Berlin is one of Europe's hippest cities and that reputation extends to its drink scene. It's a place that rewards exploration; one never knows when an unmarked door might hide an amazingly good drinking den. Don't be afraid to ring a doorbell to gain admittance, be sure to carry plenty of cash, and don't pass up a late night döner kebab to prevent that morning hangover. Here now, where to imbibe in Berlin.Read More
Prost! Where to Drink in Berlin
Fancy a cocktail? Here's where to drink in Berlin.
Le Croco Bleu
According to local tales, the cellar of the Bötzow Brewery once sheltered two crocodiles from the Berlin Zoo at the end of World War II. True or not, the story is the inspiration for Gregor Scholl's new bar in the restored brewery. In its inner sanctum, the décor is industrial chic crossed with enchanted forest, blending taxidermy and old machinery. That odd combination could be a metaphor for the cocktail menu, which may have one wondering if the unusual drinks could possibly taste good. A gin wasabi sour? Sesame-washed bourbon? But they do work, and marvelously so. These are some of the best cocktails not just in Berlin, but anywhere.
This hip, narrow wine bar is the place to explore German and Austrian wines. The grapes are geeky, but the vibe is fun and unpretentious; it's the kind of wine bar where one can sip on Scheurebe or Blaufränkisch while Arcade Fire plays on the speakers. Follow up the wine with a small glass of eau de vie from famed Austrian distiller Hans Reisetbauer: Himbeer (raspberry) for an elegant crowdpleaser, or Vogelbeer (rowanberry) for something beguilingly strange.
No trip to Germany would be complete without a visit to a beer house. Brauhaus Südstern fits the bill with its convivial beer hall, large patio on the busy street, and quiet biergarden abutting Volkspark Hasenheide. Three house-brewed beers are always on tap, rounded out with one rotating seasonal beer—like the perfectly malty festbier, Rocktober.
This self-described beer and rock bar is the place to check out Germany's progressive brewing scene, with an extensive tap and bottle list including the locally made Berliner Berg Lager (a grain-forward and full-bodied take on the style) and the delicious Bevog Ond Smoked Porter from Austria. Feeling homesick? There's also some top American craft breweries in the mix.
Perched atop the 25 Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, with a swanky design and rooftop views of West Berlin, Monkey Bar is the kind of place that could be popular even without a great bar program. Thankfully, they go above and beyond with a list of creative cocktails focused on rum and Latin American spirits. Recommended: The Old Cuban, Audrey Saunders' sparking wine riff on the Mojito, made with actual Cuban rum.
Nearby Monkey Bar geographically, but world's away in style, is Rum Trader. It's a very small, cozy bar that offers excellent mixed drinks, but the real draw here is the extensive selection of rums from all over the world. Try something unusual, like the 12 year solera-aged Arcane from Mauritius, and sip it neat while taking in the conversation at this intimate venue.
It's a cocktail bar named after Irish novelist Samuel Beckett. So, naturally drink menus arrive in Beckett books. Becketts Kopf is one of the early pioneers of Berlin's cocktail scene. The drinks are classically inspired, often with a twist, as in their excellent take on the vintage Ford libation that switches in genever for gin and a German herbal liqueur for Benedictine.
Ever wondered what an American saloon would look like translated into German? Stagger Lee is the place to find out. Peruse their western-themed menu of whiskey and tequila cocktails, and don't miss the house Old Fashioned made with bourbon, single malt whiskey, beer syrup and walnut bitters.
The porthole in the door is the first hint of this bar's Finland-inspired nautical theme. Named after an icebreaking ship, Voima—Finnish for “strength”—is a cozy bar with classic cocktails accented by unique Finnish ingredients. Where else will you find not one, but two drinks made with cloudberry liqueur?
This bar is in Berlin, but its selection of American whiskeys would be the envy of almost any joint in the United States. Immertreu's cocktail menu hews to well-made spirit-forward classics. Want to try a Brooklyn with real Amer Picon, an essential ingredient that remains frustratingly unavailable in the US? You've come to the right place.
Buck & Breck
“We're out of seats, but we have space for you behind the bar.” That was the unusual offer granted before entering this speakeasy, which was just named number sixteen on Drinks International's 2015 World's 50 Best Bars list. From the outside, you'd never know there was a bar here. Inside, the lighting, music, and close quarters create a supremely stylish place to see and be seen while sipping creative cocktails. Whether sitting at the bar itself, or standing behind it with a prime view of the action, this is a worthy stop on any Berlin cocktail tour.
The rough exterior makes it easy to overlook this gem in Kreuzberg, but that would be a mistake. Inside is a stylish bar with a wide-ranging cocktail list and an unexpectedly good selection of mezcal.
NO FIRE NO GLORY Kaffee Bar
If you've made it this far in the list, odds are you're going to need some coffee. No Fire No Glory offers some of the best in the city, with multiple brewing methods and beans from local roaster Bonanza and Copenhagen roaster Coffee Collective. Looking for an alcoholic beverage? They also have a full bar with a selection of craft beers, wines, long drinks, and espresso cocktails.