Chronicles of the Brückenkeller 2

is the name of the game for the Frankfurt wine-expert and restaurateur Franz Albert as far back as 1927. It was the year of the founding of the Brückenkeller which arose out of the significant involvement of Franz Albert from the prestigious Frankfurt wine-wholesaler La Roche & Allinger.

It began with the twenty-first wine. The origin of the Brückenkeller actually began on the 15th of August 1926. On this day near the Schützenstraße the new „Alte Brücke“ was inaugurted. In the house of Schützenstraße 6 the world-famous, tradition-steeped wine-wholesaler La Roche & Allinger has been located for over 130 years, formely known as Johann Jakob Burck. Franz Albert was the young procurator of the company. After the war and subsequent inflation he and the owner considered on how to get the wine-wholesaler back on its feet again.

In the cellars of the wine-wholesaler extensive stocks of wine were stored, especially those of the vintage 1921 which under the prevalent conditions were difficult to sell. Franz Albert showed entrepreneurial courage as he proposed to make the wine-cellars accessible for visitors during the 3 days of the opening ceremony of the new Alten Brücke. In the course of the  ceremony the stocks of the vintage 1921 were served. The name Brückenkeller was referring to the bridge ceremonnial. The city granted a liquor license for 3 days which has been extended for 8 more days. Ths went on for 18 days and was a big success. In those 18 days 28000 bottles of wine were drunk.

The decision to apply for a proper liquor license was made. Because of interests of tourism Frankfurt granted the license in May of 1927. After hiring the right 42 people for the job the Brückenkeller began its permanent operation. This became the lifework of Franz Albert.

In the following years 1000 bottles of wine a day were served. In Germany and beyond its borders the wine-house became a household name. In 1931 Franz Albert took over as owner. Till the beginning of the war for which he has been enlisted as a soldier he established the Brückenkeller as a gastronomic rarity.

In 1945 the bombs destroyed everything that has been build with expertise and diligence. The former Fischerfeld in Frankfurt was one big scene of devastation. The up to 4,80 metres deep vaults of the Brückenkeller were ruined or burned out. The valuable stock of wine (it contained about 55000 bottles and 70000 litres of wine in barrels) has been destroyed or looted. Many people gave up. Franz Albert never quit. With inexhaustible strength and a lot of idealism he took on rebuilding of the Brückenkellers. With his own hands he uncovered the entrance and the staircase, gathered the old stones to restore the old arch.

Before long the Brückenkeller could receive a small circle of guests in the evening. He could continue something that has been interrupted by war and rebuilding. The Brückenkeller was the first Frankfurt tavern with wine trade after the monetary reform which has been unimpaired. 

Without the idealism of Franz Albert the Brückenkeller would still lie under the rubble of the war. Because of him a piece of Frankfurt history still lives on. From the Middle Ages till now.

In peace with themselves and as well gratefulness, Franz and Therese Albert handed over the Brückenkeller to the Wehle family, which leaded the house with spirit and idealism into new and unexpected levels of gastronomic creation and thus cleared the path for a successful future.