Allied forces obliterated much of Frankfurt’s historic core when they bombed the 2,000-year-old German city during World War II. Over the past decade, though, 35 retro buildings have risen in the area, thanks to the roughly $200 million Dom-Römer Quarter project, which used archival photos to help create Neue Altstadt (New Old Town). Look behind these old-timey facades and you’ll find many vibrant new businesses—including these six.
Motel One Frankfurt-Römer
One side of the lobby in this 4-year-old budget design hotel features a carved-wood outline of Frankfurt’s historic core; the other depicts the modern financial center’s growing skyline etched in stone.
“It’s like old meets new,” area sales manager Katja Kelling explains. In the plush rooms, guests will find prismatic works by local abstract artist Hendrik Zimmer.
This high-end gift shop from collector Ulrike Bender displays fine German handicrafts, such as traditional Christmas pyramids, nutcrackers in lacquered uniforms, and hand-painted beer steins, not to mention cuckoo clocks so intricate they can cost up to $2,000. Stepping through the doors here is like wandering through the pages of a whimsical German storybook.
Hoppenworth & Ploch
Coffee nerds dunk gooey cardamom buns into pillowy cappuccinos at this third-wave coffee shop, which roasts its own sustainably sourced beans. During the summer, afternoon visitors can also order wine. Cofounder Julian Ploch says that the minimalist, teal-toned interior “blends the older aesthetic of the facade with a more modern approach inside.”
Apfelwein is often called the fuel of Frankfurt. The cider-like “apple wine” was first produced commercially in the city’s historic center in 1881. “What began then lives on today at Anno 1881,” explains Sylvia Martinez, the manager of this modish new bar. Order a flight, then soak up the alcohol with traditional German pub grub, such as flammkuchen (Alsatian flatbread).
Balthasar Ress Weinbar & Vinothek
Owner Christian Ress likes to think of his wine bar as “the cosmopolitan spot in the New Old Town.” The sleek interior design contrasts nicely with the historic plaza outside, and among the wines Ress serves are dry rieslings and pinot noirs from his estate winery, which is located just 30 miles west of here along the Rhine River and was certified as organic in 2019.
House of the Golden Scales
The Historisches Museum Frankfurt has a new branch in this Renaissance-style home. “Unlike other buildings in the New Old Town, which only have a reconstructed facade, the inside of this building was elaborately reconstructed,” explains museum director Jan Gerchow. Take a tour to see the period details, then grab a crown cake at the sweets shop downstairs.