Bars & Pubs

The best places to drink in Berlin – reviewed anonymously by experts

Bars and pubs

The 30 best bars and pubs in Berlin

Find mindblowing cocktails, fine wines and consummate beers – with our drinking guide to the capital

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Bars and pubs

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Berlin’s hippest places to meet, drink and hang out are in the pop-up-prone Neuköln neighbourhood…

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Bars and pubs

Hops & Barley

Sup on traditional German beers and niche favourites at this fine brewpub

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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The 30 best Berlin restaurants and cafés

Soak up the suds with a meal at one of the city's top eateries

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Recommended Berlin bars and pubs

Bars and pubs

Neues Odessa

Acting as the unofficial hub for the hip ‘SoTo’ set – the area south of Torstrasse – this bar serves a mean cocktail. It’s populated by local fashionistas and media-industry expats, who come here for further libations after doing the rounds of nearby gallery openings. DJs appear at weekends, but it can get very smoky, reflecting the buzz inside.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Becketts Kopf

This long-running cocktail bar is an oasis of fine drink in Prenzlauer Berg. Operating in the classic speakeasy model, it has become something of a local institution: enter via an unmarked door and you’ll find yourself in rooms draped with red velvet. And you can breathe deeply on their chesterfield sofas, as one of the two rooms caters for non-smokers, a relative rarity in Berlin’s bar scene. Their cocktails hark back to another era: try the Aviation, a paean to the classier days of air travel, a florid mix of gin, violet, maraschino and lemon. The windowpane features a grizzled portrait of playwright Samuel Beckett (himself not averse to a drink) to keep watch over proceedings. Occasional DJs play avant-jazz. Barstaff are knowledgeable, friendly and as long as its not too busy, happy to chat at length about the esoteric cocktail list or indeed, knock you up something they think you'll like.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Clubs

John Muir

Named after the 19th century American naturalist John Muir, who as an outdoorsman most likely understood the health benefits of a good nip of whiskey, this bar aims to bring a bit of a Brooklyn flavor to SO36 with its mounted trophy heads and red-brick walls. There’s wooden decking on the street for observing the main drag action of Skalitzer Strasse, but inside it’s cosy and smoke-free. They run a fully-stocked bar, with a special craft beer night on Mondays and an experimental cocktail menu developed monthly with whimsical names like Wutang Killer Beets (tequila, beetroot and pomegranate) or Black Beer’d (cognac, black beer, lime, orange and bitters). The owners are well connected in the electronic music scene and there’s occasionally big-name DJs playing alternative sets for the regulars.

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Bars and pubs

Stagger Lee

This vaudeville bar takes its name from a 1920s folk song about the true-life exploits of a violent Missouri pimp. The styling is suitably Charleston, low-hanging saloon lamps, Victorian wallpaper and an enormous mechanical till add to its faux-Americana charm. The crowd is made up of rockabilly greasers with vertiginous quiffs and even older ‘40s throwbacks in full tweeds. They serve excellent, if unusual, cocktails – the house special Julep mixes bourbon, mint and cherries, and the Robert Mitchum is simply a full glass of tequila, a box of matches and a Lucky Strike. They do themed nights, going from ‘40s jitterbug to bluegrass gigs to ‘60s psychedelia as well as the occasional blackjack nights for added prohibition-era thrills.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Kim

This place perfectly captures that unfinished – and inexplicably sexy – look with which Berlin’s fashionable set is so enamoured. Kim has been a favourite for twentysomething art-scenesters since it opened in February 2007. The door is unmarked: just look for an all-glass facade and crowds of people sporting billowy monochrome clothing. The dimly lit, white-walled space is left deliberately DIY, a symbolic act of resistance against the relentless commercialization of Prenzlauer Berg. The large mirrors come from the now-demolished GDR parliament building Palast Der Republik and under a geometric dropped ceiling handmade by co-owner Oliver Miller are stackable chairs and tables that guests can arrange as they like. Cheap drinks and a rotating roster of neighbourhood DJs add to the don’t-give-a-damn aesthetic.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
SEE MORE BARS AND PUBS in Berlin

Where to drink cocktails in Berlin

Bars and pubs

Becketts Kopf

This long-running cocktail bar is an oasis of fine drink in Prenzlauer Berg. Operating in the classic speakeasy model, it has become something of a local institution: enter via an unmarked door and you’ll find yourself in rooms draped with red velvet. And you can breathe deeply on their chesterfield sofas, as one of the two rooms caters for non-smokers, a relative rarity in Berlin’s bar scene. Their cocktails hark back to another era: try the Aviation, a paean to the classier days of air travel, a florid mix of gin, violet, maraschino and lemon. The windowpane features a grizzled portrait of playwright Samuel Beckett (himself not averse to a drink) to keep watch over proceedings. Occasional DJs play avant-jazz. Barstaff are knowledgeable, friendly and as long as its not too busy, happy to chat at length about the esoteric cocktail list or indeed, knock you up something they think you'll like.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Bars and pubs

Schwarze Traube

This Kreuzberg bar's magnificently-bearded owner Atalay Aktas is something of a Berlin legend, ever since his jaw-droppingly good cocktails won him the hotly-contested 'Germany's Best Mixologist' prize in 2013. You can see how Aktas wowed the crowd by visiting his tiny, knock-to-enter cocktail bar, just down the road from the Markthalle in Kreuzberg. Once admitted, you're inside, a small bar divided into three distinct areas, low seating and black wallpaper with golden fleur-de-lys on the walls. It’s all about the detail here, the enormous hunks of ice and antique glassware perfectly paired for the concoctions within. There’s no menu here - waiters simply ask for your flavour preferences and Atalay will create something especially for you.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Le Croco Bleu

