Food & Drink

The eight coolest bars in Berlin

Published On 08/20/2013 Published On 08/20/2013
Berlin bar
Thomas Hillard

Despite popular belief, Berlin's bars actually stay open beyond October, and consist of not just beer gardens, but also cocktail bars, jazz dens, dives, and even saloons. Sorting though all of the liver-trouncing chaos, we've narrowed the list down to the city's eight finest…

Katherine Sacks

Bei Schlawinchen Schönleinstrasse 34; +49.30.693.2015
Every inch of this tiny Kreuzberg dive is covered in kitsch; the ceiling is decked in hanging grandfather clocks, rocking horses, and a motorcycle (!), and you’ll fight for space with a giant elephant statue and random knickknacks, with the emphasis on grunge. With cheap prices on a decent selection of beers and a 24hr open door, this junkyard look-alike draws some of Berlin’s best, from smoking scenesters to locals guarding the foosball table to daytime drinkers who refuse the light of day.

Katherine Sacks

Neue Odessa TorstraĂźe 89; +49.030.92125732
With its vintage, living room-like furniture, artsy wallpaper, and regular rotation of '80s classics playing loud and proud, this place looks like a page right out of the Williamsburg bar landscape. The regulars -- a healthy mix of Torstraße gallery-goers, neighborhood partiers, and Mitte’s startup techies -- tend to order the Moscow Mule, but the menu includes a few funky cocktails and the obligatory cheap beer and wine options.


Aufsturz Oranienburger Strasse 67; +49.030.28047407 
Beer-lovers flock to this Mitte bar thanks to a menu of over 100 brews, including specialty German, Belgian, and international suds. The hostel next door means there’s always a worldly crowd, but plenty of locals come here to take on the massive list. During the winter, the low-key space (which doubles as a gallery) is packed; come summertime, the crowds sprawl onto the few sidewalk beer tables.


Prater Biergarten Kastanienallee Kastanienallee 7-9; +49.030.4485688
Prater is the city’s oldest beer garden, which basically means it must be the best (stick around 137 years and we’ll give you that nod too). The sprawling space, tucked off Prenzlauer Berg’s busy Kastanienallee, is nearly always crowded, but with room for 600 people, there’s generally a space to crowd your way into. The home brewed Prater Pils is a great beer with which to drink the day away, and there’s hefty German fare to help soak up the booze.


Reingold Novalisstrasse 11; +49.030.28387676
The drinks come with a side of class at this Jazz Age bar, where the suspender-clad bartenders are always willing to steer you towards a properly satisfying pour. It’s tucked down a suburban street in Mitte, but don’t let that faze you; the classic cocktails, plush leather couches, and red-lit room are worth the venture.

Green Door

Green Door Winterfeldtstrasse 50; +49.030.2152515
Just follow the neon sign into this secret West Berlin cocktail den (it’s, er, the place with the green door). The prepster interior  -- plaid wallpaper, retro phones, and a glowing dog lamp -- signals stuffy, but it’s a chill place to drink well in Schöneberg. The comprehensive cocktail list comes in a tome-like book and can be pricy, but thankfully that’s why God invented their daily happy hour.

Katherine Sacks

Stagger Lee Nollendorfstrasse 27; +49.030.29036158
This Wild West saloon was voted Mixology Award’s 2012 Bar of the Year, and still sees shots nightly.  Vintage wallpaper, heavy leather furniture, and saloon doors help set the scene, while the potent drinks (heavy on tequila and whiskey) follow suit with their Western names such as “Annie Get Your Gun” or “Bucket of Blood”. 

Hotel de Rome

Bebel Bar & Velvet Room Behrenstrasse 37; +49.030.4606090
Dripping in luxury and set inside the equally swanky Hotel de Rome, BB is the site of a former 19th century bank, and the money clip-carrying elite still mingle around its big wooden bar. It's now serving up overdrafts of local pils, as well as an extensive cocktail list of 60-plus mixeds, which come alongside tasty free snacks for the not-so-financially-endowed. If your head spins at the thought of so many options, spring for Bar Manager Daniel Klingseis’ current favorite, the Gin Mare Basil Smash.

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1. Bei Schlawinchen Schönleinstr 34, Berlin, 10967

A down and dirty dive bar, Bei Schlawinchen is like a mausoleum for knick-nacks. They are also open 24hrs, so if you want to drink Dunkel and play foosball at 9a, we won't judge you... others might though.

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2. Neue Odessa TorstraĂźe 89, Berlin, 10119

This vintage speakeasy plays an 80s loop that compliments the wallpaper and artist crowd. Known best for the wide selection of craft cocktails, their Moscow Mule is endorsed by locals and travelers alike.

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3. Aufsturz Oranienburger StraĂźe 67, Berlin, 10117

Aufsturz's interior is as alluring as its brews. With over a hundred local and international beers, and an interior that also serves as an art gallery, Aufsturz packs in both locals and tourists.

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4. Prater Biergarten Kastanienallee Kastanienallee 7-9, Berlin, 10435 (Prenzlauerberg)

A venue that once served as a political meeting space, performance venue, theater, and public house is now one of Berlin's oldest outdoor beer gardens. Ideal for big group outings, this chesnut-shaded yard sports yellow picnic-styles tables, doused in light from string bulbs above. The attached Prater restaurant serves as much more than an alcohol sponge, featuring a seasonal menu with classic German fare like schnitzel, meatballs, and an egg/mustard mash called Senfeier mit Quetschkartoffeln, all accompanied by fresh vegetables from nearby farms.

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5. Reingold NovalisstraĂźe 11, Berlin, 10115

This 20s-era cocktail lounge has live music, a swanky outdoor patio, and an extensive list of classic cocktails and classy bar food.

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6. Green Door WinterfeldtstraĂźe 50, Berlin, 10781 (Schoneber)

Green Door's retro house decor -- including plaid wallpaper, pin cushion couches, and trendy telephone lamps -- sets the tone for a pretty elaborate cocktail list. A daily happy hour make this modish cocktail lair affordable.

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7. Stagger Lee Nollendorfstrasse 27, Berlin, 10777 (Schoneber)

Stagger Lee has Old West charm with leather furniture, saloon-style doors, stick candles, and a cocktail list that pours heavy on the bourbon and tequila. Using homemade syrups and fresh fruit, their cocktails have been voted some of the best in Berlin.

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8. Hotel de Rome Behrenstrasse 37, Berlin, 10117 (Mitte)

Nestled inside the swanky Hotel De Rome, Bebel Bar and Velvet Room has seasonal and creative cocktails made with everything from ginger beer and balsamic to arugula. A sleek interior, high ceilings, and red glow beneath the bar set the tone for live music and performers in the Velvet Room. The hotel also boasts an appropriately swanky rooftop that doles out fancy Champagne cocktails and other upmarket creations, along with some of the best views of Berlin's attractions.