5 Medieval-style ‘Game of Thrones’ Restaurants in Europe
Fan of the show or not, I thought you might enjoy some of my picks for a medieval style feast in Europe…
1. The Medieval Taverns of Prague
Prague is pretty much your go-to European city for medieval-style taverns. The dining room pictured above is literally called Medieval Tavern, located in the heart of the historic Old Town. Some might say it’s a tourist trap but there’s no arguing they’ve done a pretty good job of making the surroundings look like something straight out of a Game of Thrones episode, a banquet thrown by the House of Stark!
Alternatively, there is the Tavern Brabant, complete with skulls hanging from the ceiling and hay on the floor to take you back to the Middle Ages. The food is just as authentic at both venues, with medieval and traditional Czech dishes on offer from pork roasted in bock beer to beef goulash– don’t expect to eat light, this is banquet-style eating.
2. Albergo Diffuso, Italy
You might recall we’ve looked at an Italian hotel built inside abandoned medieval grottos, with its beautifully but simply decorated rooms carved into limestone rock. Over in the next village, the same owners have created another hotel, this time with a restaurant serving local specialties, using ingredients of the region such as spelt, lentils, saffron, dill, parsnip from ancient and medieval mediterranean cultivations that still grow here in their original form.
The Albergo Diffuso in S. Stefano di Sessanio also creates a unique setting for special events such as weddings and parties. There is also a tea lounge for quiet after dinner gatherings. “The signs of past dwelling lifestyle are still visible on the stone floors and recuperated terracotta pavements; the traces of time are still tangible in the sedimentary traces on the thick stone walls; even the blankets are woven on ancient looms”. Even the reception of the hotel used to be where the medieval dwellers raised their pigs. Explore the Albergo Diffusohotel.
To book phone +39 0862 899112
3. Gordon’s Wine Bar in London
Okay, so this one is not exactly medieval but it is the oldest wine bar you will find in London, and hey– it has the dripping candles and the spooky dark cave rooms, what more do you need for a Game of Thrones vibe? The building itself is as old as the 1680s, but the didn’t become a wine bar until the 1860s. Rudyard Kipling lived upstairs in the 1890s as a tenant and famously wrote “the light that failed in the parlour above the bar” (the building is now named Kipling House).
Gordon’s, popular with Londoners in-the-know obviously has an extensive wine list and serves traditional “grub” from homemade pies to wonderfully mature cheeses. I also recommend trying the cheekily-named “fat bastard” wine. It comes from France and was created by a pair of guys called Thierry and Guy. “The name arose from the expression that first came out of Thierry’s mouth to describe one of the first wines they created by leaving the wine on the lees – “now zat iz what you call eh phet bast-ard”!”
And when you need a little fresh air from the dimly-lit cellars, Gordon’s also has a very pleasant outdoor terrace at the back.
Gordon’s Bar: 47 Villiers Street, Embankment Tube. Website.
4. Le Coup Chou in Paris
For something a little fancier, perhaps a little more suited to the Lannister budget, Le Coupe-Chou is a labyrinthe of beamed ceilings, candlelit rooms & fireplaces situated in a 17th century building hidden away down an alley in the Latin Quarter. The food is 100% old school French, so you can expect your snails, your boeuf bourguignon and Magret de Canard, all to be enjoyed alongside a selection from the medieval wine cave.
Fun fact, Marlene Dietrich used to be a regular customer here.
Le Coupe Chou: 11 Rue de Lanneau, 75005 Paris (01 46 33 68 69).
5. Drac Restaurant at the Castell d’Emporda, Spain
I couldn’t very well do a post on medieval style ‘Game of Thrones’ restaurants without including a castle on here. A remodelled medieval castle with contemporary flair and divine terraces in Catalonia, the Castell d’Emporda was left untouched for 80 years until the Dutch owners snapped it up and worked their magic to transform it into and boutique hotel and restaurant. With superb wines from the Empordà region, the food at the hotel’s well-known Drac restaurant is top-notch. Expect simple tapas, elaborate starters and rich mains.
This place is so ‘Game of Thrones’ it even has miniature models of the siege of Castell d’Emporda in medieval times!
Image courtesy of Velvet Escape
Explore Castell d’Empordà here.
A pirate, an elf and a Viking walk into a bar.
No joke. That’s just a typical Saturday night at Wyrd Leather and Mead, which has opened a new medieval fantasy-themed tavern in Southeast Portland.
