The Reeperbahn is a street in Hamburg's St. Pauli district, one of the two centres of Hamburg's nightlife and also the city's red-light district. In German it is also sometimes described as die sündige Meile (the sinful mile).
The street, and its side streets :
The street is lined with restaurants, night clubs, discotheques and bars. There are also strip clubs, sex shops, brothels, a sex museum and similar businesses. The Operettenhaus, a musical theatre, is also located at the Reeperbahn. It played Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats for many years, after that Mamma Mia!, an ABBA-musical, and now "Ich war noch niemals in New York", ("I have never been in New York") featuring hit songs by Austrian singer/songwriter Udo Jürgens. There are other theatres at the Reeperbahn (St. Pauli Theater, Imperial Theater, Schmidts Tivoli) and also several Cabarets/Varietés.
A famous landmark is the Davidwache, a police station located on the South side of the Reeperbahn at the cross street Davidstraße. Street prostitution is legal during certain times of the day on Davidstraße. The Herbertstraße, a short side street off the Davidstraße, has prostitutes behind windows waiting for customers. Since 1933, large screens block the view into Herbertstraße from the adjacent streets. Since the 1970s, there have been signs saying that entrance to the street is prohibited for women and juveniles; however, technically it is a public road which anyone may enter.
Popular culture :
The popular 1944 movie Große Freiheit Nr. 7 tells the story of a singer (played by Hans Albers) who works in a Reeperbahn club and falls in love with a girl played by Ilse Werner. Hans Albers and Heinz Rühmann played in the 1954 movie Auf der Reeperbahn nachts um halb eins (On the Reeperbahn half past midnight, after an Albers song from the 1944 movie).
In 1958, Trinidadian calypso artiste, Lord Invader recorded a track entitled "My Experience On The Reeperbahn". It recalls a time when he was conned by a transvestite. "You cannot tell a man from a woman. I was a man dancing hand in hand with a man dressed as woman on the Reeperbahn". "Reeperbahn" is a 1978 song by Udo Lindenberg, to the tune of Penny lane, lamenting the decay of the entertainment there.