Weird and Wonderful Bars in Berlin, Germany
Berlin is home to many unusual bars | © Marino Bocelli / Alamy Stock Photo
Knock back a Pfeffi (local mint liquor) shot, pour over a cocktail menu for hours or pull an all-nighter in a toilet-themed bar – it’s possible to enjoy Berlin nightlife without setting foot in a club.
Whether you’re looking for a cheap dive bar to drink Bananenweizen (an old-time German tradition of wheat beer mixed with banana juice) or a smoky cocktail bar to lounge in until the sun comes up, Berlin offers an array of eclectic and sometimes downright bizarre watering holes to – as the Germans say – “drink until you forget your mother tongue”.
Bei Schlawinchen is a type of Kneipe
(a German pub) – and a special one at that. It opened its doors over 30 years ago, and it has supposedly never closed them – not even for one night. Decked out with eclectic decor such as old instruments, paintings and wooden dolls, this bar is a local haunt, attracting a lively bunch day and night. Pull up a chair and chat with the local people, or take up a competitive game of foosball. Drink-wise, cheap beer is the name of the game here, and it doesn’t stop flowing. Bei Schlawinchen is the perfect example of Kreuzberg
’s slightly seedy yet charming underbelly.
E and M Leydicke
Bar, Beer, $$$
Once a distillery at the edge of Schöneberg
, this legendary establishment became known far beyond the reaches of the neighbourhood thanks to its “Iron Lady” of a hostess. Lucie Leydicke was famous for barring people from entering and tough on those who didn’t drink enough. Since her passing, E and M Leydicke has stayed afloat but now boasts a different ethos, though the current owners are determined to keep the spirit of the place young and lively. Standing for half a century, every inch of this family business has a story to tell. It attracts both youngsters and pensioners, and on the weekends, the patrons put on a rowdy show with indoor fireworks, belly dancers, karaoke singalongs and dancing on the bar.
Nightclub, Gay Bar, LGBTQ Bar, Cocktails, Wine, Beer
This end-of-the-night spot feels like it’s at the end of the world, too, or on another planet altogether. The pink-fur-lined walls are possibly a fire hazard, but don’t let that put you off because the plush, kitsch decor in itself makes Roses worth a visit. This lively den of glitter and neon is particularly popular among Berlin’s LGBTQ community
, but it welcomes visitors of all genders and sexualities. No place for anyone uptight, Roses will leave you with a story or two to tell. Right in the heart of Kreuzberg’s Oranienstraße, this bar is one to hit up after a day of browsing through the area’s boutiques, bookshops and record stores.
Café Bar Warschau
Bar, Beer, Wine
Run by a formidable barwoman, Kristina Näslund, Café Bar Warschau could undoubtedly go unnoticed on Neukölln
’s busy Sonnenalle. In an area of cute, refurbished hipster bars, and smoky shisha lounges, this homely spot offers a welcome change of pace. With the walls adorned with photos of Kristina throughout various stages of her life, the main bar is essentially a museum dedicated to the owner. For an extra €1, convince the landlady to let you into her cellar for a very special exhibition – a plethora of wedding photos.
Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, Beer, $$$
KLO is not for those who get grossed out easily. This one-of-a-kind toilet-themed bar serves beer from hospital urine bottles and food from bedpans – it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. While it attracts many tourists, it retains the charm of an underground secret – one with endless surprises. Eat turd-shaped currywurst
atop a coffin-turned-table as an animatronic poop lowers from the ceiling and a beer is lowered over by rope.
Wine Bar, Wine
Die Weinerei in Mitte
is a bar with a socialist heart that relies on the honesty of its customers. A short trip from Alexanderplatz and the TV tower, Die Weinerei might be Berlin’s best spot to get drunk on a budget. Pay €5 to rent a glass and drink as much as you want, and then pay whatever you feel is reasonable upon leaving. Nobody really knows how a bar with this concept can stay afloat, but maybe punters just feel more generous after they’ve had a few glasses of wine. The wine variations are plentiful, and on some days, there’s even a dinner buffet included in the already unbeatable deal.
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, Beer, $$$
Behind a seemingly nondescript green door in the district of Schöneberg lies a hidden cocktail bar
– you must ring the bell to be admitted. The Green Door attracts a crowd of cocktail connoisseurs and regulars and features an interior that blends the kitsch with the classy. Here, the main event is the impressive drinks menu – particularly the signature cocktails. The house Green Door cocktail features champagne, lemon and a sprig of mint.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Joe Thompson.