One of the quintessentially Styrian experiences is visiting a Buschenschank and trying a traditional Brettljause. Unfortunately for the traditional city traveler, Buschenschanken in Styria are usually not very accessible by public transport. Luckily, there is still a way to get a taste of Brettljause even without renting a car! Here are our favorite Buschenschanken in Graz.
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What is a Buschenschank?
A Buschenschank (plural: Buschenschanken) is a traditional kind of tavern, often family-run, that only serves cold dishes and drinks. To be more specific, a Buschenschank may only serve products from their own production.
This rule goes back to the middle ages. For a long time, it was common for vintners to sell wines to travelers. However, as is often the case, envy almost put an end to that practice. A certain Count Gorizia insisted that only his own wine should be served in his county. This did not sit well with some of the winegrowers in the region, and the dispute ended up before Emperor Franz Josef II. In 1784, the latter issued a circular decree that allowed every winegrower to serve their own agricultural products and wines to strangers.
However, Buschenschanken were now subject to certain rules and conditions. These were changed several times in the following decades until in 1883 the sale of wine became subject to registration. The rights of the Buschenschank are still regulated today: only their own wines and products may be sold.
That, of course, makes it rather difficult to run a proper Buschenschank within city limits as even meats, spreads and cheeses must be produced on-site. This is also why you will not be able to order a cup of coffee after your dinner.
Buschenschank vs Heuriger
Another commonly used term for taverns in Austria is “Heuriger” (plural: Heurige). The origin of the word refers to the serving of new, “freshly harvested” wines. However, unlike a Buschenschank, a Heuriger does not need to abide by any particular rules as the term is not protected.
Consequently, you usually find a number of traditional dishes at these establishments, whether hot or cold. When you are looking to find a Brettljause within city limits, a Heuriger may be a good option.
What to eat at a Buschenschank
The most popular Buschenschank dish is the “Brettljause”. It consists of tasty cold cuts (roast pork, ham, dry sausage, bacon, smoked sausage) and spreads (liver sausage, gram fat, frying fat, pumpkin seed spread) accompanied by horseradish and black bread served on a wooden board.
Alternatively (and especially if you are vegetarian), you can order open-face sandwiches with various toppings (e.g. cheese).
Finally, I always recommend asking which sweets they have on their menu. Desserts may change seasonally or even daily, but when I can, I always go for a “Straube”, a type of funnel cake coated in powder sugar.
Buschenschank Graz: Where to find them
Now, to be honest, finding Buschenschanken in Graz is not very easy, and only very few places that serve Brettljause are true Buschenschanken. However, we have decided to also include Heurige in this list as the experience is very similar.
- Buschenschank Wastl
- Buschenschank Pölzer
- Buschenschank Erart
- Buschenschank Schaar
- Heurigenschenke Sattler
- Mostschänke Grießner
- Bergheuriger Fürstenstand
- Heuriger “Zur Schönen Aussicht”
- Gasthaus Orthacker
- Genussplatz Schloss Lustbühel
Located smack in the city center, there is a no more convenient place to get a Brettljause in Graz. Of course, StadtSchenke is not a Buschenschank in the traditional sense, but it’s still inviting and cozy.
What’s more, StadtSchenke is a non-profit women’s employment project. Their goal is to enable job-seeking women to permanently re-enter the regular labor market by providing them with temporary jobs.
They also offer vegan alternatives to the traditional Brettljause which is a rather rare find.
Address: Neutorgasse 22, 8010 Graz
How to get here: On foot, just a very short distance from the main square.
Buschenschank Wastl Pölzer
Buschenschank Wastl in Mariatrost is probably one of the most popular Buschenschanken in and around Graz.
Deservedly so, because it also has one of the best views of the city’s surrounding hills. Because of its popularity though, I strongly recommend calling ahead of your visit to reserve a table.
Address: Wenisbucher Straße 115, 8044 Graz
How to get here: This Buschenschank is about a half-hour walk from the final stop of tram no. 1, “Mariatrost”. Following Wenisbucherstraße, the path is entirely uphill and fairly steep, so be prepared for that.
Combine a visit at Buschenschank Wastl with a hike, either through Rettenbachklamm or along Platte.
Admittedly, Gasthaus Orthacker is neither a Buschenschank nor a Heuriger and it’s really not too easy to get to, either. However, it is one of our favorite places in Graz which is why we have decided to include it in this article.
Not only do they serve a wide variation of Styrian dishes (including Brettljause, of course), but the tavern also offers a beautiful view over the south of Graz.
Address: Am Buchkogel 9, 8054 Graz
How to get here: Bus no. 31 until Ankerstraße or bus no. 33 until Grottenhof. From here, it’s about a 45-minute walk, mostly uphill.
Combine a visit to Gasthaus Orthacker with a hike on Buchkogel.
Located in the district of Waltendorf, on Ruckerlberg, is Buschenschank Schaar. They first opened their doors in 1980 and have been a favorite among locals since.
It offers a beautiful view of their very own vineyard. Definitely go for one of their open-face sandwiches, they are humongous!
Address: Kaiserwaldweg 51, 8010 Graz
How to get here: Take tram no. 3 to its final stop, Krenngasse. From here you can change to bus 60. Get off at Kapelle. From there, it’s a 15-minute walk, uphill.
Unfortunately, as of 30.10.2021 Buschenschank Schaar is permanently closed.