Some days it is teeming with dinosaurs. Finally escaping the museum shop, they hop, directed by children's hands, over tables and benches, crawl along the wall panels, fly through the air. At some point they sit next to a "Dino volcano plate" and watch their little masters eat. Dinos can also be found at the Senckenberg Bistro in Frankfurt on the wood panelling of the counter and on large-format historical photographs below the gallery. The space between the windows has been conquered by fossil skeletons. They come from a horse and a crocodile from the Messel Pit and are 48 million years old – young jumpers compared to the dinosaurs. In the Senckenberg Bistro, every detail seems to reflect a piece of nature: the warm wood tones of the furniture as well as the ceiling lamp reminiscent of a crescent moon, the vegetable ornaments of the dishes as well as the foot of a floor lamp, which winds like a dried snake skin.
The room was designed "after consultation with the management" of the neighboring Senckenberg Museum, explains a spokeswoman. In summer, guests can also sit outdoors: on the south arcade, which connects the museum with the observatory. From here, the view sweeps over the Westend to the skyscrapers on Opernplatz. This bistro occupies an unmistakable place in the mosaic of Frankfurt's museum cafés. However, the term "museum café" does not only seem antiquated here. After all, the places where museum visitors can meet, rest and strengthen themselves or deepen what they have seen have been expanded and upgraded in most of the houses in recent years. The colour spectrum of the mosaic is more colourful than ever before. "Museum cafés," says Christina Reinsch, managing director of the Kassel-based Hessian Museum Association, "are as individual as the houses themselves. There are no rules."
Central meeting places with feel-good character
Some of these institutions lead a life of their own, even if they bear the respective museum or a reference to it in their name – such as the Schirn Café in its glass rotunda, Holbein's in the Städel with an upstream staircase, the Emma Metzler in the Museum Angewandte Kunst with a view of the park, the Café Utopia with comfortable velvet furniture next to the Romantic Museum or the Café Opitz at the Goethehaus. Others are integrated into "their" museum – such as the gold and black studio in the foyer of the Film Museum (DFF) with its mirrored wall and huge screen. Like its immediate neighbours – the Architekturmuseum (Architekturmuseum) and the Museum für Kommunikation (MfK), which are currently undergoing renovation, the DFF is part of the multifaceted landscape of Frankfurt's Museumsufer. Designed in 1978 by Hilmar Hoffmann (SPD), then head of the cultural department, together with Lord Mayor Walter Wallmann (CDU), many museums on the Main were expanded in the following years, others newly built.
As one of the last houses, the MfK designed by Günter Behnisch opened in 1990, together with a small gastronomic offer under the large glass cone on the ground floor. "In the beginning," recalls director Helmut Gold, "the café was only open on weekends and limited to cakes and coffee." Today, on the other hand, the counter is always occupied during museum operations. "Communication quality has always been a priority for us," says Gold. "In addition to the atrium, the café is the central meeting place in the building." In summer, this place can be enlarged even further: around a terrace with a view of the Main between the Behnisch building and the Wilhelminian villa adjoining to the east.
Thus, the revaluation of the museum café institution also creates new urban spaces – this applies to the terraces of the Senckenberg Bistro and the MfK as well as perhaps soon to the square in front of the entrance to the Jewish Museum. Janka Krauzpaul-Hoch from the new management team of the museum café Flowdeli, which was renamed Life Deli in mid-January, would like to revive this area – through gastronomy or gastronomic accompaniment of events. However, due to the necessary safety precautions, extensive logistics still have to be developed. Regardless, Life Deli is a unique meeting place for fans of kosher and vegan cuisine.
Noise level doesn't seem to bother anyone
Access to the Life Deli is possible without a museum ticket – as is a visit to flour water salt in a piece of cake, as the Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK) is often called because of its floor plan. With its acute-angled shape, the café located on the south side of the house fits congenially with the MMK. "Everything organic, everything regional and made here in the house according to old craftsmanship," says service manager Chris Stellmacher not without pride. At the weekend, the queue of those waiting for a free seat sometimes stretches all the way to the street. The noise level in the middle of glazed walls is quite high, but that doesn't seem to bother anyone.
In the Historical Museum, too, you can sit in elongated, anything but quiet rooms – both in Café Frankfurt with a view of the foundation walls of the Saalhof and in Café Fahrtor with its red walls.
If you are looking for inner recollection, the Café im Liebieghaus is the right place for you. The reading lamps on the walls, the daily newspapers, the wooden coat rack, the wicker chairs leave no doubt: a piece of old coffee house culture is still alive here.
The historicizing rooms with their columns, vaulted ceilings, fireplace, library and parquet or tiled floors provide additional atmosphere. In summer, you can sit with freshly baked cakes under the open sky – with a view of mighty old trees, under which ancient goddesses such as Ariadne and Athena meet.