March 15


Sidewalk cafés – a bit of greenery with waiter service

By Frank

March 15, 2023

It was like a small revolution when the city council here in Munich allowed the catering industry to set up tables and chairs on the street due to the Corona crisis. And that in the Bavarian metropolis of Munich. Where you have to fight hard for every inch of the open air and pay dearly or get no permission at all.

AHA! cool...

Parking spaces become outdoor areas

Where there used to be parking spaces , new, improvised outdoor areas , so-called sidewalk cafés , suddenly appeared. A pavement café is usually located in the parking lot strip of the street . The term and the idea of the Schanigarten itself originally comes from Austria and has recently been used as a matter of course in Munich.

The additional outdoor areas on public land were actually intended as an emergency solution for the catering industry, which was affected by the Corona Pandemic . They are now an integral part of Munich streets , so they can also be called temporary street furniture .

According to the city council decision of May 4, 2021, sidewalk cafés may remain open from April to October . The sidewalk cafés are consistently popular. In 2021 there were 11,000 additional seats in 681 sidewalk cafés, in 2022 there were still 600 with around 12,000 square meters of seating .

Temporary street furniture - "See and be seen"

The urban phenomenon of temporary street furniture is nothing new. Similar to the sidewalk cafés in Munich, the parklets in Berlin , the superblocks in Barcelona or the Strade Aperte in Milan , they are not permanent spatial structures in their basic structure and can be dismantled overnight.

Temporary street furniture

Temporary street furniture

The sidewalk cafés are places of relaxation and also serve to “ see and be seen ”. A Schanigarten in the actual sense is a flower-decorated ensemble of tables, chairs and parasols on public land - quasi small open-air oases in the middle of the big city in front of a restaurant for the consumption of food and drinks.

For free? - No...

In Munich the whole thing is no longer free of charge . Traders have to pay an administration fee of 180 euros for the first issue, which is only waived during active corona restrictions. In addition, an annual special usage fee must be paid. This then depends on the respective street group and is between 16 and 77 euros per square meter. The average size of a Schanigarten corresponds to two parking spaces in a longitudinal arrangement , i.e. approx. 23 square meters, i.e. fees of 365 - 1755 euros are due .

Where the Schanigarten finally got its name from is not completely clear to this day. Initial attempts at naming in Munich ranged from Bay Bar , Fress und Saufpalette to Terrazzino . However, the view that the term was adopted by our Austrian neighbors is widespread.


Origin of the Schanigarten

Giovanni (Gianni) Taroni probably opened the first approved sidewalk café in 1754 . Johann Jakob Tarone, who ran a coffee house that opened in 1748 on the Graben, near today's Habsburgergasse, received official approval in 1754 to set up tables and chairs in front of the bar to serve refreshing water.

Since Tarone, like many other cafetiers, was of Italian descent, it was called Gianni's garden . With sloppy intonation , it was then pronounced like " Schani ", at least that's a guess.

Since it was not appropriate for women to go to the coffee house , but only to the pastry shop, they were able to take part in coffee house life for the first time through the outdoor dining area.

Gianni was the first person in town to come up with the brilliant idea of putting up a lemonade tent and armchairs in front of his coffee house and adding a bit of decor with flower arrangements. In 1754 the authorities approved Taroni's project and the Viennese flocked to the place in droves .

Out of nowhere, the innovative Taroni had started the tradition of summer coffee houses . His genuine achievement is still recognized in everyday language today. Because Gianni's garden soon became the Schanigarten, which is now indispensable.

Schanigarten in Vienna

Wien Museum, inventory number HMW 37096

French "Jeans"....

Others insist on this story: The Schani , i.e. the so-called helper waiter , was given the task of carrying tables and chairs outside and the Schanigarten was born. In other words, the most common reference is to the first name "Schani", transferred from the French "Jean " to Viennese and the diminutive form. In the past , many servants and helpers were called Johann and, since French was a fashionable language , they were often addressed as Jean.

Schani thus became a synonym for male servants , which is what they called them even if they didn't know their real name. Since the innkeepers repeatedly told their employees "Schani, bring the garden out" or "Schani, bring the garden in", the term Schanigarten is said to have been derived from this.

One thing is certain: sidewalk cafés are a great invention and in any case much nicer than parked cars . Back to Vienna as shall we say source of ideas. There they are also known or called Grätzloasen , which simply beautify the city here. Grätzloasen are lovingly planted seating areas in parking bays equipped with tables, (lounger) chairs or benches .

Grätzloasen enliven the public space

Grätzloasen are, if you will, public balconies or terraces , independent of the gastronomy. You can settle down there, alone or with friends, bring your picnic, have a glass of wine, read a book, chat with others. According to the LA21 Vienna website, Grätzloasen are a creative idea that enlivens public space.

The actions are intended to encourage communal use and promote coexistence in the Grätzl (residential districts in Vienna) in an imaginative, non-profit-oriented and temporary way. In Munich, this is new administrative territory. Street furniture projects are a mixture of art and culture.

"Land Art", Public Art and "Street Art"

Many models for an expressive, spatially effective approach can be found in "land art", public art and "street art": colourful, eye-catching, banging works. The idea of temporary use, in turn, comes from culture. Innovative ideas for wasteland and vacancies were found here early on.

A temporary installation can never replace a long-term design. However , she can shape the way there . And that, according to Felix Lüdicke (founder of the artist collective "raumzeug"), is the great opportunity for temporary projects.

What's exciting to see

Schanigarten_weinheim with umbrellas and day ticket

Schanigarten_The Weinheim

Freshly prepared - regionally influenced - high-quality cooking.

Culinary is catered for every taste , every time of day and every mood . Some restaurants only open their open-air cafés in the course of the morning, but a small breakfast with coffee and croissant is definitely possible on one corner or the other.

The variety is impressive and it seems as if even more sidewalk cafés are being added from week to week. On a walk or a bike tour through the old town, the Glockenbachviertel, Haidhausen and other districts of Munich you will discover many of the new small open-air oases.

By the way, there is a real Munich sidewalk café,

where the car parking spaces used to be on the side of the road.

Of course, they are missing now, but most car owners enjoy the cozy places created for them.

About the author

It is more valuable to experience a place in detail than many small impressions of an incomprehensible whole.

Genius Loci - discovering, capturing and experiencing the spirit of a place. Perceive - understand - enjoy!

As a graduate industrial engineer with an additional MBA degree from a renowned university in England (EMBA, EQUIS and AACSB accredited), I have been showing other, often surprising, paths to success for more than 30 years at C-Level (Head of Marketing and Sales worldwide).

You might also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Never miss a good story!

 Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with the latest trends!