Every beer lover at least once in his life wondered where this drink came from. And I probably met in the stories of a mythical character who was credited with creating foam booze. What was the name of the fabulous Flemish king - the inventor of beer? And who is Gambrinus? And why is he considered the author of everyone's favorite drink?
According to legend, the heir to one of the kings of the Germanic tribes, Gambrivius, married the goddess of fertility Isis. As a sign of love, she presented the chosen one with a recipe for a drink, which he immediately shared with his fellow tribesmen. So the beer recipe turned from a gift into a national treasure. According to German legend, in the 15th century, the name of the king's son was so distorted that as a result it became the familiar "Gambrinus". Another version says that Gambrinus is the name of the Duke of Brabant, Jan Grimus. Besides the title, Jan was an honorary brewer. And the abbreviation of the name is explained by the fact that lovers of the foamy drink in hops simply could not clearly pronounce “Jan Grimus”, from which the name and surname of the duke turned into one word - Gambrinus. Centuries later, the personality of the brewer became closely associated with the invention of beer, and later Grimus was given the authorship, as a result of which he became a kind of king of beer.
Sometimes a legend is so strong that it turns into a kind of symbol, a sign by which one can recognize an era, country, city. The restaurant-pub called "Gambrinus" has become such a special, unlike anything else sign. Having firmly taken its place in the list of sights of Odessa, he marches through the centuries, revolutions and wars. And which of the tourists did not utter the sacramental phrase: "Show me Gambrinus"! So here it is - a historical place, in a secluded basement at the corner of the lane. Vice-Admiral Zhukov (former Kolodezny) and Deribasovskaya.
FIRST "GAMBRINUS". About the drinking establishment on Preobrazhenskaya near Deribasovskaya, which inspired A.I.Kuprin, quite intelligible reliable information has been preserved, collected, generalized and published by Rostislav Aleksandrov (Sasha Rosenboim). It can be added that the owners of "Gambrinus", the family of German origin Hoppenfeld, also owned other catering establishments. So, Paulina Aleksandrovna Goppenfeld, no later than 1903, maintained a restaurant with drinks on Lanzheronovskaya Street, in the house of Strats and Starkov. Adam Ivanovich (Ioannovich) Goppenfeld at the same time he kept a buffet with drinks in the city pavilion on Nikolaevsky Boulevard. Naturally, both establishments sold beer that was brewed at Paulina Goppenfeld's brewery, which operated in Moldavanka, on Srednyaya Street, No. 12. in Odessa several decades earlier, located nearby and laid the formation, so to speak, of a specific subculture in the service and entertainment sector.For the first time the name "Gambrinus" appears in local periodicals on January 20, 1866: "Restaurant" Gambrinus ", fresh pancakes every day. At the same time, it is brought to the attention of the public that the Gambrinus establishment has recently been transformed into a perfect restaurant, and that 100 subscription portion cards are given for 12 rubles. It is clear from the context that the establishment has been operating for some time. Since when and where exactly? Before answering this question, it is necessary to depict the background against which the events that occupy us unfolded, namely, the reasons for the massive opening of beer halls, the so-called "birgalle" in the 1860s. The main reason is the state reform of the sale of drinks, during which the ransom system was replaced by an excise one. As more progressive and democratic, it immediately attracted entrepreneurs and investors, including foreign ones. Even before the liquidation of the ransom system in 1863 in the Odessa media there are publications about the intention of German brewers to set up large factories in Odessa: it was supposed to promote and distribute beer not only in the “middle class”, but also among the “common people”. And this was possible only when brewing beer on the spot - delivery from Germany, the Czech Republic and other countries and regions contributed to the rise in price. On the other hand, adequate capital was required to organize significant production. Let me remind you: before the liquidation of the ransom system, beer for widespread sale was produced exclusively at the ransom plant Savitsky, inherited from the tax farmer Islenev. As a result of the aforementioned revolution in the sale of drinks in the same 1863, good beer from the local Johann Anselm brewery went on sale, and in September the press noted a serious increase in demand and the opening of many beer halls throughout the city. You can, of course, enumerate these halls, working in the original genre of alcoholic topography and deliberately demonstrating pedagogical erudition - the curious are always more interested in where, and not at all how and why.
