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Complaints about noise: Frankfurt restaurateurs fear “curfew” for outdoor areas |

Outdoor dining is essential for restaurants in summer. Because of residents’ complaints about restaurant noise, restaurateurs in Frankfurt now fear they will have to close earlier. They want to draw attention to their situation with a campaign.

Audio contribution


00:48 mins

Discussion about limited opening hours for outdoor dining

The picture shows a table with beer mugs on it.  Frankfurt's Römerberg can be seen in the background.

End of audio contribution

“At the moment I have a stupid feeling in my stomach every evening,” says Sascha Euler. For eleven years now, he and his business partner Christian Daam have been running the “Naiv” in downtown Frankfurt, which includes, among other things, a bar, a tasting room and a pizzeria.

But now Euler fears “that someone will turn off our supply.” Although he considers Fahrgasse to be “the coolest street in the city,” the mood there has been anything but good lately: Some residents feel disturbed by the noise that comes from the outdoor areas of the surrounding restaurants, especially in summer.

Noise complaints filed

Various cafés, bars and restaurants have settled in Fahrgasse and the adjacent Fischerplatz in the immediate vicinity of the Main. All “individual restaurateurs with passion,” as Euler says. The public order office has received official noise complaints against the square, as the authority confirmed to the hr.

Last October, the responsible local council I asked the magistrate to ensure compliance with the noise limits and suggested limited opening times for the outdoor areas until 10 p.m.

The city in turn suggested a round table between, among others, the complainants and the restaurateurs, says Euler. However, this has not yet come about.

Limits for day and night

Noises from guests, exhaust systems or delivery traffic – restaurant noise is legally considered commercial noise. The legal provisions can be found in the Federal Immission Control Act, in the “Technical Instructions for Protection against Noise” (TA Rausch).

It provides limit values ​​for the day (6 a.m. to 10 p.m.) and the night (10 p.m. to 6 a.m.). To protect residents, the nighttime limits are significantly lower than the daytime values, and a distinction is made between residential, commercial or mixed areas. According to the Frankfurt Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK), the regulation allows operators of outdoor restaurants to open after 10 p.m. – if this does not disturb the people living nearby.

Restaurateur: No extra business outside

If opening hours were actually limited to 10 p.m., it would be “a catastrophe,” says Euler, who normally opens until 1 a.m. It’s not about making a mess of outdoor catering.

“That is a wrong perception,” emphasizes the restaurateur. “We don’t have more guests in the summer than in the winter, they just all sit outside.” Many of the guests only arrive at 8 p.m., directly after work. Limiting the amount of time available to outdoor areas could drive businesses into an existential crisis – and limit the quality of life of their guests.

Particularly annoying from Euler’s point of view: By redesigning the Fischerplatz a few years ago, the city increased the quality of stay. “And thus attracted us too.”

Initiative wants to find a compromise

There are also noise complaints against businesses elsewhere in the city. The Gastronomy Frankfurt Initiative (IGF) has therefore started a campaign and brought well-known supporters on board, including trade fair managing director Detlef Braun, photographer Helmut Fricke and the former operator of the legendary Dorian Gray club, Gerd Student. The CDU state parliament member Tanja Jost and the FDP city councilor Nathaniel Ritter are also named as supporters on the campaign website.

Further information

Frankfurt Gastronomy Initiative

Since 2015, the IGF has been campaigning for the interests of restaurateurs and the position of the hospitality industry in Frankfurt. Its goal is to improve public perception of the gastronomy scene and to conduct and promote a dialogue with the city, authorities, politics, business and other interest groups. Around 100 owner-managed companies from Frankfurt and Offenbach currently belong to the IGF.

End of further information

The initiative speaks out against a “curfew” and in favor of unlimited outdoor dining. The tenor is that this is the only way the city can continue to live up to its reputation as a metropolis.

The Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga) Hesse supports the IGF’s demand, but considers “curfew” to be the wrong term. This is not legally correct, says deputy managing director Kerstin Junghans. The curfew was abolished more than 20 years ago, and since then there has only been the so-called cleaning hour between 5 and 6 a.m. The focus of the current discussion is a time limit on outdoor dining until 10 p.m. This can be imposed on companies by the public order office if the noise limit has been demonstrably exceeded. has decided to use the term “curfew” because it is more common. The IGF also uses the term, as does the city of Frankfurt.

“We want to make our voices heard,” says Euler, who co-founded the gastro association almost ten years ago. The goal: to enter into dialogue with urban society and politics and find a compromise.

Special protection zones for gastronomy, culture and sport

The IGF suggests, for example, allowing a final round until 11 p.m. during the week and until midnight on the weekend. This is still a cut compared to the opening times in winter, but it is more bearable, says Euler.

In addition, so-called special protection zones in the city center with extended opening hours should apply not only to restaurants, but also to sports and culture.

City: No “curfew” planned

When asked by hr, the city stated that it currently does not want to introduce a “curfew” for noise protection. For the time of European Football Championship This summer there are also plans to allow public viewing in catering gardens. The federal government has introduced a corresponding regulation that extends the emission guidelines for the preliminary round until midnight and the final round until 1 a.m.

Alternative offers are intended to relieve the burden on places

However, people do not disappear into thin air when a bar closes, says Euler. The aim is to use tarpaulins to prevent guests from sitting on the furniture belonging to the “Naive” after opening hours. “But then they sit on the wall or on the steps in the square,” says the restaurateur. “The kiosk here can still sell outside.”

This could lead to further gatherings like those at Friedberger Platz or Luisenplatz, which have long been a thorn in the side of the residents there, Euler fears. “If that’s a problem, you can’t create an expansion somewhere else.”

The city recently tried, with moderate success, to lure people from “Friedi” to the Hauptwache with a kind of official counter-event. This year, alternative offers are planned at Konstablerwache and on Giséle-Freund-Platz, the public order office said when asked.

IHK sees changes in going out behavior

According to the IHK Frankfurt, going out in the summer months has increasingly shifted outside over the past two decades. This must be taken into account, for example by “liberalizing the current regulations,” said President Ulrich Caspar.

Caspar demands that businesses that are prohibited from outdoor dining after 10 p.m. because of noise protection must also be able to rehabilitate themselves “in the spirit of fair competition.” He suggests a new review after, for example, three to five years.

“Could become a model city”

The hotel and restaurant association (Dehoga) also demands this. As long as the TA noise and thus the immission limits are not adjusted, the city can at least accommodate the catering industry by forfeiting imposed requirements after a certain period of time.

Meanwhile, Sascha Euler hopes to reach a compromise with the residents through the IGF campaign. “Then we could become a model city in Germany.”

Further information

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