It’s a common sight at the weekend across the country to see people celebrating their Junggesellenabschied – bachelor party or stag night – in the typical German fashion of wearing costumes and selling things like condoms along the way of bar-hopping.
While some may find the tradition entertaining, others argue that the rambunctious party-goers are frightening away customers at bars, hotels and cafes in spite of the revenue they bring in.
“Every euro spent seems to correspond to three euros of destroyed furniture,” said Martin Stein, the owner of a Regensburg cocktail bar.
That's why Stein started an initiative to ban stag parties at bars around the city, with more than a dozen establishments already joining in. Their motto: bachelor and bachelorette parties must stay outside.
“Over the years, this one last rebellion against marriage has become an Olympics of embarrassment, aggression and destructiveness,” Stein wrote on his Facebook page.
His initiative includes stickers with a red cross sign over a depiction of a group chugging beers.
Regensburg is a particularly popular destination for such parties, much to the dismay of the city’s residents. Numerous websites even provide tips on where to party in the run-up to one’s big wedding day, which isn’t surprising given that Regenburg’s Old Town is UNESCO-designated.
But the issue also isn’t exclusive to Regensburg. Stag parties are being turned away in several other cities, including Munich, Düsseldorf, Bayreuth and Bamberg.
“The groups consume a lot, but they also create too many problems,” said a spokesman for the Hotel and Restaurant Association in Munich.
According to ethnologist Andrea Graf, costumed, drunken stag parties have been going strong for about 20 years now and therefore are not a new concept.
What is new, Graf said, is how the stag party continues to evolve, entailing now city trips, hikes or even spa getaways.
Stein and his colleagues are determined to draw a line in the sand.
“Residents hold us as restaurateurs responsible for the noise that plagues them, the vandalism on the streets falls back on us,” he said.
Therefore, he added that it is their pleasure to “be able to dispense with this special form of clientele.”
By Ute Wessels