Brauerei Zum Schiffchen is one of those German-German restaurants: traditional, with good pig’s trotter and even better beer. And it’s been that way since 1628, when it opened its doors for the first time to sate the thirst and hunger of sailors, locals and the occasional celebrity. It is proud of being the oldest restaurant in the city of Düsseldorf and of having served important people.

Its history began when Wilhelm Hütten received ducal permission to construct an inn and a beer hall outside the city’s walls, near the port. He called it Zum Schiffchen and began to serve beer, wine and food at reasonable prices.

The business flourished and some famous writers and poets, including Heinrich Heine, made it their favourite. But his most famous client of all time was Napoleon Bonaparte, who in 1811 chose the restaurant to celebrate a victory along with the rest of his generals. They ate and drank in a place that has since been called “Napoleon’s Corner”.

Located in the Altstadt, or old town, of Düsseldorf, Brauerei Zum Schiffchen is one of the city’s most charming and authentic establishments. Although it’s always been in the same place, the building has been rebuilt over the years because of different bombardments the city suffered, in addition to having been expanded on two occasions. Even so, both inside and exterior maintain stone finishings in the old style.

The pig’s trotter, whether roasted (in German, Eisbein) or boiled (Schweinshaxe), and accompanied by an Altbier, the city’s typical beer, is the best choice. Prost!


Photo: Kürschner