Given that one of Berlin’s main draws as a destination for both tourists and residents is its relaxed pace of life and almost unfathomable capacity for fun, it should come as no surprise that the city is home to some of the best watering holes in the world.
However, despite being the capital of Germany — the land famous for cosy cellars serving up alarmingly large steins of Bavarian beer alongside gut-busting portions of sausage — you’ll find none of that in this city (except for overpriced tourist traps designed to trick the uninitiated travellers searching for an ‘authentic’ German experience).
Beer, sausages, mustard…sure, these are all good, but there’s a lot more to Germany. Berlin doesn’t concern itself with you giving you stereotypes. (Photographer: Ethan Prater; Flickr)
Alternatively, Berlin’s unique history and position as a subcultural citadel and hipster paradise mean that there is an endless variety of cool, exciting and cheap places to drink the night (and following day) away, whatever your tastes/budget/identity. With that in mind, please enjoy this highly subjective guide to the best bars the city has to offer.
Barbie Deinhoff’s (Kreuzberg)
It seems logical to start with my all-time favourite bar in the world, a place that I have frequented so much in the past year that the fact the staff haven’t begun charging me rent is a testament to their sweet nature. I could easily fill several articles’ worth of space simply composing a long overdue love letter to the place where I’ve had some of the most memorable (and forgettable) nights of my life, but I’ll leave it at “I love this bar”. A tiny establishment on the always-buzzing Schlesisches Str., I was first drawn in by the warm glow of the pink neon lights which never switch off, as well as the faint sound of electronica and disco from the excellently-curated playlist (everyone pays €1 to the DJ). Inside you’ll find a cosy space crammed with overstuffed sofas and garden furniture, the walls adorned with cute and sexy works from local artists which are often available for purchase, as well as an eclectic crowd of both tourists and locals.
Schlesisches Strasse is in the midst of the liveliest areas of Berlin in the old East Side. (Photographer: quapan; Flickr)
Whilst it would be difficult to describe the vibe of this legendary gay bar, a patron once aptly summarised it to me as “a working man’s pub for drag queens on their down time”, and I think that does it justice. Whilst the music and crowd are good reasons to come, the real reason to stay is the drinks prices. With cocktails costing €5 and a large glass of wine costing €3 on a normal night, if you show up for their weekly “Tu-Tu Tuesday” then all drinks are two for one, meaning that you can (and will) get hammered for under €10. It is therefore (I hope) entirely understandable that whenever my friends want to hang out on a Tuesday evening, they know to just head down to Barbie’s and they’ll be sure to see me in my usual spot.
Bei Schlawinchen (Neukölln) Continue reading