Tel: 49 89 160 909 002 24
Munich star DJ Nikias Hofmann founded this black-and-red marble nightclub in the former home of Aubergine, Munich's much-missed three-star restaurant on the edge of the historical center. The club is oddly intimate, especially compared to the granddaddy of Eurotrash nightlife, the sprawling P1. A younger crowd than in many local nightspots dances here to electro and house music. There are three bars, but one lounge is easygoing and quiet enough to converse in, while the main floor features young heirs and heiresses dancing the night away.
Tel: 49 89 452 288 0
Home to towering blondes and ascot-wearing slicksters, Brenner is a perfect distillation of the Munich nightlife ethos. Located in a courtyard off Maximilianstrasse, the town's main drag for shops and bars, this cavernous, pillared space features low-slung beige leather banquettes under an arched ceiling (it also fronts the Brenner Grill). The clientele is decidedly upscale, which in Munich tends to mean a great age disparity between gentlemen and their consorts. Drinks start at $11—the long menu features a half-page of Champagne cocktails, the signature retro-hip drink of Germany. DJs spin on Saturday nights only.
Tel: 49 89 211 114 0
Billing itself as "Munich's Noble Disco," this venue feels like a northern outpost of St-Tropez, with all its excess, cheesiness, and decadence packed into one club. Located in the desirable residential neighborhood of Lehel, it opened in 1949 as a bar for U.S. Army officers, and evolved into a fantastically expensive, notoriously tough-to-get-into celebrity hangout. That said, the club is rumored to have passed its peak and the door policy can be lax on off-nights (try Thursday). The decor, by star designer Matteo Thun, is largely out of sight, but the lighting is spectacular, a constantly shifting palette of flattering shades that encourages patrons to check each other out. That's a good thing, because the sprawling venue can feel depersonalized, a parade of beautiful party people who could be dancing the night away in a dozen other equivalent nightclubs in Europe. But for the glamour-hungry, this is the obligatory spot (just ask Tom, Diddy, or Mick, just a few on the long list of illustrious visitors).
Tel: 49 89 229 060
Barman Charles Schumann is a constant presence in German society pages, in addition to working as an ad pitchman. His bar in Munich is the institution that launched him, after having served for years at the local high-toned watering hole. The bar itself has recently relocated from Maximilianstrasse to Odeonsplatz (just north of the historical city center), causing some grumbling among regulars, but remains a chichi joint to see and be seen amid the light wood and white walls. Drinks are expertly mixed by Schumann's hand-picked bartenders (some of whom bolted to start their own bar, Tabacco.
Tel: 49 89 227 216
A great retreat when you've maxed out on glitz. Despite its city center location, Tabacco is one of the few local nightspots on Munich's social map that is restrained and low-key. It was started by renegade bartenders from Schumann's, another local fixture. The sconce lighting and chandeliers make everyone look good, the simple leather chairs and wood tables (as well as an abundance of dark wood paneling) manage to be both elegant and homey, and a general, pleasant sense of permanence pervades the establishment, though it is a relatively recent addition to the Munich scene. The extensive list of mixed drinks doesn't come cheap, but the smart clientele tends to be more discreet than its nightclubbing compatriots elsewhere in the city.