The restaurant and inn “Zum Roten Bären” is located in the oldest part of Freiburg which is called “Oberlinden”. (check » Mediaeval Times) The subterranean vaults provide impressive archaeological proof of the long history of the inn.
The first documented landlord of “Zum Roten Bären” was Hannman Bienger. Documents dated 1387 speak of “Hannman wirt ze dem Roten Bern” (“Hannman landlord of the Roten Bären”). In addition to being the landlord of the “Roten Bären”, Hannman was also a master craftsman of the guild of innkeepers. Later he became part of the city council, indicatiing his respected position in the city. Many of the following landlords were granted the same honour.
“Zum Roten Bären” was always part of social centre of Freiburg. Citizens and visitors met to wine and dine but also to exchange the latest news from within and from outside Freiburg.
All of the more than 50 landlords that led the house over the last 700 years have shared a same philosophy: to make things as comfortable as possible for their guests. One thing was beyond their influence though, the course of time. Some of the landlords had to live with the terrible plagues of medieval times, others had to deal with enemy soldiers that conquered Freiburg. Those days were followed by changing leaders and times of peace. The rise and fall of the guilds had their influence on the hotel and inn just as the Thirty Years War did. What ever happened inside and around the city, local or national politics, life at the restaurant and inn was influenced. “Zum Roten Bären” was never isolated. It was always right in the middle of happenings in Freiburg, the region and in the world. That way it has become a living part of history and it has stayed like that ever since.
Interestingly, the original floor plan of the building complex has not (despite of all the building measures that were taken through time), significantly changed through the centuries. The front building, including its external stair tower in the courtyard faces Oberlinden. It is followed by the rear building and what used to be the stretched barn house. The pinnacle garden that followed was enclosed by the town wall.