Until last week, I had absolutely no idea there was anything inside Isartor. But the gothic city gate is home to a museum, celebrating the early 20th century Bavarian comedians Karl Valentin and Liesl Karlstadt. And at the very top of the gate, you can find an adorably wacky cafe, the Turmstüberl.
Entrance to the museum (and thus the cafe) costs just 3 € (2.99 € to be precise, and opening times are just as precise: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 11:01am-5:29pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11:01am-5:59pm and Sundays 10.01am-5:59pm. Oh, and if you’re under 6 or over 99, you get in for free, so long as you have your parents with you).
After buying your tickets, you head up the winding staircase – either to the museum or to the cafe. With two of our party being pregnant, we obviously headed straight to the third floor to have a bite to eat. The menu’s simple – essentially, you can just eat sausage or cake, so I ordered Weißwurst followed by a chocolate cake. Dozens of artefacts hang from the ceiling, and the walls are filled with photos of Munich celebrities from the era. When you open the cafe door, a bat drops down from the ceiling to greet you.
Thereafter, we headed to the museum, to find out more about Valentin and Karlstadt.
Karl Valentin and his comedic partner Liesl Karlstadt were two of Bavaria’s biggest stars, and were hugely influential in the Weimar Republic. I feel somewhat embarrassed that I didn’t really know anything about them (except their names) until I paid a visit to the musuem. Valentin was known as the Charlie Chaplin of Germany, starring in dozens of silent movies in 1920s Germany, and alongside Liesl Karlstadt, he appeared in Brecht’s Mysteries of a Barbershop, which has since been labelled as one of Germany’s 100 most important movies of all time.
From the first floor, you can head across to the other tower, where temporary exhibitions are held. When we went, there was a photography exhibition detailing the extent of the damage to the city in WWII – I am amazed that buildings such as the opera house were so badly damaged and have been restored so beautifully. This (small) exhibition is on until December 8.
If you fancy visiting a quieter museum in the city, the Valentin Karlstadt Musäum is definitely worth a visit – particularly because the cafe’s so cute. It’s been included in the book 111 things to do in Munich, and it’s definitely reached cult status. Find out more on the website.