Monday 20th January 2014
The interior of this pub-brewery is the most beautiful in the city; a fact that actually comes as a surprise when you view the rather austere and workmanlike exterior. Of course, this is a post-war construction following destruction by bombing. The original building was very old, being first mentioned in 1658 when it was a boarding house and tavern under the name of "zum Heydelberger Fass" (at the Heidelberg barrel).
It was operated by the Pfeilstricker family until 1783 after which it had several owners. By the early 1800s it was known as the "Berliner Hof". It was known to have a brewery during this period. After a big reconstruction between 1837 and 1838 it was called the "Bergische Hof".
In 1862 it was sold to Wilhelm Cürten and he is the first link to the present name of the brewery. He was a gruff person and was referred to as "ürige" i.e. rustic or earthy. He died in 1886 and his son Max, took over.
It is not known exactly when the nickname became the actual title of the pub. Max Cürten didn't last long, as he passed away in 1902 aged 41. His widow then employed a brewer, Jean Keller who, in 1907 leased the pub and in 1912 bought it outright. He died in 1934 and his widow leased the brewery to Jacob Lotz. From 1937 it was owned by Rudolf Arnold and he continued for the next forty years.
The pub was destroyed by a bomb in 1943 yet the brewery at the rear stayed in production as it was not hit. This situation was not to last as a bomb eventually found it during 1944. Returning from army service in 1945 Rudolf Arnold set about rebuilding his pub and brewery. It re-opened its doors in 1949 and then there has been a policy of continuous improvements since then.
Zum Uerige is a wonderful collection of interconnecting and separate rooms, all decorated in a wonderfully traditional manner. Apart from the original drinking areas the first two rooms, the "Handwerkstübchen" and Newaan" were opened in 1951. The very large "Brauhaus" room was opened in 1974.
All of the older side rooms and the main eating and drinking areas have beautiful wall paintings depicting the city. And they also have varnished wood panelling up to head height; you would have thought they had been decorated centuries ago.
During the early 1960s Herr Arnold banned the sale of schnapps as he thought that its consumption in the pub was reducing the amount of beer being sold.
Rudolf Arnold died in 1976 but he had already appointed successors; Christa and Josef Schnitzer who came from the owning family of the Schumacher brewery. Their son Michael, an engineer, took over the reins in 1999.
The improvements continued, initially in the brewery itself but then, in 2008 another new room opened. This is the "Sticke" and an innovation here, as a distillery was installed within it. This is the only room that is decorated in a modern style and is often used for private hire, although there is still a wooden barrel on the bar. Remarkably the schnapps ban has continued, except in this room. They make two: Sticke and StickePlus.
Even though it was a Monday night all of the rooms were very busy so I settled alongside an upturned barrel doubling as a table. I would have liked to have been close to the oak barrel dispensing the beer. I have to say that this was not the best time to visit. I much prefer the mornings and mid afternoon when the sun streams through the stained glass windows. This is such an exceptional pub that I will return soon at a quieter time and do it justice in a photographic sense. There were just too many customers when I visited.
It is totally recommended for any visitor to Düsseldorf and of course, there is a full food menu including many local specialities.
Zum Uerige, Bergstrasse 1, Düsseldorf 40213. Tel: 0211 866990
Open: Monday-Sunday 10.00-24.00
Zum Uerige is around five minutes walk from the Heirich-Heine-Allee station and tram stop.
This is served by trams 703, 706, 712, 713 and 715.
U-Bahn lines are U70, U74, U75, U76, U77, U78 and U79.