German word of the day: Saftladen

Tom Ashton-Davies
Tom Ashton-Davies - [email protected]
German word of the day: Saftladen
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

You need to have your wits about you if you hear this word - you may not always end up at a lovely juice bar!


Why do I need to know it?

This noun has several meanings and refers to different places, some with positive connotations, but others mostly negative.

Interpreting it incorrectly could leave you rather dissatisfied, but being able to use it correctly could really show off your German skills.

What does it mean?

The term 'Saftladen' derives from ‘Saft’ (juice) and ‘Laden’ (shop), essentially meaning a ‘juice shop '. While it can still be used accurately, in recent years, it has taken on a more negative connotation.

‘Saftladen’ is often used in a derogatory way, referencing aspects of an establishment such as value for money, product quality, or customer service.

Despite this, some juice shops continue to use ‘Saftladen’, while others prefer anglicized names like ‘Juice Bar’ or ‘Juicery’ to avoid these negative associations. 



‘Saftladen’ was initially interpreted differently in the 19th century as a humorous term for a pharmacy (Apotheke). It is said that the term originated in reference to the many different glass bottles used for various medicines.

After a while, this word was then used to refer to liquor stores, distilleries and dive bars, which ultimately contributed to ‘Saftladen’ earning its ‘shady’ reputation. 


If you are tired of working at a company with terrible management, you might end up saying:

‘Diesen Saftladen habe ich satt, ich kündige!’ 

I have had enough of this dump, I quit!

Or maybe the quality of the goods at your local supermarket has worsened:

‘In dem Saftladen kaufe ich schon lange nicht mehr’ 

I haven’t shopped there for a long time. 

The term is now used to represent any sort of establishment, not just bars/restaurants:

Dieses Hotel ist ein richtiger Saftladen.

This hotel is a real dump.

And lastly, it is important not to forget the actual meaning of the term:

Der Saftladen in Berlin war so gut!

The juice store in Berlin was so good!


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