The Top Five Underrated Bars in Berlin
Cocktail bars in Berlin are easier to find than ever. Nobody can deny that the secret’s out about the German capital, but there are still many under the radar. Bars like Windhorst or Kupfer Bar which deserve your attention. Here are our top five.
These days, Berlin’s nightlife is anything but underground. Millions flock to the city every year for its myriad after-dark entertainments, including its late night, smoky cocktail scene, which has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. From Buck and Breck to Bar Immertreu, from Schwarze Traube to Rum Trader, the hauptstadt is packed with bars receiving international acclaim and attention.
But away from the big hitters, there are many other bars doing sterling work, yet receiving far less attention. Berlin might have been discovered, but it’s time you re-discovered these bars.
Basalt: go green
The district of Wedding has been hotly tipped as the next up and coming area for what seems like forever, but for the city’s ever-exploratory barflies, the area was still a blank. Until Basalt that is, which was a breath of fresh air in Wedding when it opened in March 2016.
Gifted with a rather striking emerald green facade, and previously home to a gaming shop called Kartenspiel International, the color coordination continues inside with a green tiled bar and plants all over. It’s a lush and utterly striking space. It’s owned by Matthias Heumeier, who is largely responsible for the aesthetics, and his half-Irish co-owner Kieran McDavitt, both of whom live in the backyard.
The menu is constantly changing, but there is the possibility to enjoy a Jarosever Pils for those on tighter budgets. One recent visit produced a delicious Für Elisa – a Beethoven pun in honor of a good friend – a gin-based cocktail, made with bold white cacao, Vermouth del Professore Blanco, cedar fruit cordial, grapefruit, lemon juice, cardamom, thyme, and coriander. Otherwise, don’t miss the deliciously smoky Mezcal Mule.
— Basalt, Utrechter Str. 38, 13347, Berlin
Kupfer Bar: a copper hideaway
Kupfer Bar defines the term hidden gem. Only open Friday and Saturday nights, and discreetly located up a spiral staircase from the popular restaurant Nest, it’s clad all over in copper. The striking decor at Kupfer Bar is inspired by the legendary Viennese bar Loos American Bar – a bar all architecture aficionados should check out.
Hosting lots of guest shifts, and closely related to the annual Destille craft spirits festival, it’s a popular spot with industry types. Alongside their monthly changing menu of 4 special drinks, classics and cremant are available on order. Don’t expect a Moscow Mule or IPA though – vodka and beer are out.
Get ready for more, with a balcony set to open this summer overlooking the infamous Görlitzer Park. You can also expect what manager Robert Schroeter calls a “witches lair” – where the Kupfer Bar team will make bitters, serves, gingers, and more, all behind a gate where you can peek in and see the science at work.
— Kupfer Bar, Görlitzer Str. 52, 10997, Berlin
Redwood: Mitte dreaming
The rustic Redwood is one of Mitte’s coolest drinking spots. Equipped with a large wooden bar, the bar is run by the owner Kevin Brown and the co-managers Stephanie Custance and Shawn Beck, and evokes the look of an LA industrial cantina.
Focused on sourcing local fresh produce, and renowned for making lots in-house – whether it’s the bitters or gingers – the bar also has a chart helping their denizens to decide what cocktail to drink based on their palate preferences. Whether you like it sweet or dry, or something else, the team at Redwood have got you covered. Oh, and there are some top-of-the-range bar snacks to boot.
— Redwood Bar, Bergstraße 25, 10115, Berlin
Thelonious Bar: jazz inspired
Once up and coming, Neukölln’s now well established on the bar map. TiER and Twinpigs have stolen many of the plaudits, but there’s one bar on the Weserstraße strip quietly going about the biz. Thelonious Bar, named after legendary American jazz pianist Thelonious Monk, was opened by Laura Maria Marsueschke in 2015 and has been steadily doing its thing ever since.
What thing exactly? A mixture of classic cocktails and seasonal newbies in a trendy, dark, and oh-so-Neukölln space. Their recent spring menu saw an effervescent Elderflower Collins, made with gin, Campari, lemon juice, elderflower and schnapps soda, and a tangy Sandpiper, made of 3 Island Spiced Rum, amaro, sherry, and grapefruit. With monthly guest shifts from big international names too, it’s high time the plaudits started going Thelonious’s way.
— Thelonious Bar, Weserstraße 202, 12047, Berlin
Windhorst: more than just diplomacy
As the city of Berlin gravitates ever outwards, the attention shifts too, to crazy concepts, secret spots and new areas. Don’t let that take your attention away from the classics, though – which Windhorst most certainly is.
Located close to the Brandenburg Gate, it’s in an undeniably touristy, and for some unpalatable, location. Apart from the option to spy on lots of diplomats – we’re sure a whole host of important biz gets discussed here – it’s renowned for its first-class cocktail offering. The classy Windhorst is particularly well known for its gin collection and has (shh) perhaps Berlin’s best Gin & Tonic. And we’re not just being diplomatic.
— Windhorst, Dorotheenstraße 65, 10117, Berlin
Foto: Windhorst Bar by otttn