Ever since the 50s, the bar at Berghof has been the place to be at the centre of Lech. Today many guests still remember the music at teatime and the evenings “dancing with rock’n’roll” and even the Berghof song “Ein Wintermärchen” which was composed for the occasion. Today – much like back then – the bar also is a meeting place for all those looking to bring their evening to a close with a good drink and a lovely chat.
It all started in 1953, at Christmas: back then Maria and Eugen Burger started building their legendary Berghof Bar. Rustic and cosy, social and nostalgic – that’s what the location for a fun night of dancing in Lech was like. When the house’s own band started playing, guests and skiing instructors danced until they were dizzy: rock around the clock…! But the bar which was built with the eponymous superior hotel which opened in 1955 was not just famous for parties but also for the most relaxed of times: a nice glass of whisky or a glass of wine recommended by the sommelier. Willy Kailer was the perfect, experienced bartender, the bar’s good soul who really brought together the team for many years.
Traditional stability, contemporary ease
The lively bar sports a perfect balance of precise craftsmanship and neck-breaking efficiency. No-one knows this better than bar manager Oliver. The bar’s new design was decided on together with Reinhard Pocorec, the bar consultant, as well as a local architect; the idea was to significantly simplify the handling. “The blueprints for the new design took into account our ideas with regards to the division of spaces in the bar, such as the work surface that’s illuminated from the front. This way the guests can watch as their drinks are prepared. At the same time, we have plenty of space for actually creating the drink, without restricting the guests at the bar.” Whether you go for a classic or feel like trying out the creative signature drink or rather regional spirits – you will not be disappointed. “Years ago, we decided to strike classic cocktails like Pina Colada or Sex on the Beach from the menu completely and focus on our own creations. Of course, they are inspired by classic cocktails but use completely new ingredients, like vegetable juices and tea infusions. Our goal is to not just expand our own horizon, but that of our guests, too.” Over the course of the year the menu changes several times. Oliver loves being creative. He enjoys trying out flavours, mixing in new components and presenting new, fitting signature cocktails every season.
Old or New Fashioned?
In the course of the modernisation, the bar dropped its old, traditional look and now impresses with a modern lounge style. Where there used to be classic hanging lamps to ensure that dimly lit look, spots are now part of an innovative lighting concept, which, thanks to an automatic dimmer, underlines the lounge character after 11pm even further. Brass, gold, black – those are the dominating materials and colours that reflect the house’s own style and perfectly underline a certain shared identity. And now one might think the new bar has an influence on the bar manager Oliver’s smart creations. Far from it! “We put the classic Old Fashioned, a whisky cocktail with a little sugar and bitter back on the menu. But first we took new ingredients like vanilla and red wine that was stored in Ron Zacapa casks to refine it. This way we basically created a New Fashioned.”
Time for a chat with the guests
Bartenders tend to have very open personalities who like engaging in conversation. If not, they’d hardly be working in an industry where talking to strangers is part of the deal. “In winter and summer we’re almost hesitant to give people a menu because we’d much rather talk to them and steer them in a certain direction.” Questions regarding the flavour (creamy, fruity, refreshing…) or preferences in terms of spirits (rum, tequila, whisky…) are like the ABCs for Oliver and his team. Topics like politics or religion, however, are a no-go for them. An exciting soccer match, though, that’s something worth chatting to the guests about. Aside from that the master is always happy to provide tips and tricks on how to best bring out the drinks’ aromas: “Most people come to the bar after dinner, when they’ve still got a lot of tastes floating around in their mouths. A coffee or a glass of water are ideal for neutralising those flavours. If you’ll let me give you a tip, I’ll most likely suggest an Espresso Martini. Its exquisite coffee notes regulate your sense of taste and create the perfect basis for other drinks.”
Shake it out
Berghof Bar has everything you need to relax. There’s only one thing you’ll never find: boredom! Every Wednesday the guests get to shake it out and the comfy meeting place becomes the Arlberg’s swinging hotspot. “We started doing this during the off-season, meanwhile our chef de cuisine has come up with little snacks to serve, like the home-made falafel by our bar employee Khaled.” High-life is the name of the game, even though the focus is not exclusively on the dance floor but more on enjoying drinks with colleagues and friends to celebrate the week in the mountains. “On Wednesdays we like to come up with a special recommendation on top of our usual cocktails menu. “La Fleur”, for instance, a favourite among the ladies? It’s actually one of the first cocktails we’ve created. Among the ingredients are cognac, rose lemonade, elderflower and lemon juice. For the visual finish we use rose flowers, which makes the drink quite the eye catcher!”
Hello after work! Leave the office behind and head out for a nice weekday-drink with your colleagues: the after work Wednesday at Berghof Bar is perfect for leaving everyday life behind to celebrate the good things in life. Soon the guests can look forward to delicious mulled wine, rounded off with roasted chestnuts. And if you don’t overdo it you can start a fresh day with a clear head at work the following morning.