At Wyrd Hall, visitors can dine on Nordic-inspired stews, purchase drinking horns or handmade leather goods, and try Wyrd’s selection of meads made onsite with locally sourced honey.
Cosplay garb is encouraged but not required.
The place is something of a childhood dream for co-owners Travis Sigler and Tayler Toll, who have been best friends since middle school. They’ve also brought on a third business partner, Doug Wingate, who co-founded Mac Mead Hall in McMinnville.
“I grew up in high school reading medieval fantasy, Tolkien, and wishing that I could go to somewhere like that,” Sigler said. “I’ve been to New Zealand. I’ve been to all the ‘Lord of the Rings’ filming sites, and they’re amazing. But if you’re in Portland and you can’t get to Middle-earth, coming down out of the real world, walking into our door takes you into a whole other realm.”
The tavern is only the latest project of Wyrd Leather and Mead, a company that started in 2017 by selling leather goods and bottled mead in Milwaukie. Sigler, the leather worker, specializes in custom armor pieces for fantasy and medieval cosplay.
The business takes its name from the Web of Wyrd – pronounced “weird” – in Norse mythology. The web represents time, destiny and the interconnectedness of the past, present and future.
“So past – growing up with medieval fantasy, mead and friendship,” Sigler said. “In the present, we’re trying to create something that we hadn’t really done before, something that’s unique to Portland, and this is our future.”
Last fall, Wyrd was looking for a larger location to make its mead – a process that requires large vats and months of cool storage. Mead is not quite a wine, though Oregon regulates it like one. It’s made by fermenting honey and water rather than grapes and is considered the oldest alcoholic beverage developed by humans. Mead can range from sweet like a fruity wine to dry like a cider, and it can be infused with any number of fruits or herbs.
At first, Sigler and Toll were looking only at the commissary kitchen in the space that had been home to the colonial-themed Ye Olde Towne Crier restaurant for more than 40 years. But when they toured the building, they also asked to see the basement, which hadn’t been listed for lease.
In the stone fireplace, wood-paneled walls and log-lined bar of the restaurant’s basement, they saw potential. With just a few changes, it was the perfect space for a medieval tavern.
On a recent Saturday night, Sveinn Kjartansson sat in the corner of Wyrd Hall, drawing runes and sipping from his handmade drinking horn. Wyrd sells a number of products from local artisans, including Kjartansson’s drinking vessels made from cow and buffalo horns.
“I just like drinking from something that’s considered mine,” Kjartansson said. “It’s kind of like having your own personal mug.”
Dave Goodman, in full hobbit attire, posed in front of the fireplace with a long-stemmed churchwarden pipe, which he had retrofitted into a vape pen.
“This place is just amazing,” he said. “I love the look of it, the sound of it. It feels like I’m someplace else and someone else.”
Two men at a table played a trading card game. One couple played hnefatafl, a board game sometimes called Viking chess. A pair of pirates found a spot near the fire to sip their mead.
“You hear the cha-clink, cha-clink, cha-clink of chain mail,” Sigler said. “I love the ambiance.”
Weekdays, Wyrd Leather and Mead is open for retail sales of artisan goods and bottles of mead. During hall nights Friday through Sunday, you can sample Wyrd’s meads, along with other local meaderies’ wares, by the glass or by the flight. One popular choice is “Cast the Runes,” in which you allow the barkeep to pick your tasting flight.
Wyrd also offers a variety of non-alcoholic drinks and beers, and minors are welcome until 8 p.m.
The food menu is full of soups, stews and hearty charcuteries – boards of meat and cheese – the sort of fuel one might be looking for after returning from an epic quest.
While we remain in the “great plague,” as it’s referred to in the hall, seating is limited to four people per table. Plans to host organized Dungeons & Dragons game nights are on hold but likely to start soon. The hall does have above ground, outdoor patio seating, and offers all its food and drinks to go.
Whether you’re a cosplayer, a D&D lover, a fantasy novel fan, or just someone looking to try mead for the first time, Wyrd welcomes all in its hall.
“We’re Wyrd, and Portland is weird, so I think it’s going to be a pretty good place for anyone who falls into any of those categories,” Sigler said.
If you go:
Wyrd Leather and Mead is at 4515 S.E. 41st Ave. in Portland. Wyrd Hall is open for food and drinks from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The retail shop, selling leather goods, bottled mead and other crafts, is open noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday. Find more info at wyrdleatherandmead.com.
