While Giesing used to be a distinctly working-class area, these days there is an ever-growing number of students and families moving into the city district. Fortunately, Giesing has managed to retain its traditional charm, and the district is even still home to numerous old craftsmen’s cottages and rustic breweries. Popular singing star Patrick Lindner shows us all the best spots on a walk through the district.
The heartbeat of Giesing is at the corner where Grünwalder Strasse and Tegernseer Landstrasse meet – that’s where you'll find the Grünwalder football stadium, home to Munich’s TSV 1860 team. Built in 1911, this hulk of grey concrete can accommodate 15,000 spectators, most of whom will definitely get wet if it rains.
It’s more of an amateur soccer field than a football arena really, but for Giesing locals it is revered like a holy place. To them it is a memory of the golden days in the 1960s, when the Löwen (Lions), as the club is also known, were at the top of their game and became German national champions. Such was their popularity back then that after all match-day tickets had been sold, people would perch on the rooftops of the adjacent houses to watch their team play.
“My father took me into the stadium with him for the first time when I was just a lad. It was so exciting!” Patrick Lindner tells us as he looks at its venerated walls. The club plays in the third division today, but Lindner still enjoys watching their matches. The singer lives just across the road from the stadium and has a direct view of the pitch from his balcony. “We have two massive banners that hang down the wall of the house on match days. When the team bus comes around the corner, the players see them and know: Ah, Lindner’s watching,” he says, laughing.
Single-storey houses with low ceilings and tiny apartments above craft workshops, with narrow lanes winding in between them. “This is the only place in Munich you can still find buildings like that,” says Lindner.
He has been living here with his husband for three years. He grew up in Sendling and has since lived in Schwabing, Grünwald and again in Obersendling. “I would never have imagined ending up living in Giesing, but I’ve fallen in love with this part of the city. Giesing has a cult appeal for me because people here make sure that traditional buildings are preserved.”
For example there’s the Feldmüllersiedlung neighbourhood, 800 metres from the stadium, where original craftsmen's cottages from the 19th century are still standing – single-storey houses with low ceilings and tiny apartments above craft workshops, with narrow lanes winding in between them. “This is the only place in Munich you can still find buildings like that,” says Lindner. “Many years ago, I shot ‘Pumuckl and his circus adventure' there. Whenever there was a break in filming, Erni Singerl and I would sit in the living room of one of the cottages and wait until we were needed on set again. That was really special.”
The Giesinger Bräu traditional Bavarian restaurant is a 10-minute walk from the craftsmen's cottages. A young man walks towards us carrying a crate of beer. “That’s also typical for Giesing. You can still collect your crate of beer from the brewery here,” says Lindner. Just 15 years ago, the owners were brewing their beer in a garage in a Giesing backyard. That space soon became too small, so they moved to this building on Martin-Luther-Strasse; then they eventually outgrew that site as well.
The main plant is now in Milbertshofen, although speciality beers are still brewed on the upper floor at this address. The ground floor is now a tavern, with rustic wooden bar tables and a small stage at the side – which Patrick Lindner has also performed on. “When I get back from a tour, I come here for a beer and some Schweinsbraten (roast pork) and that means I’m home.” Unfortunately, the kitchen is closed right now. You may not know that before he got his big break as a singer in 1989 (in the Grand Prix der Volksmusik/Grand Prix of Folk Music competition), Patrick Lindner worked as a cook at the Bayerischer Hof hotel for five years – so we believe him when he tells us that the food here is excellent.
If you prefer more ambitious cuisine, Lindner recommends heading to Zehentbauernstrasse, where award-winning chef Florian Berger serves up exquisite gambas and veal tongue in his Restaurant Gabelspiel. It offers a 7-course menu priced at 145 euros, and a back garden where diners can sit outdoors in dry weather. “That's the beauty of Giesing: all the possibilities are open to you. We can sit in the Giesinger, where people come to enjoy a beer and some Schweinsbraten, and head to an award-winning restaurant just a hundred metres away.”
You may not know that before he got his big break as a singer in 1989, Patrick Lindner worked as a cook at the Bayerischer Hof hotel for five years – so we believe him when he tells us that the food here is excellent.
500 metres further on, we suddenly find ourselves on a gravel square about the size of a schoolyard, with a few shade-casting trees dotted around. This is the Grünspitz. There used to be a car dealership on this site. “Today, it is a public square that the residents themselves are able to design. Some have added plants and others have brought seating here. There is also a kiosk, which is a popular meeting point on summer evenings,” says Lindner. Then he points to a yellow telephone box at the edge of the area. “And that’s the time machine.”
Inside the cabin is a small monitor on which a woman can be seen speaking to the camera. “This shows Giesing locals telling stories about their district and what makes this part of the city special,” Lindner tells me. He has not yet been able to watch the video himself, but he has resolved to do it soon.
Tegernseer Landstrasse continues past the Grünspitz to Ostfriedhof cemetery, where Lindner's mother is buried. The road itself is a busy highway which, at first glance, has all the charm of a nuclear power plant. Lindner says otherwise: “There are a lot of small, specialised businesses here that you simply don’t find in other parts of the city any more.” For example, there is the Orkans Markt Turkish vegetable market, Tela bakery, and Giesinger Käse-Alm cheese store. “They have the best speciality cheeses,” Lindner tells us. “If you want some really good cheese, this is the place to come.”
Before we say goodbye, there’s one important question we need an answer: What is the difference between Obergiesing and Untergiesing? Patrick Lindner looks a little perplexed. “Well, I would say that Obergiesing is the real Giesing. That's where all the places are that make this part of the city stand out. But that's just how I would explain it in my inexperience.”
He laughs. The people of Untergiesing will surely forgive him.