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Deutsch sells

Elizabeth Grenier, Julian TompkinFebruary 3, 2015

Shops and restaurants from Seoul to San Francisco are luring customers with German-sounding names. But are they really German? Here are some of our favorite locations around the world.

Restaurant Zum Schneider in New York. Copyright: Jonathan McPhail Photography
Image: Jonathan McPhail Photography

1. Zum Schneider, New York, US

Zummeans "to" or "at" and a Schneider is actually a tailor. But it can also be a family name, as is the case for the German owner of this restaurant, Sylvester Schneider. After 10 years in the US, his homesickness inspired him to open a Bavarian-style Biergarten.

Then he found out there are no gardens in New York. So he decided to create an indoor one with fake trees. As a musician, he makes sure Oompah resounds in the house all year round. Very Bavarian is also the stuffed Wolpertinger behind the bar - a mythical animal with the head of a rabbit, wings and antlers.

"It was caught by my father," claims Schneider. Of course it was.

2. Katzenjammers, London, UK

Germans love to purr their pain after overdoing it with alcohol. If you hear a German say "Ich habe einen Kater," it could mean he is the owner of a tomcat, but in most cases he's just hung over.

Felines also come into play for general complaining, whether it has to do with a Kater(hangover) or not. The poetic expression Katzenjammer - literally a "cat's wail" - is used to show how miserable someone feels. The extensive selection of beers, live brass music and waitresses in authentic Bavarian costumes in this London pub might make you forget your misery - even if the cat decides to purr again the following day.

Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Copyright: picture alliance
Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky was a passionate gamblerImage: picture alliance

3. Der Spieler, St. Petersburg, Russia

The German title of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's short novel "The Gambler" is also the name of this Russian pub and restaurant, which is said to be the actual location of the author's favorite drinking den. Like the main character in the book, Dostoyevsky was addicted to roulette. He wrote the novella in a hurry in order to pay off some of the debts he had accumulated in German casinos.

The owners of Der Spieler claim that the antique automatic organ they own was brought back by the novelist himself from one of his trips to the gambling resorts of Germany. Don't bet on it, though.

4. Ach so Baeckerei & Konditorei, Seoul, Korea

Japanese people learning German will very quickly adopt the expression "Ach so!" because they have a similar sounding expression in their own language, which means nearly the same thing: "I see!" Heo Sang-hoi is not Japanese, but he found the expression just as delightful as the bread he tasted when he came to study in Germany. So much, in fact, that he went from studying architecture to learning everything about his host country's Brötchen, Brezeln and dark, whole grain bread.

Then he went back home to South Korea to spread the joy with his bakery, which opened in 2002.

5. Pumpernickel, Kathmandu, Nepal

So-called "German bakeries" can be found everywhere in Nepal, attracting herds of backpackers addicted to caffeine. In this coffee shop in Kathmandu, you can expect to find international breakfast staples, pastries and hot beverages, along with local yak-cheese rolls.

Pumpernickel bread, Copyright: Fotolia/Brad Pict
Is it the real thing or just an imitation?Image: Fotolia/Brad Pict

Real German rye pumpernickel bread, however, is not on the menu. This traditional bread requires a long and slow baking process, whereas the North American versions of it often add color and flavor to their loaves - for instance, molasses, coffee and cocoa powder - along with wheat flour to help it rise more quickly. Not quite the same.

6. Berlin, Melbourne, Australia

Australia's southeastern city of Melbourne is perennially compared with the effortless cool of Berlin. The two cities share a similar population size, dreary winters, and a famously hedonistic nightlife. So this trendy haunt in Melbourne's central laneway district got straight to the point when choosing a moniker: Berlin.

Berlin doesn't hide its obsession with all things Deutsch - with cocktail names like Lutschbonbon (lozenge), Angela Merkel, Das Berghain (Berlin's famous club), Checkpoint Charlie and Mein Gott (My God).

And the bites? What else but the notorious Berlin street snack, the currywurst, washed down with your choice of German brew. Prost!

Deutscher Hof in ERbil, Iraq. Copyright: DW/Doris Bulau
The Brandenburg Gate welcomes you at the entrance of the Deutscher HofImage: Doris Bulau

7. Deutscher Hof, Erbil, Iraq

The German owner of this restaurant, Gunter Völker, specializes in operating eateries in crisis regions. He opened his first Deutscher Hof - which translates to "German yard"- in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2003, but had to close it four years later when it became too dangerous to live there.

In comparison, the capital of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region in Iraq is actually quiet and profits from the oil boom. A picture of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate greets customers at the entrance - most of them expatriates willing to pay extra for a cold beer and a bratwurst with sauerkraut. A small version of the United Nations can be found on the employees' side of the business too, where Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics, Yazidis and Protestants work together.

8. BurgerMeister, San Francisco, US

So you're cruising the San Francisco Bay Area on your long board and are suddenly famished. What comes to mind? BurgerMeister of course.

America may have superficial claims over the hamburger, but the truth is in the name - this legendary dish goes way, way back to German roots (with a little help from Genghis Khan and his hungry Mongol posse, as the legend goes). This San Fran institution is a play on the German word for mayor, Bürgermeister- lending some German reliability and authority to the art of flipping patties.

And just to top it all off (literally) they offer sauerkraut on the menu.

9. Uber, ubiquitous

It was already one of the most over-used German words in the international lexicon. But now Uber (sans umlaut) has become omnipresent, thanks to Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp's appropriation of the word for their start-up. While based in California, Uber operates all over - and when it's not busy fighting court cases, it delivers people from A to B.

Roughly translating as "extreme" or "beyond," über was at one time famously coupled with that other notorious German word, Mensch to create Übermensch- Friedrich Nietzsche's label for a "super human." One might suspect that Übermensch is not a word the world's taxi drivers are likely to use when referring to Mr Kalanick or Mr Camp.

Haribo gummy bears Copyright: Jens Büttner dpa/lmv
Haribo gummy bears from Bonn are world famousImage: picture alliance/dpa

10. Gummi Boutique, Calgary, Canada

Inspired by the dancing bears which were traditionally used in Europe for street entertainment, a Bonn confectioner, Hans Riegel, created the Haribo gummy bear company in 1922. His popular Gummibär has become an international synonym for happiness - so it's a no-brainer why Calgary confectionary gurus picked the name Gummi Boutique for their candy store.

Germans might think about it twice, though: Gummi is one of the words they use for condoms, too. The Canadian entrepreneurs missed the pun. While the shop sells all kinds of exotic sugar-based nibbles, pop-culture toys and kooky novelty items, they have yet to develop their sex toy section.

Do you know a shop or restaurant with a German-sounding name in your area? Tell us about it! Send us an email at: feedback.english@dw.de.