Despite rocky history that Europe has endured, one thing hasn’t changed: alcohol. Bars, pubs, breweries and wine cellars have existed since the creation of organized living. No longer are cloaks, feathered hats, and stockings required to enjoy a frothy pint.
Sean’s Bar, Athlone, IrelandSean’s Bar, located on the Shannon River, Sean’s Bar proclaims to be Ireland’s oldest pub. The bar’s interior exposes a 900 AD stone wall, and adjacent to the glass-cased wall is a Guinness World Book of Records certificate to prove its historical achievement. Athlone’s original cobblestone street is found in the bar’s garden. The eclectic interior showcases historical oddities such as cannon balls, swords, and other medieval delights.
Broyhan Haus, Hannover, GermanyLocated in Hannover’s Old Town, “Oststadt,” is Broyhan Haus, which is famous for its top-fermented pale wheat beer, created in 1526 by Crod Broyhan. World War II destroyed most of northern Germany; however, the bar stands proud serving lager and other Germanic beers. The “haus” is a combination of a bar and restaurant that serves hearty portions of kraut, bratwurst and cabbage. For a more historic experience, dine or drink “unter” the bar in a stone-walled, medieval cellar.
The Bingley Arms, North Leed, LondonBingley Arms is England’s oldest pub, established in 953AD, rumored evidence claims the structure dates to 905AD. With over a thousand of years of history, Vikings and priests imprinted their lineage inside this ancient building. The Priests Inn formerly occupied the building, which served as a resting station for monks. Two adjacent priest holes hide inside the chimney dating back to 1539AD. Staff claim to experience ghost sightings and paranormal activity attributed to the bar’s dark history.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham, EnglandEstablished in 1189AD, legend has it crusaders were on their way to the Holy Land, pausing for a moment to enjoy a refreshing pint at this bar. The eerie, haunted bar claims Richard the Lionheart once drank here with his crusaders. The bar is built alongside caves, in which underground tunnels lead to Nottingham Castle.
Hofbräuhaus, Munich, GermanyMunich, Germany’s drinking capital, contains of one of Europe’s oldest bars: Hofbräuhaus. The Duke of Bavaria founded the bar in 1589, which is now owned by the Bavarian state government. In 1632, during the Thirty Year War, King Gustavus Adolphus from Sweden invaded Bavaria. He threatened to burn Munich to the ground unless the city released hostages and 600,000 barrels of Hofbräuhaus beer. Modern boozers and historical identities such as Mozart, Lenin, and Hitler forever love this bar. Today, bar maids, and even some locals, wear traditional Bavarian clothing.
Herberg Vlissinghe, Bruges, BelgiumEstablished in 1515, this affordable European bar is the perfect hangout for artists. The bar’s most notable legend includes painter Peter Paul Rubens; after eating, he painted an imitation coin on the table and left the bar with an unpaid tab. Wood paneling, wood-burning stove and self-portraits decorate the interior. During summer, drinkers sit in the shaded garden and play boules.
Al Brindisi, Ferrara, Italy
Established in 1435, Guinness World Records certified the bar as the “Most Ancient Tavern in the World.” The building dates to 1100 where it opened for workmen building the cathedral. Back in the day, the astronomer Copernicus lived in the building’s first floor. In 1973, Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Wiszinsky of Poland visited the bar to celebrate the former astronomer’s 500th birthday.