One of the newest bars to hit the cocktail scene, Le Croco Bleu is the baby of Berlin drinks royalty, Gregor Scholl, who began his career at the Charlottenburg stalwart Paris Bar before opening the cultish Rum Trader. Housed in the old machine rooms of the 19th century Bötzow Brewery, its name derives from a semi-apocryphal story about a pair of Berlin Zoo crocodiles who were given shelter in a basement pool at the end of the Second World War. They’ve cleverly built around the original machinery and piping, installing a beautiful tiled floor, high chairs upholstered in emerald green leather, glass tables and an assortment of stuffed animals. Their rare gin collection is impressive, as are the cocktails that fly out of the small cubbyhole bar, their Acu Acu a particularly potent blend of aged rums, orgeat and absinthe.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Würgeengel

A bit of a mouthful, but this sultry boozer is named after Luis Buñuel’s absurdist masterpiece ‘The Exterminating Angel’, in which a group of bourgeois worthies find themselves inexplicably unable to leave a lavish dinner party. There is certainly an Old World sensibility conveyed here: the smartly dressed waiting staff, leather booths and glass-latticed ceiling evoke a noir-ish film set. The accessibly priced menu features a decent wine list, as well as classic cocktails, while a small selection of food can be ordered in from the Gorgonzola Club club next door. Lovely in summer too, when a canopy of greenery curtains the outdoor picnic tables.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Green Door

Behind an actual green door (access granted by doorbell) lies this popular Schöneberg cocktail bar. The heavily kitsch décor will maybe grow on you after a few strong drinks: all oversized gingham wallpaper, curvy white walls and framed 1970s pictures. Playwright Fritz Müller-Scherz opened the bar 15 years ago, and it boasts a solid crew of upmarket regulars as well as booze tourists on the quality Berlin cocktail trail. Their tome-like drinks menu runs the whole gamut from the basics to their house Green Door cocktail, a refreshing mix of champagne, lemon, sugar and mint.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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SEE More cocktail bars in Berlin

Loved by locals

Bars and pubs

Prater

This rowdy beer garden has been doing Berliners a brisk service since 1852, and lies across the courtyard from an old ballroom of the same name, attracting a noisy crowd. The enthusiastic beer-swilling, big wooden tables and platefuls of Bratwurst and Bretzeln (pretzels) can almost make you feel like you’ve been teleported down south to Munich. There’s an indoor bar with a traditional German restaurant but in summer you want to join the all-day buzz outdoors with a house-brewed Pils in the shade. Brunch is served from 10am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Nathanja und Heinrich

By far the most comfortable drinking den in the Weserstrasse neighbourhood, this triple roomed establishment enjoys high ceilings and efficient ventilation, doing away with the smokiness that plagues most places when full. Large windows open onto either side of a street corner and during the day, it’s a perfect place to make use of the WiFi with a fortifying cake on the side. At night, the vintage chairs fill up quickly but it’s capacious enough to never seem overcrowded. They serve natural beers on tap, a decent bourbon selection and a short but expertly made rotating menu with old faithfuls like the Sazerac alongside drinks such as a John Wayne-inspired Duke: bourbon, calvados, walnut bitter and elderberry liqueur.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Hops & Barley

The capital’s most famous tipple, Berliner Weisse, had almost 700 breweries producing it in the 19th century, so much so that a popular story has it that Napoleon’s troops even nicknamed it ‘the Champagne of the North’. Sadly history took its toll on the sour wheat beer and by the end of the 20th century only one industrial brand remained – owned by the German frozen pizza magnate Dr. Oetker. Brewpubs like Hops & Barley have come to the rescue, using interesting hop varietals to produce traditional German beers such as the top-fermenting Weiz (wheat) and Dunkles (dark) as well as Apfelwein (apple wine, or cider to you and me), a drink rarely seen in Berlin pubs. The heavy wooden bar is matched with fine green and white tiling throughout, the large brew kettles in pride of place along one side of the wall. Their self-sufficient approach to brewing serves Friedrichschain’s anti-corporate mentality well but the bar also serves as a hub for the city’s nascent beer aficionado scene.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Bars and pubs

Vagabund

America, with its insipid lager analogues and Budweiser even daring to crown itself ‘The King of Beers’, has long been an easy target for German beer-related jokes. Germans take pride in their 500-year-old Rheinheitsgebot (purity law), which stipulates that the only acceptable ingredients for beer are water, barley and hops. For centuries too, German pilsener was prized for its consistent flavor and regional variety, until giant breweries began to dominate, the purity law now a shackle to flavor experimentation. Step forward American craft beer producers, who in the US have been sprouting up in their thousands, doing battle with the big boys and using hops, yeast, herbs and spices from all over the world for their special brews. Now three old friends from Maryland have fulfilled their dream of starting a craft brewery here in Berlin after a wildly successful crowdfunding initiative. They run a homely taproom out of their Wedding microbrewery, with a rotating menu of beers, including their punchy double IPA and unctuous coffee stout, as well as local guest kegs from the likes of Heiden Peter and Eschenbräu.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Read more
Clubs

John Muir

Named after the 19th century American naturalist John Muir, who as an outdoorsman most likely understood the health benefits of a good nip of whiskey, this bar aims to bring a bit of a Brooklyn flavor to SO36 with its mounted trophy heads and red-brick walls. There’s wooden decking on the street for observing the main drag action of Skalitzer Strasse, but inside it’s cosy and smoke-free. They run a fully-stocked bar, with a special craft beer night on Mondays and an experimental cocktail menu developed monthly with whimsical names like Wutang Killer Beets (tequila, beetroot and pomegranate) or Black Beer’d (cognac, black beer, lime, orange and bitters). The owners are well connected in the electronic music scene and there’s occasionally big-name DJs playing alternative sets for the regulars.

Read more