Restaurants and bars with an unusual past

German Gymnasium, King’s Cross, London

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1606-hospitality-conran-and-partners-london-the-german-gymnasium-01-featured Former use: Olympic gymnasium

The German Gymnasium opened last year in a former Grade II listed gym in King’s Cross. Conceived by D&D London, the cavernous building once housed the first purpose-built gymnasium in England and was influential in the development of athletics in Britain. 

Built in 1864-65 for the German Gymnastics Society, established in London in 1861 by Ernst Ravenstein, the building was designed by Edward Gruning and cost £6,000, funded solely by the German community in London. The National Olympian Association held the indoor events of the first Olympic Games here in 1866, which continued annually at the German Gymnasium until the White City games in 1908. The building ceased to be used as a gymnasium some time pre-war and has since been used as offices, storage and exhibition space.

The building is now frequented by those looking to stock up on schnitzel and bratwurst, rather than work on their athletic prowess. Reopening as the German Gymnasium last year, the former gym’s 57 foot high exercise hall is now home to a spectacular dining hall. Tipping its hat to the grand cafés and brasseries of Central Europe, the German Gymnasium serves Mittel-European brasserie classics like wiener schnitzel and bratwurst, with a light shone on wines from Germany, Austria and Hungary, while the bar serve “vapour cocktail clouds” from carafes.

1 King’s Boulevard, London, N1C 4BU

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