For the first time ever, BCB is sold out. Andrew Wilkin shares his top tips for what to do, both day and night, if you find yourself in Berlin but without a ticket.
The growth of BCB in the past few years has been monumental. In an effort to make things run just that little bit more smoothly, there was a cap on tickets this year, which unfortunately caught some of you out.
Don’t fret. Berlin around BCB is just as good as the real thing. It’s the one week of the year where Berlin, already a great city for bartenders, becomes the world’s hotspot. There’s a packed schedule of events happening, both night and day, across the city’s venues.
Stone Brewing Berlin
After the good stuff? Get yourself out to Mariendorf to Stone Brewing’s imposing brewery. Their European center of operations, visitors can take daily tours at 15.30 – first come, first served – or simply enjoy the World Bistro Gardens and Library Bar. Hearty food and craft beer on tap – including their very own Berliner Weisse.
Where there is mixology greatness, the city of Berlin increasingly – and against its long-held reputation – also hosts a number of great places for good nosh. Kreuzberg’s repurposed Markthalle Neun hosts a number of these under one roof.
As well as being the home of Heidenpeters – one of Berlin’s finest breweries – there’s arguably Berlin’s best burger at Kumpel & Keule. Berlin’s best bread at Sironi. Berlin’s best pasta at Mani a Pasta. And much more – don’t get us started on the Big Stuff Smoked BBQ’s pulled pork sandwiches. Great with a Heidenpeters porter ale. In fact, many of the food stalls which cater BCB have their own kiosks in Markthalle Neun, so you won’t miss out on the BCB culinary experience.
In Berlin, nine is your magic number.
“From the people for the people” at the Amano Hotel
Berlin really is the capital of the bartending community this week. Events keep popping up around the city, including this event run by Rutte and Amano Hotel.
Seminars include Camper English discussing the “weird and wild tales of the Gin & Tonic”, the Kinly Boys from Frankfurt showcasing “The Kinly Way,” and Myriam Hendrickx Rutte, Master Distiller of Rutte, showcasing Genever’s renaissance. A full educational program will be going down on Tuesday 10th at the Amano Hotel in Mitte.
With all the BCB Main Stage talks live streamed on big screens and a bar with drink demos, the BCB Embassy provides the closest thing to the BCB experience. Even better? Entrance is free of charge. All the more in the pocket for the evening adventures! The BCB Embassy, like BCB itself is open only to visitors who are in the trade.
The Facebook event has all the details on how you can apply for a place at the Embassy.
The Art of Hospitality Berlin
No ticket still having fun. YES sir.
With that their cheeky motto, Campari have teamed up with Jörg Meyer for a two-day event at Atelier Berlin in Kreuzberg. The Art of Hospitality boasts a lineup of workshops and roundtables in a comfortable space with great drinks and coffee. The focus is on the Art of Hospitality on both Tuesday 10th and Wednesday 11th from 12pm onwards.
The Tasteful Eight at Kantine Kohlmann
Eight of Germany’s best female bartenders – from the likes of Schwarze Traube, Hunky Dory and the recently opened Orania – are coming to Kreuzberg’s great bar-restaurant Kantine Kohlmann to show off their mixology chops.
Diversity’s a big issue in our industry – as recent events at Tales have shown – so we’re all in favor of events like these. Catch them on Sunday 8th from 20.00.
Aquavit Fun with Alex and Monica
We love aquavit. And there’s no place in Berlin like Zyankali Bar, Tom Zyankali’s madcap den of liquid chemistry. This week, on Sunday 8th, none other than Alex Kratena and Monica Berg will be doing guest shifts in the yellow laboratory, all in the name of Aquavit. Consider us sold.
They join a packed list of stars – one so big that they’ve cheekily named the program Bartenders’ Hogwarts. Timo Janse, known for his work at Door74, does his best Heisenberg at Shaking Bad – A Night of Very Aromatic Carbohydrates (Wednesday 11th) whilst the stars of the Moscow Bar Show will appear on Tuesday 10th. Big talent together with mad ingredients and techniques equals a show definitely worth seeing.
Hit the offbeat
Forgive the cliché: Berlin’s known for its offbeat charm. There are abandoned buildings galore, Teufelsberg, an abandoned spy station on the hill, the ominous ghost stations of Siemensbahn – a forgotten train line. Or – and most appropriate – the Bärenquell Brewery, which was once one of GDR Berlin’s big four beers. Check out Abandoned Berlin for a list of all the craziest locations (and for the nitty gritty on how tricky it is to get in).
This extends to the drinking. Adorned with odd nicknacks – and arguably odder characters – Bei Schlawinchen might not serve the city’s best drinks, but it’s always open. As the urban myth goes, the key was lost and it’s never closed in the 30 years since. There’s even a badge on the wall to prove it.
Bildquelle: Berlin via Shutterstock