When one of Berlin’s most popular restaurants opens a bar, you listen. And, in this case, you become annoyingly persistent so you get to see the space while it’s still, for all intents and purposes, a construction site.
Some might say that the Weserkiez doesn’t need yet another bar, to those I say: you’re wrong. Consider this – do you know a natural wine bar without all the pretentious bullcrap that usually accompanies wine, that serves a large selection of different mezcal varieties, offers delectable bar food, charcuterie, and oysters? Didn’t think so.
Ramses Manneck and his team have been serving exceptional food on Sonnenallee for a good year now. His wine selection is well-known and Industry Standard’s cocktails are always a lovely warm up to the evening. Wild Things though, will do things a little differently. Under the supervision of Jan Hugel (Kraut & Reben, Maxim) and a mysterious French Sommelier named Sebastian the bar will seat 75 guests with an additional 60 seats available in summer. And because of the lovely corner the bar is located at, guests will able to enjoy both sunrise – and set. The promise of long nights will most certainly be fulfilled here.
The wines will largely stem from Holger Schwarz, the owner of Charlottenburg’s Viniculture. A short note on natural wines: they’re not (or barely) sulfured, made with the bare minimum of chemical or technical intervention, are harvested by hand, and the vineyard is farmed according to biodynamic principles.
Of German Church Benches and Russian Wall Murals
A fat, black plastic tarp currently marks the spot where later you’ll find the large, L-shaped bar which greets the customer upon entrance. The plan is to decorate the high walls with many of the gorgeous wine bottles served here. In the second room a wall mural by Russian artist Kristina Bekker (who the team met via Instagram) already adorns the wall. Somewhere in a storage room, a large church bench is waiting to step into action. The team has been hard at work for a solid five months, good things take time after all. The old carpet was ripped out with bare hands (sweat-inducing work if ever there was one) and now the boards are once again able to glimmer in all their wooden glory. The only thing missing is electricity and that’s in the works. The current electricity box is a proud 100 years old (seriously: its from 1914).
If guests are reminded of a mild summer evening spent in classic Barcelona bodega, including the obligatory plate piled high with salty, fatty charcuterie, enticing cheese, and oysters then Wild Things has achieved its goal. A small kitchen is being built in the space as well, its new white tiles sparkling with anticipation. Those of you who know Industry Standard’s food will be incredibly excited for Wild Things’ bar snacks.
In Wild Things’ second phase the backroom will be turned into a tasting room for a whole variety of mezcal. What might seem like an odd mixture at first, becomes an ingenious pairing at second glance. Ramses is Mexican, like many on his team, and their heritage has a strong influence on their food and drink culture. Personally, I’ve been waiting on a damn Mezcaleria in Berlin for over two years and couldn’t be more delighted. Both mezcal and natural wines are artisanal products with very distinct characteristics and funk. The tasting and show room will specifically focus on mezcal and showcase as many varieties as possible. Mezcal isn’t particularly accessible in Europe right now, though things are about to change.
Come in, tune out, and enjoy
I for one, have full confidence in the fact that Wild Things will be a space for joy and pure hedonism: a playground for adults with good taste. Ramses’ energy and love for natural wines and mezcal is infectious and he practically vibrates with the joy of his work. What’s being built here is the opposite of a stuffy wine bar who’s relevance has long gone the way of lava cakes and sun dried tomatoes. Natural wine is a different beast altogether and, as such, deserves to be treated that way. The smugness of old school wine bars is left at the door and bartenders who’ve previously worked at the iconic Bar25 will ensure quality entertainment. Natural wines are the embodiment of laissez faire. Leave be, come in, and enjoy. Keep your eyes peeled for the Wild Things bar opening in April.
U Rathaus Neukölln
Contact: + 49 1578 3130418
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Bildquelle: All photos via Liv Fleischhacker.