On the board on the facade of the traditional Zum Spöckmeier inn in the Rosental it says: “Happy Hour! Mon-Fri 2 pm-6pm, Halbe Helles 3.90”. The happy hour is already a few hours old, now the unhappy hour has broken all over town. It is just after 10 p.m. this Wednesday, October 14th, and nothing works.
A few minutes ago the alcohol ban came into force, which the city imposed within seven days due to the corona pandemic and the exceeding of the threshold of 50 infected people per 100,000 inhabitants. That doesn’t affect Spöckmeier at all today, it is already dark there shortly after ten, the lights are, the waiters have already sat up. The same picture can be seen over at the Viktualienmarkt in the Pschorr restaurant near the Schrannenhalle. Everything is tight there too.
At a quarter to ten something was still going on at Gärtnerplatz: The last curtain had fallen in the State Theater, the guests quickly streamed outside, the in-house bar Salon Pitzelberger is closed. Some local people are drawn to the Klenzestrasse to the Theaterklause, a small restaurant with typical Munich Boazn charm. Bartender Leo, who doesn’t want to be in the photo, says: “Everyone behaved in an exemplary manner and ordered in time for the last order.”
Fortunately, the performances in the theater are currently all finished before 10 p.m., some of them only lasted 90 minutes – time enough to order one last beer after work before 10 p.m. “You just have to be quick”, say the guests and laugh, “preferably get out before the final applause!” Leo expects the theater room to close earlier during the week in the future: “We normally close at twelve o’clock, but nobody stays that long for a nice water.” Now you are considering opening up earlier on Sundays, to compensate. Maybe at 3 p.m.
Not an option for the Holy Home. The bar on Reichenbachstrasse around the corner is already a classic when it comes to going out around Gärtnerplatz a little later. The crowd is rather young, between 8 and 30 on Sundays at 3 p.m., if you remember correctly, at this age you get up more or go to brunch, but not in a bar. On Wednesday, just before 10 p.m., it is The rush is manageable, a small group is sitting at the bar with a beer. A couple orders two cyclists just in time, then the bartender Sophie looks at the alarm clock that is on the shelf behind her: It’s time, closing time. Then a guest comes in through the door, very excited: “Is there anything else? Or am I too late?” Too late, says Sophie, she’s sorry. “A go!” Says the guest and turns to go, but then he has to laugh: no beer after ten, a bit bizarre again.
“That’s kind of a death sentence for a bar, isn’t it?” Sophie says it very calmly, but she really has reason to be upset. In a shop like the Holy Home, things don’t really start until ten; now it’s dead legs after eleven. “At midnight it looks much better with the tips, too,” says Sophie, “and the sales that we lack now cannot be made up at other times”. Maybe the Holy Home will open earlier on Sundays now, but that won’t do much. Not at all for Sophie, she is paid by the hour. “In any case, you can’t live from an evening like today.”
This is what seasoned landlords say in the old town, around the Frauenkirche, for example. Around half past ten only small groups sit at the tables in most inns, the Leger am Dom restaurant could now also be called Schee empty am Dom: It is already closed. The Augustiner Klosterwirt is still the busiest place. A couple of regulars do meet. “We come here every four weeks,” says one man, “we are seven people. So today we had to split ourselves over two tables with a plexiglass wall in between. What a nonsense!” Sure, Corona is not to be trifled with – but the so to speak “supervised drinking” in restaurants is apparently hardly dangerous: “Or has someone actually been infected in a pub in Munich? You should know that from the lists.”
Gregor Lemke, the monastery landlord himself, asks himself that. He is also the spokesman for the Munich city center inns, and he is now a little bit desperate. “The cancellations are now hailing in, making you dizzy,” he says. It was just another event with 100 people that was canceled. Worst of all, despite the low risk of infection, politicians came up with measures against the catering trade: “The only thing that remains with the guests is the feeling that it is dangerous in the pub, although it can be proven that it is not true.”