A baker’s delight

Nowhere does Christmas quite like the German town of Nuremberg, with its famous festive market and the warming aromas of gingerbread and mulled wine enveloping the main square. Whether you’re visiting in December or not, the Society’s Bäckerhof partner bar is the perfect place to have a drink and a warm welcome, whatever the season


Katharina Böhm and John Farley may have backgrounds in the building industry, but it was their growing passion for gastronomy and whisky that led them to search out a project they could work on together – and that's when they discovered the historic Bäckerhof ballroom.

“In 2014 we started looking for a place and we were astounded that such a special location was somehow available,” says Katharina. “It’s definitely something out of the ordinary, it was built in 1889 for a society of bakers, and it’s also the only ballroom in Nuremberg.” Bäckerhof – which translates as Bakers’ Courtyard – is designed over two floors, with a grand ballroom on the upper level and a British-style pub on the ground floor.

ABOVE: Katharina and John with SMWS global brand amassador John McCheyne

ABOVE: a Society Christmas event at Bäckerhof

“We decided to make the upstairs ballroom into a cocktail bar and event space,” says John. “It’s a rectangular shape with a high stuccoed ceiling, beautiful old-fashioned windows, original timber floors and a nice long bar. We do a lot of self-service because we like the customers to come to the bar and order, then we can then show them all our bottlings, recommend different flavour profiles and give them much more attention than with the table service.

ABOVE: the venue caters for events from concerts to parties and weddings

“Downstairs we decided to create a more traditional pub, which we call ‘The Thirsty Baker’. Our emphasis is on good whisky, rum and gins with quality ingredients for our cocktails.” Katharina and John have always had a special interest in whisky, and soon became friends with local Society ambassador Ralf Dänzer. After collaborating at various whisky festivals, Bäckerhof officially became an SMWS partner bar, with a grand launch party on October 10, 2015. “We had a memorable opening to start our relationship with the Society, complete with a special bottling – Cask No. 29.194: Sausage sandwiches on oil rigs,” says Katharina.

“In general, we have around 50 SMWS bottles at any one time for our guests. To us the Society is a source of very good quality single cask bottlings, and the consistency is very important – being able to recommend or buy a whisky without having to sort out the good from the bad from the average is a major advantage. “Our guests have grown accustomed to quality whiskies over the years and the Society with its high standards are just what the doctor ordered!”