The Best Cafés and Coffee Shops in Friedrichshain, Berlin
Australian-run Silo Coffee is one of the best places in Berlin to get your caffeine fix | Courtesy of Silo Coffee
Coffee culture has long been an established part of life in the Berlin neighbourhood of Friedrichshain. From cafés that double up as bookshops to Aussie-inspired coffee joints, Friedrichshain has no shortage of spots to get your daily dose of caffeine.
Formerly part of Soviet-controlled East Berlin, Friedrichshain became the epicentre of Berlin’s creative scene following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Almost 30 years on, the neighbourhood’s alternative cultural venues – including the world-famous techno club Berghain and the RAW complex – are joined by world-class restaurants, quirky cafés and chic bars.
Shakespeare and Sons
Just a five-minute walk from the Warschauer Straße S-Bahn station, you’ll find an adorable English-language bookshop that doubles up as Berlin’s best bet for bagels and coffee. The freshly baked bagels come with toppings such as goat’s cheese and honey, avocado and tomato with mint, and classic cream cheese with smoked salmon. The bookshop and café originates from Prague, where in 2002 the owners set up shop in a former brothel in the Vrsovice neighbourhood, before opening a branch in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood in 2011 and heading to Friedrichshain in 2014. There’s no better way to spend an afternoon than settling down with a book and a loaded bagel at one of the café’s vintage tables surrounded by heaving bookshelves.
Located right next to Ostkreuz S-Bahn station, Milja & Schäfa is an achingly stylish coffee house and one of Berlin’s best-kept secrets. One of Friedrichshain’s prime brunch spots, Milja & Schäfa’s wood-panelled space is decorated with dark oak tables, leafy plants and modern art, while the Mediterranean-inspired menu combines fresh, locally sourced produce with speciality coffees. Enjoy ricotta pancakes with maple syrup and fresh fruit or sweet potato rosti, accompanied by a cup of freshly roasted coffee. Milja & Schäfa is the perfect pitstop after a visit to the nearby Graffiti Wall of Fame, which serves as a canvas for Germany’s most prominent street artists.
Cafe, German, Coffee, Tea , Fast Food, Dessert, Pastries, $$$
In 2008, two siblings made the decision to fulfil a lifelong dream and open an American-style café on a quiet, unassuming street in Friedrichshain – “without much fanfare or applause,” they said. At the time, Friedrichshain was on its way up, and the neighbourhood wasn’t quite as bustling as it is today. Even so, they “slogged it out with a simple goal of delivering North American-style desserts and classic comfort food to the German palate.” Today, despite the café changing hands to husband and wife team Kyla and Jeremy, Aunt Benny’s mission remains, and they continue to serve tantalising cookies, cheesecake and coffee.
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In addition to its quality coffee, Silo Coffee is also a popular spot for brunch | Courtesy of Silo Coffee
Have you really hung out in Friedrichshain without drinking coffee at Silo? Silo is one of the neighbourhood’s best known and most well-respected coffee and brunch joints. It’s packed at the weekend, so get there early if you want to eat, but the place is truly famous for its coffee. The founders are from Melbourne and have brought the expertise of their home city to the streets of Berlin. In contrast to a traditional bäckerei (bakery), here you can order a decaf soy flat-white with a hint of eucalyptus oil and no one will bat an eyelid.
A trip to Deutschland isn’t complete without a visit to a local bäckerei. Germans are very proud of their bread and have a long history of baking. Fröhliche Bäckerei, a short walk from Frankfurter Allee S-Bahn, is one of Friedrichshain’s most popular bakery destinations due to the low prices, friendly staff and freshly baked goods. It’s hard to decide which baked bit of deliciousness to choose, but we recommend a crispy croissant and fresh salted pretzel.
Berlin may not be best known for its wholesomeness, but that’s not to say it doesn’t exist. Goodies Deli is here to make you feel better after a big night out with their fresh, vegan-only produce and healthy, superfood snacks. The founders opened up the first Goodies Deli after they struggled to find quick, healthy vegan options in Berlin. You’ll find Goodies in four locations across Berlin (including Steglitz, Schöneberg and Zehlendorf), but the Friedrichshain branch is the cosiest, with comfortable sofas and plants in abundance.
Boutique Hotel Restaurant, Cafe, Restaurant, German, Vegan, Vegetarian, Cocktails, Coffee
If you’re looking for something swanky, the Michelberger Hotel is the best spot in Berlin for coffee, cake and celebrity spotting. This legendary hotel is located just minutes away from the East Side Gallery and, from the outside, looks like any other unassuming hotel. But inside, the space is sleek and full of sprawling couches and bookshelves packed with travel books. The hotel is famed for its clientele and is the go-to resting spot for touring artists and musicians. The owners regularly have impromptu gigs on their expansive patio, and DJs and artists will swing by to play spontaneous sets for any lucky people who happen to be there. Legend has it that the Michelberger has a secret hotel room hidden in one of the walls at the back of the café, but that could just be a rumour.
Cafe, Coffee Shop, Central American, Argentina, $$$
Located right on the corner of trendy Boxhagener Platz, Latin-themed café and bar Macondo is one of Berlin’s best people-watching spots: order a toasted sandwich and a cappuccino and take a moment to drink in the diversity of this fascinating city. Macondo is full of mismatched vintage furniture, and a piano sits in one of the far corners – if you’re lucky, a guest pianist may entertain your ears for an hour or so.