You recently had your 75th birthday. How did you celebrate?

I flew to Japan in order not to have to celebrate. (laughs)


You travel a lot. Japan, France ...

I'm afraid that I am too seldom in France. I cannot be constantly on the move. For me, the most important thing is to be here in my bar. I want to continue to shape the bar the way I imagine it – and only I can do that, otherwise I needn't bother to be here. And I will continue to do so as long as I have pleasure in it.


You travelled a lot for your film. Which countries are still on your personal travel wish list?

I'm not someone who runs off and says, I still have to go there. I travel a lot. South America is interesting. I would like to live for some time in Japan. But I don't travel there because it's something I have to do. I'm simply there.


Travelling inspires. Where do you find these ideas?

Ideas are also there because you can't realise them all. (laughs) In our café bar and also in Schumann's bar at Odeonsplatz we are constantly transforming ourselves. The space is the same. But we transform ourselves more or less with what we offer: food and drinks. You will certainly find lots of ideas there.


You meet many people every day. Do people inspire and motivate you?

When you are in the last third of your life: no. Definitely not (any more). I have never had a problem with being alone. I also never went anywhere in order to get to know people. I get to know them automatically.


Do you like music?

Yes, I do. Bach and Schumann. Everyone likes music. Some people jump up and down, others absorb it quietly. It also depends on what type of music it is and what you like about music; do you prefer classical music or jazz; for me, music is space in which to contemplate and listen. So, I am certainly on the go when I listen to music.


What do you consider to be a fulfilling day?

As long as I like to come here, it's clear that I invest all my energy the whole time that I am here. That starts in the morning at eight or half-past nine in the café bar and – usually – ends here around midnight. In between, I sleep for half an hour – at my age I find I need this – or do some sport.


What do you find unique?

Japan. I think that the way people treat each other there is really wonderful. Not unique, but wonderful. Many assert that it's superficial or simply show, but I don't think so. They really do have a lot of respect for one another.


You have been a testimonial of Wagner for several years.

I am their biggest critic. And they do make beautiful objects. Especially the inn chair.For me, there is nothing more beautiful. It's simple and honest.


What would you like to read about yourself?

Nothing at all. I don't like the idea of people knowing how I actually feel about myself. If it's at all possible, I will keep this information to myself.


Did you often stand at a crossroads during the course of your life and take a wrong turn?

That happens to us all again and again. But if I ponder it a little: there weren't that many opportunities in my life to do things differently. I do precisely what I want and can.


A film was made about you.

That was difficult for me, because you end up letting people know more about you than you want them to know.


How did the film project come about?

Marieke Schröder wanted to do that at all costs and kept on at me until I gave in. We were on the road for almost 4 years. A long time. An exciting time.



Charles Schumann, actually Karl Georg Schumann, is barkeeper and runs one of the most famous bars in Germany, Schumann’s in Munich. Many call him “Germany’s barman”. In September he turned 75. For the occasion of his 75th birthday a film about him was recently broadcast in Bavarian TV. “Charles Schumann – from Kirchenthumbach to man of the world”.



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