Located smack-dab in the old-city center of Zurich, Weinbar Hellberg (Zinnengasse 4) not only offers an eclectic mix of wines but a unique ambience in which to imbibe them.
Christoph and I met up with Alexander Hellberg, who’s family owns and runs the wine bar as well as restaurant of the same name across the lane. Not only will you be greeted in an open and friendly manner, but in pretty much any language imaginable; Alexander, who grew up and travelled all around the world, speaks seven languages fluently. And just like his wine bar, understatement, friendliness, with no signs of pretentiousness, are dominant.
Hellberg’s offering is an international potpourri of fine wines from every continent but don’t expect to find wines strictly chosen based on points, medals, and brand recognition. The offering changes on a regular basis.
What I also find extremely personable about the wine bar, is the set-up; rather than the typical “bartender separated from the patron by a bar”, Alexander preferred the idea of mingling with his patrons on the same playing field. What you can’t help notice upon entering is the large stone island with numerous bottles laid open, inviting the patrons to pick them up, discover, and interact.
You can either stand around the wine island or opt for a more intimate seated setting, if that’s more to your liking. The bar isn’t loud, it’s well lit, the choice of music was spot-on (Joy Division was playing while I was there), and though high ceilinged and minimalistic, it’s nonetheless warm and inviting.
And if you happen to get hungry, there’s a list of Iberian cheeses and cured meats available. And though somewhat unofficial, if you’re really hungry, you can order from the Hellberg restaurant menu and Alexander will have the dishes brought over and served to you in the wine bar. Now if that isn’t service, I don’t know what is.
Tel. +41(0)44. 221 94 70