From the guy that brought you the “Hipster’s Guide to Rome” comes a much less in-depth list of Berlin’s best bars. Over the years, I’ve developed a healthy appreciation for a decent watering hole, but what factors weigh into my definition of decent? Whenever checking out a new spot, I’m mindful of these factors: prices, atmospherics, variety of booze and what mixologists can do with their selection of spirits.
These are the bars in Berlin, that based on those attributes, I think are worth your time and euros:
1. Schwarze Traube
A personal favorite, I visited Atalay Aktas’ bar three times on my last trip to Berlin. Schwarze Traube’s front door remains locked even during business hours because hipster. Eventually, Atalay or someone from his staff greets those on the other side of the glass, likely asking, “Can I help you?” This is how the staff screens patrons, or maybe it’s just a shtick to boost the bar’s novelty, I don’t know. Regardless, it adds to the mystique of the place.
What makes really special about Schwarze Traube is that they make a new cocktail menu everyday. Instead of being handed a menu, servers recite the drinks of the day by listing the ingredients of each cocktail, many of which are purchased from local markets before opening. The interior is quiet, dark and cozy. Drinks are expensive for Berlin, but these are high-end handcrafted cocktails so worth the price tag.
Wrangelstraße 24, 10997 Berlin, Germany
2. Vögelchen (Bird Cafe Bar)
Located a stone’s throw from Schwarze Traube is the dressed down hangout, Bird Cafe Bar. A little less pretentious than its neighbor, this place wins praise for its bizarre ambiance that channels Helena Bonham Carter’s living room. The bar is loaded with quirky antique chairs, bird statues and art installations that could also function as hookup spots if you’re down with exhibitionism. If you’re preferential to private make-out sessions, open the doors to the armoire in the corner and venture down the stairs.
Eisenbahnstraße 6, 10997 Berlin, Germany
3. Tadshikische Teestube
And then there was zen. This Tajikistan teahouse is high on my list of Berlin’s must visit places because of its unique cocktails, jade colored walls, central Asian artwork and overall centering vibes. Bring a date or friends, plop down on the floor pillows and shoot the sh*t for a few hours over warm herbal and booze concoctions. The beet borscht comes highly recommended if you’re looking for a snack between drinks. Tadshikische Teestube is tucked away in a charming courtyard located in Berlin’s Mitte neighborhood.
Oranienburger Str. 27, 10117 Berlin, Germany
4. New Odessa Bar
If you enjoy good looking people and don’t mind losing a year of your life to second-hand smoke, this is the bar for you. I personally didn’t enjoy the crowd, but the folks behind the counter make a damn good Moscow Mule. If you’re looking for a scene, come here on a Friday or Saturday night and partake. An ex-girlfriend, who works from the nearby SoHo House (just so we understand the kind of person we’re talking about), loves this bar. She is good looking. Very. She blends in here because most of the patrons are easy on the eyes. New Odessa Bar is also a great spot for dancing if you want to let loose a little while avoiding the nightclubs.
Torstraße 89, 10119 Berlin, Germany
5. Sharlie Cheen Bar
I’m a sucker for a well named bar so slow clap for the folks behind Sharlie Cheen Bar. My memories of this place are a bit shot, but I do recalls drinks being slightly less than at other spots I visited. The cocktail menu is solid. My favorite is the hipster AF “Herbal Smash” made with cornbrand sage infusion, fresh bloodorange juice, homemade rosemary syrup, tarrogan & thyme. You’re welcome.
Brunnenstraße 196, 10119 Berlin, Germany