Of all Europe’s capital cities, Berlin is one of the most intriguing. After decades of division during the Cold War, Germany’s capital has recovered in startling style to become a leading destination for hip travelers of every age.
There’s plenty to do in Berlin, whether you’re staying for a weekend or a summer. But if visiting the Reichstag feels too staid and partying the night away in a techno club too hedonistic, rest assured that Berlin offers a strong middle ground. Its many cocktail bars, for example, are a haven for holidaymakers and locals who want to feel part of Berlin’s buzzing cultural scene but don’t necessarily want to do so 24/7.
Planning a visit to Berlin? Here’s a list of the city’s top cocktail bars to get you started.
Classic and elegant cocktail bars in Berlin
One of Berlin’s most famous cocktail bars – and some might say its best – is Beckett’s Kopf in Prenzlauer Berg. Look out for the picture of Samuel Beckett’s head in the window and you’ll find this hidden-away bar, which is bedecked with Chesterfield sofas and cosy lighting. Another elegant bar in Berlin with literary associations is Green Door in Shoneberg, a vintage watering hole known to be one of writer Christopher Isherwood’s favourite hangouts during the 1920s.
If you’re looking for a more contemporary cocktail bar, try Bebel Bar and Lounge in the Hotel de Rome on Babelplatz. With more than 60 cocktails on its list and many high-end spirits, it’s ideal for the cocktail connoisseur. Elsewhere, Lebenstern – above the restaurant Einstein on Kurfuerstenstrasse – is worth a look, and Buck and Breck will offer a memorable Berlin drinking experience, if you can get in. This new bar, disguised from the outside so it looks like an art gallery, has only 14 seats and there’s no standing allowed. So if you’re enjoying a short break in Berlin in the near future and want to drop in to Buck and Breck, it’s best to make a reservation.
The best cocktail bars to kick-start the party
Of course, Berlin isn’t just about relaxing with expertly mixed cocktails. It’s also about soaking up the party-hard energy that many of its dwellers exude in spades. And with so many cheap flights available to Berlin from London and other UK airports, it’s no surprise that loads of travellers arrive in the city every weekend to join in.
If you want a cocktail bar to get the party atmosphere started, be sure to visit the Victoria Bar on Potsdamer Strasse during its happy hour from 6.30-9.30pm. Reingold is also a great place for ambience, boasting a 1930s speakeasy theme and an eclectic selection of music. If it sounds like your kind of place, then make sure to visit Rum Trader on Fasanenstrasse as well, which is heavy on the vintage décor and has a lively atmosphere.
Babette Bar, located in a former salon, is another excellent cocktail bar, which often hosts art exhibitions and DJs. And at Bar Nou on Bergmannstrasse, you’ll be able to choose from a list of 150 cocktails, as well as a range of beers, wines and champagne.