With its snug interior and olive green-painted panelling, Teestübchen is perfect for afternoon tea. For serious dining there’s Leonardo (6 Sophienstrasse, (0)511 321 033), where chef Carmelo Beradinelli serves a refined Italianate menu. Besitos (4 Goseriede, (0)511 169 8001) is a courtyard joint that segues from Spanish restaurant to hipsters’ cocktail bar – a good warm-up for a night out in the Steintor district.
For lunch on the go, join the locals at the noisy, bustling Street Kitchen, which serves Vietnamese dishes at bargain prices: not just noodles, but Hanoistyle stuffed betel leaves and coconut curries from Saigon. For a slower-paced lunch head for café-bar Vogelfrei (22 Elisenstrasse, (0)511 5686 8338), where modern German dishes, pastas and curries cost under €10.
Serving grilled sausages, freshly baked pretzels and beer by the half-litre, Lister Turm is every inch the classic beer garden, with an historic hall for rainy days. It’s a kilometre’s walk north of the central train station via pedestrianised Lister Meile; alternatively, trams 3, 7 and 9 run to Lister Platz.
The Apollo Kino is one of the oldest cinemas in Germany, having opened pre-talkies in 1908. Left-field current and classic releases, plus bargain weekend matinées, are shown in the sweetly old-fashioned auditorium.
For stylish retro decor at modest prices, head to the friendly City Hotel am Thielenplatz (rooms from €79). The Sheraton Pelikan (31 Pelikanplatz, (0)511 90930, sheraton.de/hannover, rooms from €130), meanwhile, is the executive’s choice: occupying the former Pelikan fountain pen factory, it offers streamlined style, immaculate service and the best hotel gym in town.
The eclectic line-up along Limmerstrasse includes hip interiors boutiques, scruffy vintage outlets and oddities such as Pfefferhaus, which sells chilli-infused chocolate, rocket-fuel sauces and the world’s hottest chilli, the naga jolokia. South of the strip, UVR Connected (8 Davenstedter Strasse) stocks everyday cool clobber for him and her.
Ticket prices remain pleasingly affordable at Hannover’s magnificent Opera House, whose November programme includes performances of Madame Butterfly and The Barber of Seville. HeimW (6 Theaterstrasse) is a stylish café to enjoy a bite to eat beforehand, while Oscar’s (54 Georgstrasse) is the place for a classy cocktail afterwards. For boozy bar-hopping, the Steintor is a grungy mix of straight, gay and sleazy strip bars: Eve Klub (3-4 Reuterstrasse) generally attracts a pretension-free party crowd.
The pubs and bars that dot Limmerstrasse and the chequerboard of streets north of Linden-Nord keep going into the small hours at the weekends: start at the junction with Kotnerholzweg and see where the night takes you. The scruffy, studenty Café Glocksee has a playlist that swings from midweek rock to weekend mash-ups of dubstep and techno. But the beating heart of Hannover’s cultural underground is Faust (3 Zur Bettfedernfabrik), an old factory complex which hosts a lively line-up of gigs, DJ sets and arty events.