Another thing is important for us: the introduction of beer into the Odessa alcoholic life was accompanied by an unconventional, completely original for the city style of leisure organization. And it is here that the origins of that music-making, first of all, on strings and pianos, which in Kuprin's "Gambrinus" are perceived as native. Here, in German beer halls, for the first time there were musicians who played the zither, violin, flute, guitar, etc. "Lovers of beer in Anselma," reports "Odessa Vestnik" already in mid-March 1864, they can entertain themselves in his establishment on Aleksandrovsky Prospekt, in addition to beer, and music. Commenting on this information, we note: Anselm's house was located on the site of the future restaurant "Kiev" (now - a bank), "facing" Police Street and Aleksandrovsky Prospect, "back" - to the square of the same name, the Greek Bazaar and Mayurov's house, the so-called "round home ". This was the territory most favorable for the arrangement of "birgalle": the trade axis of the avenue to the Old Bazaar and the Red Rows from the Prakticheskaya Harbor itself along Voenniy Descent, crossing Deribasovskaya, which is gaining strength, has long been saturated with shopping establishments in Grecheskaya and other crowded streets. Moreover, literally a few steps away were large German households - Markmann, Haas, Rote, Schmidt, etc. By the way, Rote soon also opened a brewery on the Schmidt farm (French Boulevard). Some confusion in the attribution of the primary "Gambrinus" is introduced by the fact that in the mentioned "round house" during the same period two beer halls were opened, one of which soon received the name of the legendary “beer king”. “BAVARIAN BEER HOUSE was opened in the house of the Mayurov heirs, from the side of the cathedral, where they sell: beer of Mr. Anselm and Savitsky and cold snacks. The price for a mug is 6 kopecks, for a quart (about a liter - O. G.) - 18 kopecks, for a bucket (12.23 liters - O. G.) - 1 rubles. 75 kopecks. " The Bavarian pub was opened on March 24, 1864, and on July 31, 1865, another German pub opened the door in the same house.
The following circumstance helps to understand: the first of the institutions was located "from the side of the cathedral", and the second - "from the side of Greek street." In the announcement of the next year, 1866, we read: “For the coming holidays, a large quantity of the best quality hams and different varieties of sausages were prepared in the“ GAMBRINUS ”restaurant, in the Mayurovs house, from the side of the Cathedral.” So, we are convinced that the first "Gambrinus" was arranged in the "round house", from the side of the Cathedral, and was originally opened under the sign of "Bavarian pub" on March 24, 1864, that is, 150 years ago. From the materials cited above, it is clear that already at the beginning of 1866 this beer hall was known as "Gambrinus". In the same year, in the evenings, from 19.30, musical groups from Tyrol performed there. However, already in February 1867, "Gambrinus" moved from Mayurov's house to the neighboring Anselm's house and occupied the premises of the former Karl Bonenberg beer house, which, in turn, moved to another area. In the spring of 1867, from May 9, at the restaurant "Gambrinus" a real "beer garden" opens: "Good food and drinks, attentive servants and good music will provide guests with the opportunity to spend their summer evenings in the city. " In the warm seasons of 1867-1868, in addition to the Tyroleans, the orchestras of the popular bandmasters of those years, Prause and Rosetti, performed in this garden, family evenings were held, which significantly ennobled the pastime of the middle and partly the lower class. In winter, Gambrinus specialized in Voronezh pancakes and mulled wine. From a newspaper report dated August 2, 1869, it can be seen: "Gambrinus" at Anselm's house is no longer functioning, the reporter is annoyed about the garden with shady trees, “Where in the evenings the audience gathered to listen to music, breathe fresh air, have a snack and drink a glass of beer; now this garden, by order of the pavement committee, has been completely destroyed, and the trees have been cut down ... ”. Let us summarize the above. The change in the excise tax system leads to serious changes in the service sector and, as a consequence, the formation of a subculture associated with the functioning of a new type of tavern establishments - "birgalle". In beer halls and gardens, professional groups from Central Europe invariably perform with a colossal repertoire: from folklore to classics from almost all European countries. Here, again in a European style, family evenings are organized, that is, a number of tavern establishments are becoming a place of leisure for wide sections of civil society, including women and children. At the same time, the inevitable stratification of universal beer halls is gradually taking place: to elite, mainly for the "middle class", and low-class, for "lumpen". "Gambrinus" - one of the very first classic German "birgalle" in Odessa - vividly illustrates a number of circumstances of both positive and negative evolution of institutions of this type, later artistically recorded by A.Kuprin..
The next appearance of "Gambrinus" was recorded already in 1897, in the basement of Khloponin's house, on Preobrazhenskaya 32, corner of Deribasovskaya. Once upon a time, in the distant 1820s, this piece of land of a rapidly growing city was built up with one-storey houses. Here in 1823 Count Vorontsov was quartered, and the office was also located here, to which, during his southern exile, Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin was assigned. Time passed, the houses were dilapidated, fell into disrepair. In the end, it was decided to demolish them, and it would be profitable to attach the vacated land. It could be assumed that the land would go for building. And so it happened. In 1870 Alexander Khloponin, a famous photographer of that time, bought the right to develop the land. The artist had the intention to build the house and had the right to use it as he pleases for 10 years. Then, according to the agreement, the building passed into city ownership. Today's Gambrinus has been housed in the basement of the old building of the Hotel France for many decades, where in the second half of the 1920s there was a bar called Beer Well.