Berlin is the capital and largest city in the country of Germany as well as one of its 16 constituent states. It is also the second most populous city in the European Union, as well its seventh most populous conglomerate urban area. A cosmopolitan city, Berlin is at the forefront in terms of culture, politics, media and science, as well as world-class tourist destination, luring millions of travelers each year. The city is also the epicenter of Oktoberfest, an extended celebration of the country’s enormous beer industry, at which over 6 million liters of the frothy brew is consumed over the 2+ week festivities.
Given its large size and population, it’s no wonder that the city of Berlin has more than its fair share of great bars, nightclubs, pubs and beer gardens, all designed to give the good people of the city a place to relax, unwind and enjoy themselves after a long day of work or school. To illustrate this point, below we have listed and profiled several of Berlin’s most popular and well visited bars and lounges, including an in-depth description of each of these drinking locales, including the characteristics and amenities of each bar, and the type of people, music and other diversions you are likely to find at each destination.
Located at Schönleinstrasse 34 in the multicultural city of Berlin, the bar known as Bei Schlawinchen is a space that simply oozes outlandishness, a fact that makes this fun lounge very popular among the large city’s younger crowd. As you step inside this bar, you will notice grandfather clocks, rocking horses and even a full-size motorcycle hanging from the ceiling, and the massive elephant statue and haphazard knickknacks scattered throughout the bar take up a good portion of overall space.
At Bei Schlawinchen, beer is the most popular order, as the lounge carries over two dozen varieties of German and international beer on tap. A dive bar in every sense, the bar is open 24 hours a day, and is populated by daytime regulars playing dice, nighttime hipsters digging the music on the extensive jukebox, and sports fanatics catching the football game on TV as they guard the foosball table with their lives.
Buck and Breck
The Buck and Breck is a tiny bar in comparison to some of the other destinations on our list, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in character and spirit. A one-room bar situated in the Mitte region of Berlin, the Buck and Breck has a mere capacity of 14 customers—needless to say, the bar is always packed. And if you make the cut, you are truly in for a treat. The bar features an extensive menu of beer and signature cocktails, and the humorous and well-trained bartenders will keep you in stitches for the whole of your stay.
The owners of the Buck and Breck, Goncalo de Sousa Monteiro and Holger Groll, are very popular figures in the Berlin bar and nightclub scene, and their involvement in this venture makes it well worth seeking out.
Tip: the Buck and Breck is located right next door to a city police station—so be careful not to overdo it—and keep in mind that you’ll have to ring the doorbell outside to gain entry to the bar. The bar is open evenings only, from 7:00 AM until 2:00 AM.
Located in the Williamsburg section of Berlin, Neue Odessa is a (very) comfortable space that feels more like a living room or den than a bar. Inside this cozy bar you will find plush furnishings (even a few recliners), flowery wallpaper, books on end tables and a low muted ceiling. The internet-based jukebox is always playing classics from the 1980s, keeping this alternative bar rocking well into the night.
At the Neue Odessa the beer is cheap and the wine list, while limited, has a few great selections. The real claims to fame here, though, are the classic cocktails (like Moscow Mules) and the funky menu of house-invented drinks that are surprisingly tasty and affordable.
Like the Buck and Breck, Bravo is positioned in the Mitte region of Berlin, but save for its location, this bar is the complete antithesis of the former. Bravo is a large drinking locale that is actually part bar and part nightclub, making it one of the favorite weekend destinations for Berlin’s younger working crowd and the city’s large population of college students.
Boasting a large dance floor and a permanent DJ booth in which experienced spinners ply tunes 5-6 days a week, Bravo is a remarkable tavern that is housed in a historic building with a reputation for all-night parties. The front door is unmarked, but just look for the line out the door on Fridays and Saturdays and you’ll know you’ve stumbled onto it. The club has two large rooms and an outdoor patio in the back. The larger of the two rooms, in which the dance floor and DJ space is located, is covered with uneven stucco and splashes of neon paint to light your way. The smaller room hosts a large horseshoe shaped bar, and a number of high tables and chairs scattered throughout the remainder of the space.
This is not the type of bar in which you’ll find odd and creative cocktails, just the classics, coupled with an extensive menu of beer and wine.
If jazz music and comfortable surroundings are your idea of a good time, the Reingold definitely is the place to go when visiting Berlin. At the Reingold, you’ll find classy, yet simple surroundings, a free-standing piano area, and well-dressed, suspender-clad bartenders that are always quick with a smile. The bar has one of the best wine lists in the city, and all of the cocktails are made from Top Shelf spirits and liqueurs, and infused with a variety of herbs and spices.
Reingold can be found down a quiet alley in the party-heavy Mitte quarter of Berlin, and its furnishings and décor, which includes plush leather couches and red-painted walls, will make you want to spend hours here.
Berlin cathedral and city by Kai_Vogel/Pixabay CC0