Bar Marqués is a beautiful underground haven located beneath a Spanish restaurant in the low-key ‘Graefekiez’ neighbourhood of Kreuzberg. It gives you the impression you have stumbled into a 1930s Parisian jazz club. The vintage feel extends to the refined bar concoctions, which are made with the extensive spirits collection and in-house syrups and served in heavy crystal mixing glasses. The bartenders create variations like ‘Death at the Savoy,’ a champagne-inflected version of the classic Corpse Reviver, and often consult with clients before preparing their drinks. Though the drinks may be pricey by Berlin standards, you’ll find that they’re more reasonable than a flight to Paris.
Bar Marqués, Graefestraße 92, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 61625906
Discreetly located in a quiet section of Prenzlauer Berg and identified only by the portrait of playwright from which it takes its name is Becketts Kopf (Beckett’s Head). It is an oasis, decidedly less gritty than one might expect for a voyage inside the mind of the Irish writer. After ringing the bell, a languid speakeasy vibe awaits visitors inside. The focus here is on quality cocktails, and if you don’t find what you fancy on the menu, friendly bartenders will gladly find a drink in their repertoire to satisfy your desires. This could a drink such as the Buck and Breck, a dangerously heady mix of cognac, absinthe, lemon and champagne.
Becketts Kopf, Pappelallee 64, Berlin, Germany, +49 162 2379418
You have to ring a bell to enter through the lacquered green door (a reference to the Prohibition era, when green doors indicated secret watering holes) of this retro-kitsch Schöneberg haunt. With its gingham wallpaper and seventies decor, it feels like a locals’ haven. The motto here, from Green Door’s owner, playwright Fritz Müller-Scherz, is ‘the power of positive drinking’. Bartenders pay homage by creating cocktails like the eponymous ‘Green Door’— an elegant elixir of champagne, lemon, sugar and mint. Be sure to check out happy hour from 6 to 8pm. During these hours many of the cocktails are offered at a reduced price, as are flutes of Roederer champagne.
Green Door, Winterfeldtstraße 50, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 2152515
It may be hard to believe that an unabashedly splendid, sprawling rooftop bar is located atop a decidedly uncool shopping mall. Such is the case for Klunkerkranich. Embodying the best qualities of the relaxed Berlin lifestyle, this spot is an unpretentious hybrid of community garden, lounge and music venue. It even hosts a Christmas market during the winter season. The view of Berlin from this perch is worth braving the occasional line that forms in the adjoining parking lot. This is especially true on summer nights, when there are few better places in the city to spend time with friends.
Klunkerkranich, Karl-Marx-Straße 66, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 666666
A true saloon ambiance transplanted from the Wild West, Stagger Lee with its antique cash register and swinging saloon-style doors set the perfect mood for cocktail creations made for outlaws. Named after the 19th-century legend ‘Stagger’ Lee Shelton, this bar lets visitors sink into retro leather couches. Patrons can sip on artfully crafted numbers like the famous Stagger Lee Julep, which is made with bourbon, Luxardo, black cherry marmalade and mint, or the Bucket of Blood, a spicy tequila-based cocktail served with a bacon garnish.
Stagger Lee, Nollendorfstraße 27, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 29036158
In an unlikely location under the train tracks across the steel bridge from Friedrichstraße lies Tausend. Its patrons have to ring the bell at the nondescript metal door to enter this striking bar. Featuring a giant light installation shaped like an eye created by ROBERTNEUN Architects, the sleek, futuristic interior makes Tausend a see-and-be-seen kind of place. In addition to creative cocktails, Tausend features a rotating schedule of live music and international DJs. If you get hungry, the back room houses Cantina. This is a restaurant that features Asian-South American fusion dishes that are designed to perfectly accompany the drinks at the bar.
Tausend, Schiffbauerdamm 11, Berlin, Germany +49 30 27582070
Setting itself apart from the plethora of bars along Neukölln’s hip Weserstraße corridor,Tier exudes the feeling of an urban saloon with its leather chairs and wood-planked bar. An old TV plays a retro film clip of a white cat being caressed (‘Tier’ is the word for pet in German). Meanwhile bartenders take a cue from the framed photo of Marlon Brando’s Godfather hanging behind them and are deadly serious in their pursuit of mixing the perfect drink. The result is a range of exquisite cocktails, like the dramatic ‘Schopenhauer’—made with bourbon, beetroot, pepper and in-house sage syrup—or one of the many other concoctions like ‘Mexican Cheesecake’, ‘Bela Lugosi’ and ‘Mother-in-Law’.
Tier, Weserstraße 42, Berlin, Germany +49 178 2339513