Cradled in a valley of five hundred vineyards – some of which spill right into the city – Stuttgart naturally enjoys its wine. Local vintners produce a number of whites, including an elegant Riesling, as well as the popular, full-bodied red Trollinger. Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of Stuttgart’s wines though: wine consumption here is twice the national average so local supplies only just meet the demand and few wines leave the valley. So, while Frankfurt has its cider taverns and Munich its beer halls, Stuttgart’s unique drinking dens are its Weinstuben or wine bars – a few of which are listed here. These tend to open evenings only, rarely on a Sunday, and are usually unpretentious rustic places. All serve solid and inexpensive Swabian dishes, which invariably include doughy Spätzle (noodles) and Maultaschen, the local oversized ravioli. More homey still are Besenwirtschaften, temporary wine-bars that appear in the front rooms of people’s houses to serve the season’s vintage with home-cooking, including potato soup (Kartoffelsuppe), noodle and beef stew (Gaisburger Marsch), or a Schlachtplatte, a meat feast served with vegetables. These places traditionally announce themselves with a broom hung outside and their locations vary from year to year. They’re all listed in the guide Stuttgarter Weine from the tourist office, which is also a good place to pick up information on the Stuttgarter Weinwanderweg (stuttgarter-weinwanderweg.de), the hiking routes that circle through local vineyards and past many Besenwirtschaften.
Stuttgart’s other great wine-initiative is the Stuttgarter Weindorf, when during the last weekend in August the Marktplatz and Schillerplatz fill with wine buffs sampling hundreds of regional tipples. The year’s vintages are on sale, and it’s a great chance to pick up rarer wines. A similar event is the Fellbacher Herbst on the second weekend in October, in Fellback, just east of Bad Cannstatt.
Kachelofen Eberhardstr. 10, 0711 24 23 78. A bastion of beams and lacy tablecloths among the hip bars of Hans-im-Gluck south of Marktplatz. It’s the Weinstube favoured by Stuttgart’s smarter set and serves hearty regional food as four-course set meals (€32–42). Mon–Thurs noon–midnight, Fri & Sat noon–1am.
Klösterle Marktstr. 71, Bad Cannstatt, 0711 56 89 62. Swabian specials, including delicious sausage salad and good Maultaschen (mains €10–20), in the rustic interior of a wonky half-timbered building from 1463, which looks like an incongruous film-set among the modern flats. Mon–Fri 5pm–midnight, Sat & Sun 11.30am–midnight.
Schnellenturm Weberstr. 72, 0711 236 48 88. Schwäbischer Sauerbraten comes in a rich sauce in Duke Christopher’s 1564 defence tower transformed into a cosy half-timbered nest. Quality and prices are a little above the average Weinstube fare – mains average about €15. Mon–Sat 5pm–midnight.
Stetter Rosenstr. 32, 0711 24 01 63. Wine connoisseurs’ heaven – at the last count, over 575 wines, nearly 200 regional, were on the list of this Bohnenviertel Weinstube. There’s no snobbery at this family-run place though, just locals exchanging news and tucking into spicy bean soup or rich beef goulash. The lentil soup with sausages (€6) is outstanding. Mon–Fri 3–11pm, Sat 11am–3pm.