keller as a student and called it his favorite wine bar. It is for this very reason that we’ve come to check out this most famous and second oldest of Leipzig restaurants, even though it was a bit too early to eat or drink.
Auerbachs Keller is located below Leipzig’s famous shopping arcade, the Mädlerpassage. Even before you descend into the cellar, the sculpture of Faust and Mephisto gives a hint of which famous individual has strong links here. If you’re wondering why Faust’s left shoe is lighter in colour than the right, locals believe that if you rub his foot, you will receive good luck.
There are four historical dining rooms in Auerbachs Keller, including one named after Goethe: the Fasskeller (Barrel Cellar), Lutherzimmer (Luther Room), Goethezimmer (Goethe Room), Alt-Leipzig (Old Leipzig), and since 1913 the Großer Keller (Large Cellar). If you just want a drink, the Mephisto Bar is on the floor above.
A Brief History on Auerbachs Keller
Auerbachs Keller’s origin can be traced back to 1525 when Heinrich Stromer, a medical professor from Auerbach, opened a wine bar in the cellar of his house. In 1528, Stromer had the 200-year-old building torn down and a new house with an enlarged cellar built, with the Hexenküche, Fasskeller, Lutherzimmer and Goethezimmer rooms surviving to this day.
In 1911, Anton Mädler purchased the building, with the intention of demolishing it and replaced it with an elegant trade fair building. Auerbach Keller was part of the demolition plan, however due to worldwide protests, Mädler not only retained the Keller, but he also enlarged it with the inclusion of the very elegant Großer Keller.
But it hasn’t always been plain sailing for the Auerbachs Keller. The restaurant was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1995 when its then owner, a ‘construction magnate’ got the restaurant caught up in his dodgy financial deals. Thankfully a new owner arrived on the scene the following year and the restaurant’s door reopened.
Auerbachs Keller Today
The cuisine at the Großer Keller restaurant is marketed as hearty home-style cooking, supplemented with international dishes. Looking at the elegant restaurant, one might expect prices to be rather expensive, but the meals are at “family-friendly” prices.
At the Gift Shop, visitors can buy all kinds of Goethe and Faust-themed souvenirs, and for Euro 2.60 you can even buy a facsimile of a receipt for champagne that was made out by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1804.
Mädlerpassage is at Grimmaische Straße 2 in Leipzig’s historical district, close to the market.
Map of Leipzig: