KORNHAUSKELLER - BERN
Vaulted Celler Restaurant & Bar of the Granary
The tradition of underground vaulted cellars in Bern goes make to the middle-ages when nearly every house was provided with such a space for the storage of goods. Many of these spaces now contain fashion shops and trendy bars, but the granddaddy of all of them is the Kornhauskeller. In the center of the city, just across from the famous Zytglogge Clock symbol of the Swiss capital city (see Bern Zytglogge Clock Tours), the onetime municipal building where grain was stored to survive the cold winters is home to one of the town’s most famous of restaurants and popular city bars.
The Kornhauskeller is one of the most spectacular dining rooms in Switzerland. The vaulted cellar almost has the feeling of a medieval church. The cellar is entered down a grand stairway with the arched underground room spreading out into the distance. Twelve pillars supporting the arches of the ceiling vaults are painted with folkloric images of Bernese women in traditional costumes while the spaces of the vaults are decorated with musicians in Renaissance dress, and mythological figures like dragons, mermaids, and the man in the moon.
The Kornhaus or “Granary” was built between 1711 and 1718. The upper three floors stored the grain while the basement held barrels of wine, tithed to the ducal rulers of the city as tax. The original purpose of the building only lasted for about a hundred years, with the cellar turned into a pub as early as the beginning of the 1800’s, and the site of city festivals in 1893. Another hundred years and the Kornhaus was developed into a city cultural center with the Kornhaus Library, the City Theater “Kornhausbühne” and two restaurants, the Kornhauskeller in the old wine cellars and the more casual Kornhauscafé on the ground floor.
The menu of the Kornhauskeller is a mix of Mediterranean, classic Italian and traditional Bernese cuisine with a contemporary flair, served under the painted vaulted vaults, and in the tradition of its place as a former wine domain storehouse, the extensive wine cave is a treasure trove all its own, tough you needn’t dine to experience the atmosphere of the Kornhauskeller. The Granary Gallery Bar lines the upper level with lounges tucked among the pillars. The unique ambience offers a convivial setting for aperitifs, and cocktails, 80 single malt whiskeys are fine rum rarities and a varied selection of long drinks and cocktails, making it one of the most popular hangouts in the center of Bern.
Visiting the Kornhauskeller Bern
The Kornhauskeller is open for lunch daily from 11:45 am to 2:30 pm and for dinner evenings 6 pm to 12:30 am, Sundays until 11:30 pm. In winter lunch hours are extended to while away the time in the warm cellar. Reservations are not necessary, but a very good idea. From the main train station take trams 6-7-8 or 9 to the Zytglogge stop. © Bargain Travel Europe
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