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History

Milestones in the Hotel's History

In 1490, just before Columbus discovered the New World, the Torbräu - then called Thaltor-Herberge - first opened its doors. Georg Schmidt von Bogenhausen, a member of the gentry, purchased the building next to the Isar Gate, which at that time opened to the so called "Salt Street." Thanks to its prime location, the wine and beer bar quickly became so popular that its new owner expanded it into a classy inn. Even then the inn featured elegant single bedrooms with late Gothic paneled walls, comfortable poster beds and linen closets, in addition to dormitory-style sleeping rooms.

In 1565 the brewer, Wolfgang Brunnhuber, became the first "Thorbräuer" when he added a brewery to the inn. He had quickly recognized that beer was increasingly becoming the beverage of choice, replacing the sometimes sour Bavarian wines. Not only local beer drinkers, but many guests from Italy and far away Spain frequented the Thorbräu to get a taste of the "Munich malt brew", whose fame had spread beyond Bavaria.

During the 17th century, the Thirty Years' War brought suffering to Bavaria and Munich. But the beer brewed by Hanns Schaller, who had purchased the property for a handsome sum on May 16th, 1597 proved to be popular even in such difficult times. The grand rooms were furnished with expensive Renaissance and Baroque furniture and the Thorbräu became an upper class inn for merchants and diplomats.

Towards the end of the 18th century, Franz Xaver Duschl purchased several adjoining lots to expand the Thorbräu into an entire block. When future king, Ludwig I, married Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen on 12. Oktober 1810- an event that marked the beginning of the annual Oktoberfest in Munich - the Thorbräu landlord was among those feeding the bourgeois "haute volée" during the celebration. With the opening of the Royal Theater at the Isar Gate in 1812, the Thorbräu saw numerous distinguished guests including King Max Joseph, who - like many others - liked to stop by before or after visiting the theater.

The rise of the Munich Bohemians to a recognized cultural scene during the mid-19th century was reflected in the hotel's clientele as well. Famous names like Heinrich Heine, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy or Franz Liszt were among the Thorbräu's guests. Even the Danish writer, Hans Christian Andersen, or the pharmacist, poet and painter, Karl Spitzweg, may have been inspired by the Thorbräu's atmosphere.

In 1858/59 the Thorbräu became the property of Joseph Sedlmayer, the powerful owner of the Franziskaner-Leist brewery. By moving the brewing operation to his Franziskaner brewery, he started a series of brewery consolidations that shaped Munich's brewery scene even until today.

Maria and Johann Nepomuk Mayr laid the foundation for Hotel Torbräu as we know it today. Johann Nepomuk Mayr initially leased Hotel Torbräu in 1903 , but thanks to his capable management was later able to purchase the entire property including the right to build. After Johann was drafted during World War I, the energetic landlady, Maria Mayr, and her eight year old daughter Mariele, had to manage the business on their own. Upon Johann's return from fighting in Italy, he and Maria again took care of their Hotel Torbräu together, which, at the time, was a real art nouveau gem. The spacious restaurant featured reddish brown Czech marble, mahogany paneling and plush red upholstery, which was popular back then. The guest rooms were not only elegantly furnished, but offered electric lighting, warm and cold running water as well as an ultramodern low pressure steam heating system, installed by the Torbräu landlord.

Hotel Torbräu could not escape the suffering caused by World War II. During the night of December 17, 1944, four bombs dropped from allied bombers destroyed almost the entire property. Two people died during the attack and the landlord and landlady had to watch their life's work burn to the ground in a few short hours.

After the end of the war, they quickly focused on rebuilding, strongly supported by their daughter Mariele and son-in-law Sebastian Kirchlechner, who had returned from the war uninjured. As early as March of 1946, the restaurant reopened and the first guestrooms followed in 1947. Despite hard times and wide-spread poverty, the dinner menu soon included most of the previously unavailable sausage and meat items. The rebuilding efforts progressed quickly and in 1952, Hotel Torbräu once again offered 25 single rooms and 35 double rooms.

Over the years, Sebastian Kirchlechner gradually delegated the responsibilities to his sons, Werner and Walter Kirchlechner. The early 70's brought the emergence of fairs and exhibitions in Munich as well as an increase in tourism. In order to compete with large international hotels, the Kirchlechners' focus shifted to design, furnishings and technology. Chef Walter Kirchlechner overhauled the restaurant completely, while the hotelier and confectioner, Werner Kirchlechner, set up an elegant breakfast café with a pastry and confection shop on the first floor of the hotel.

Completed around the turn of the millennium, the most significant structural and organizational changes since the rebuilding took place under Werner Kirchlechner, the sole general manager since 1993: A completely reconfigured front desk and reception area, newly designed meeting facilities, a thorough overhaul of the CAFE AM ISARTOR and an elaborate renovation of the restaurant, giving it a Mediterranean theme. Each of the 91 tastefully appointed guest rooms is equipped with central heat and air as well as state-of-the art security and communication technology.

In 2003, Walter and Werner Kirchlechner celebrated a very special anniversary: Hotel Torbräu had been under the ownership of the Mayr and Kirchlechner families for 100 years - something Hotel Torbräu had never seen during its eventful history with many important landlords.

After graduating from college and spending a few years abroad, Werner Kirchlechner's oldest son, Andreas Kirchlechner, returned to Hotel Torbräu in 2005 to continue the over 100-year-old family business, now in its fourth generation.
Hotel Torbräu• Tal 41 • 80331 Munich
Phone: +49 (0)89 24 234-0 • Fax: +49 (0)89 24 234-235


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Werner Kirchlechner