-- Samantha Swindler, [email protected], @editorswindler
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The weekend, dear friends, is nearly upon us. And in the interest of this, our collective magical weekly interlude of free time, we here at Geek & Sundry would like to share with you a few of our favorite watering holes. More than simply a place to start drinking at 7am, each of these fantastic establishments serve up equal parts awesomeness and inebriation.
I’m gonna take a whack at ranking these fifteen (or so) wonderfully geek-centric holes in the wall, but since each of us beautiful and unique snowflakes differs on what makes a bar both awesome and geeky, feel free to utterly destroy my self worth in the comments. The joke’s on you anyway. I’ll just end up drinking more, which means I’ll get to spend some extra time in these fine establishments and has no other ill side-effects, mom.
#15 (tie) The warring Lovecrafts.
These two completely unrelated bars are located in Portland, Oregon and NYC. Portland plays home to the original, creepier dance bar, while the New York version is more of a steampunk affair with themed cocktails.
#14 The Croft Institute.
Hidden down an alley in Melbourne’s Chinatown district, this bar claims to be themed after a science lab. It isn’t. That’s a lie. This place is an insane asylum where drinks are served in syringes and (reportedly) sponges.
The locals at this particular Tokyo saloon are the classic kaiju who were once tasked with defeating Ultraman. Sadly for them, that hardly ever happened. Hence the drinking.
#12 Tavern Brabant.
Nestled in the heart of Prague, this medieval tavern includes its own catacomb and comes complete with a medieval entertainment. If you’re into medieval fantasy, it doesn’t get a lot better than this.
#11 The Sherlock Holmes.
Many a pub around the world draws connection with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous sleuth, but the one located at 10 Northumberland St in London takes the cake. Not only is this the oldest Holmes-themed bar out there, it also houses a massive collection of Sherlockian memorabilia.
#10 Safe House.
There is absolutely no secret entrance to any sort of establishment at the office of International Exports, Ltd. in Milwaukee, WI. You would be most assuredly not find secret agents there. This entry will now self-destruct… unless somebody goofed.
#9 Storm Crow Tavern.
Vancouver’s self-avowed sports bar for nerds plays home to all manner of geeky fun, from memorabilia to TableTop games and even an awesome shot list tied to a 20-sided die.
Smoke monsters, massive unsolved mysteries, a crashed airplane, this Barcelona bar has it all. It’s also got a massively thematic menu and plenty of geeky events.
#7 H. R. Giger bars.
These sister bars, both located in Switzerland, are just dripping with Giger’s signature creepy-cool vibe. We’re not sure relaxation is exactly on the menu, but Alien-esque nostalgia? They’ve got that in spades.
#6 Donnie Dirk’s Zombie Den.
If the zombie apocalypse happened today, and if Shaun of the Dead was actually the owner of The Winchester, chances are the result would be very much like this wondrous Minneapolis, MN watering hole.
#5 AFK Tavern.
Located in Everett, WA, this one-of-a-kind geek mecca just might be the most inviting entry on the entire list. Describing itself as “first and foremost a community center for nerds, gamers, geeks, and internet socialites,” the AFK Tavern goes above and beyond to make everybody feel welcome.
#4 The Way Station.
Brooklyn’s own Doctor Who bar plays home to its own TARDIS bathroom, the walls of which are signed by both Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. Geek Karaoke is a weekly staple, as are many a show screening. Time is a little wibbly-wobbly here, so don’t be surprised if they don’t stick strictly to their schedule.
#3 Dernier Bar Avant La Fin Du Monde.
The largest of our geek-of-all-trades bars, Dernier Bar caters to practically every geeky sub-genre you can imagine. Add to that its multiple bar tops and this Paris bar is one not to miss.
There’s almost no way to ever beat the perfection that is this Dragon Quest themed bar. Not only is the menu perfectly themed, not only does the food perfectly emulate in-game items and enemies, but the whole damn bar levels up as it progresses along its hero’s journey. Last time I checked it was level 5.
#1 The Green Dragon Inn.
It’s almost a cheat that Hobbiton’s own bar gets pride of place here, but since New Zealand went ahead and started converting itself part-and-parcel into Middle-Earth, it’s hard to trump their resolve. Grab a pint in Frodo’s own local and rest your ridiculously hairy feet by the fire. You’ve made it to the geekiest bar on the planet.
Ok, you’ve seen them all now. What’d I miss? Tell us in the comments!
Tagsbars, Top Ten Lists, travelSours: https://geekandsundry.com/the-fifteenish-geekiest-bars-in-the-world/
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