Munich, without beer
For arguably the most inventive cocktails in town, however, the weirdly orange-lit and trendy Reizbar takes some beating. The menu lists more than 450, with the in-house concoctions annotated with the name of the inventor. There is a willingness to experiment with flavours here, as the Basilikumbirne cocktail aptly demonstrates. It mixes pear juice, Finlandia vodka and lime with a home-made basil syrup. Some of the cocktails on Reizbar’s “Gross und Stark” (big and strong) section of the menu seem designed to knock out a bull elephant, but it is the regularly changing selection at the front of the menu that is most interesting. Owner Nils Brunner said Reizbar’s policy is to base new cocktails on ingredients that are in season, so one month they may be peach-based, another they will be focused on strawberries.
A perfect final stop on this non-beer bar crawl is the Martini Club, which always seems boisterously busy on even the quietest of nights and stays open until 4 am -- in a city where midnight or 1 am closing is the norm. It aims for a prohibition-era New York speakeasy vibe and, as the name would suggest, offers a wide range of martinis. Some of these may not please the purists – an apple and melon concoction with Grand Marnier stretches the definition of a martini to breaking point – but the bartenders know what they are doing. And, as with Munich’s other less heralded drinking joints, there is not a chunky litre beer glass in sight.