Eat, drink, dance: going out in Dortmund

When you’re visiting a foreign city, it can be tempting to fall for clichés. Especially when it comes to going out it can be easy to make bad choices. After all, what culinary delights is the Ruhr famous for other than currywurst? And it seems a bit unfair that Dortmund has yet to earn an international reputation for its nightlife.

Don’t worry, though. The 600,000 inhabitants of Dortmund can’t all be wrong – they certainly know there’s a lot more to going out than just fast food stalls and naff discos.

Excellent food: from the best street food and burger temples to a Michelin star

The front of Restaurant Pfefferkorn.
© DORTMUNDtourismus German food in a nostalgic ambience.

At what is perhaps Dortmund’s most popular beauty spot, Hohensyburg, Dortmund-born chef Michael Dyllong’s Michelin-starred dishes attract guests from across the region. The Michelin Guide’s star has been shining down on his Palmgarden restaurant at Casino Hohensyburg since 2013.

A wealth of other good restaurants serves the growing trend for dining out. What we like about Dortmund is that you can enjoy excellent, contemporary food in an unpretentious atmosphere. Plus, the Ruhr’s traditional melting pot of nationalities brings a taste of vibrant flavours from all over the world.

The latest trends on Dortmund’s foodie scene: Asian tapas, high-end burgers, good steaks. And then there are the smaller eateries specializing in home-made, fine food. Vegetarians and vegans will also find plenty of options – Prenzlauer Berg eat your heart out.

Dortmund’s more traditional restaurants, on the other hand, often seem very down-to-earth, but serve everything you would expect from a contemporary food scene. And don’t worry about portion size: You won’t be disappointed.

Out-of-towners seeking the authentic Ruhr experience might like to try classic currywurst with fries. From local chip-shop to silver spoon, served on a paper plate or wrapped in gold for the ultimate gourmet luxury. For even more opulence the fries come drizzled with truffle sauce - delicious!

Throughout the year, various food festivals attract visitors to the city. The culinary calendar is well filled with events such as the Pfefferpotthastfest, various street food festivals (also vegan!) or the fine GourmeDO, where first-class chefs offer their creations.

Cafés in Dortmund: baristas and home-baked cakes

Okay, so Dortmund isn’t quite Vienna. Don’t expect a coffee house culture of the kind you might find in the likes of Vienna, Budapest or Prague. Nonetheless, we’re still pretty good at coffee. There are several small local roasting houses, for example, that serve up their own blends to grateful coffee lovers.

One of the city’s most fashionable districts has also seen a wealth of cafés springing up over the last few years. Offering up home-baked cakes and freshly brewed coffee, they tend to be small and cosy, so you may have to wait for a table.

Football pubs abound in Dortmund

Many people enjoying Outdoor catering on Alter Markt square on a BVB-Matchday.
© DORTMUNDtourismus Outdoor catering on Alter Markt square on a BVB-Matchday.

Pubs seem to be disappearing everywhere, and sadly Dortmund is no exception. Here, the secret to survival is Borussia. Although it’s not just pubs that proudly support our team: Even some of the smarter restaurants that otherwise cultivate a quiet and cosy atmosphere drop their inhibitions on match days and welcome the fans.

This applies to most pubs and a few restaurants in the suburbs, but around Alter Markt it is less the exception than the rule. On Borussia match days, the market square is transformed into an unofficial public screening venue. All of its bars and restaurants have at least one TV, if not a projectorscreen, to show virtually every match featuring the Black and Yellows.

Dortmund’s nightlife: clubs and bars

Dortmunder U in the dusk. The big U on top is illuminated and the sky is coloured violet.
© DORTMUNDtourismus The night starts over Dortmunder U.

Clubbingin Dortmund? No problem. Situated right at the very top of the Dortmunder Utower and one of the city’s hippest clubs, the View entertains its guests in exclusive surroundings.

Creatures of the night will not be disappointed with the wealth of discos and clubs to explorein and around the city centre. Dortmund might seem a quiet place by day, but don’t be fooled. Ear-to- the-ground clubbers from the other Ruhr cities and even further afield flock to Dortmund in pursuit of parties.

If cocktails are more your thing, Dortmund has plenty to offer. Some of the city’s hotels have excellent bars where skilled barkeepers will whip up a mean cocktail for you, or treat yourself at a stylish cocktail bar.

After the club: take the bus to your hotel

If you’re out on the town in Dortmund at the weekend, don’t worry too much about getting home.

Even if your hotel isn’t right in the city centre, there will usually be a Nachtexpress bus to take you back to your lodgings. Various bus routes depart in all directions from the city centre to the suburbs and even some smaller nearby towns, taking revelers home while everyone else is sleeping.