Saturday 18th August 2012
This new pub is unique in many ways, not least its very unusual ownership. The story begins in 1889 when a new railway station was built in the market town of Leutkirch.
It was a junction on the Memmingen to Lindau line and the new building was constructed between the main line and the branch so there was equal access to both.
The structure was large, as is common in this part of the world, because the upper floors contained accommodation for the station workers and their families.
It lead an uneventful life for almost a hundred years until 1998 when it was offered for sale as a redundant asset by DB (Deutsche Bahn), the national railway company, as they had replaced it with shelters on the platform and sold tickets from a machine.
This is a familiar situation to be found all over the country. It was purchased by the town's council who formulated a grand plan but with a price tag of Є5,000,000 this was soon dropped.
The building then stood empty for a number of years until a group of concerned citizens devised a plan for its rescue. They formed co-operative and requested financial contributions for planning purposes.
Within a couple of months over Є20,000 had been raised and work started on the building's renovation.
In October 2010 the building was leased from the Council at Є10,000 per annum. The co-operative then sold shares at Є1,000 in the venture and now over 650 citizens are in board, bringing in Є1,111,000.
Internally the old station has been completely rebuilt and has been leased to the Barfüsser chain of brew pubs and restaurants that has a number of outlets in Southern Germany. The rather strange name means a barefoot person and originates from the chain's first pub in Neu-Ulm which is on the site of a monastery where the order of monks went barefoot.
There is a full food menu and a large biergarten has been laid out in the apex where the two railway lines met.
The pub opened in April 2012 and the whole enterprise has attracted much attention from the media and others. In fact, there have been visits by study groups from other communities that have been also offered their railway stations to purchase.
The upper floors have been converted to offices and studios and some were let from early 2012. The Council's contribution was to fund the construction of a new bus station thus creating a true intermodal interchange.
Normally Barfüsser pubs brew a Hell (light) and Dunkel (dark) and, as far as I could see, these were the offerings here. Some of their pubs brew a special seasonal and others a wheat beer, but not here. Previously I've not been a great fan of their beers but here I liked mine a lot. It was the Hell and comes unfiltered and thus cloudy but had good bitterness in body and aftertaste. So, should you be travelling down this way, try to spend a little time in Leutkirch with its two breweries, one old and one new.
Barfüsser, Bahnhof 1, Leutkirch 88299
Open: Sunday to Thursday and Holidays 11.00-24.00; Friday and Saturday 11.00-01.00
Leutkirch station which is served by a two-hourly train service from Ulm and Memmingen to Aulendorf. Connections can be made from these trains to other destinations.