Frankfurt has long been an international center of commerce; its extensive history as a major trading post has cultivated an inviting and culturally diverse atmosphere, allowing expats from around the world to feel welcome upon arrival. Now, the banking capital is poised to become a post-Brexit landing pad for the financial industry, and with great timing: visionary entrepreneurs are giving new dimension to the city’s traditionally left-brained mindset in fresh and exciting ways.
The creative scene in Frankfurt lives at the intersection of playful experimentation and commercial viability—the numerous practical resources available make it an attractive destination for those interested in both sides of the business. With inventive personalities and eyes set on the future, more people than ever from the European continent and beyond are setting up shop in Germany in pursuit of new business opportunities. These five sources of innovation are amongst those pushing Frankfurt forward.
Frankensteiner Street 20, 60594
Non-standard accommodation in Frankfurt is rare, which is why the 24-room Libertine Lindenberg stands out. Described as “neither a hotel nor a flat-sharing community,” the converted 19th-century townhouse welcomes guests seeking a home away from home. Here, colorful, offbeat decor meets a steadfast communal attitude; there is a shared kitchen complete with an honesty-based grocery market, as well as an abundance of common areas, workplaces, and studios available for use. “In Berlin, creative types are working on ‘projects.’ In Frankfurt, they’re building businesses,” explains Ubin Eoh, Libertine’s PR Manager. “There is a real hustle here.”
Börsenplatz 13-15, 60313
Hayashi sits at the top of the list of the Frankfurt's many independent boutiques. Owner Kerstin Görling curates a collection that incorporates pieces from hip designers like Acne Studios, Philosophy, MM6, and local handbag line STÉE. She has also launched two brands of her own: Off to Paris, her “personal sketchbook” of bold graphics on cotton tees, and Cash Cash, a forthcoming cashmere line. “Inspiration comes from dissatisfaction. The discomfort causes movement and creation, which is what drives creative people to liven up Frankfurt,” Görling says.
Taunustor 1-3, 60311
The tight-knit creative community in the city collectively agrees that Elaine’s Deli captures the spirit of Frankfurt’s cool factor. Sandwiched between a well-manicured urban park and the skyscrapers of the city center, the all-day café has a welcoming menu and hip-hop soundtrack that lures in both buttoned-up bankers and DJs alike. “Everyone goes there” is the common descriptor for the crowd—that is, everyone who’s anyone.
Münchener Str. 18, 60329
Many people name Maxie Eisen as a central meeting point for eating and drinking. The pastrami-shop-by-day, cocktail-bar-by-night is part of IMA, the pioneering restaurant group for out-of-the-box food and drink experiences in the city. Frankfurt natives and IMA founders James and David Ardinast took an avant-garde approach to Maxie Eisen’s design, making their mark by opting for bold colors instead of the toned-down palettes common in other restaurants.
The Bahnhofsviertel is the city’s multicultural red light district. Home to Maxie Eisen and IMA’s other culinary outlets like upmarket eatery Stanley Diamond, this neighborhood represents burgeoning creativity and diversity. Restaurateurs James and David Ardinast love the district specifically because of the vast number of international identities present. “Frankfurt has 180 nationalities represented—110 of those are in the Bahnhofsviertel,” James said.