Anyone who categorizes Schöneberg as just a residential pocket of Berlin is sorely mistaken. This sleek borough, with its broad boulevards, leafy parks and classic architecture is also home to a buzzing LGBT community and innumerable great bars. Here are the 10 best
The Green door is an infamous speakeasy in Berlin with a green door. The bar cannot be seen from the outside; like any good speakeasy it keeps its architectural insides furtive. The bartending knowledge here is encyclopedic, and pairs perfectly with the extensive drink menu. Whether it’s a whiskey or a gin-based cocktail the watering hole wanderers are craving, the bartenders will serve something elegant, precise, and delicious. The charming accoutrements of this speakeasy include an entrance doorbell waiting to be rung and assigned seats upon entering. This is the place to come to enjoy a piece of esoteric Berlin, while enjoying well-prepared cocktails that range from the ‘make-you-feel-right-at-home’ to the ‘how-do-you-pronounce-this-again.’
Stagger Lee is an infamous craft cocktail bar accompanied by a necessary door bell. Almost anything on the lengthy drink menu is worth ordering, and is made with fastidious dedication. The atmosphere is somewhere between upscale and laid-back, which has to do with the pleasantly graceful drinks juxtaposed against the western saloon interior. A labyrinth of mahogany and rich scarlet wallpaper add warmth to this dark yet inviting bar. The drink menu is delightfully riddled with quirkily named drinks; one of the favorites being ‘Alabama Song.’ The cozy, romantic interior and the creative drinks make this the perfect place to be on a winter night.
Hudson bar is a classic player in the surreptitious cocktail scene in Berlin. Like most upscale, furtive watering holes, the door-hovering barman decides who gets to cross the river Styx into the alcohol-drenched night. The inside is cavernous while maintaining an intimate integrity. The bar’s name is a reference to the Hemingway novel, Islands in the Stream where the protagonist is a stoic male figure. Like the classic cold characters of Hemingway’s pen, good drink is involved. The incredible drinks menu pays homage to the name’s concept by being almost a book itself. In addition to the lovely literary libations, the romantic and hospitable atmosphere is palpable throughout the bar. This, mixed with the unique and tasty cocktails like the Absinthe margarita, make this Berlin institution worth its hype.
Rote Beete is a quiet reprieve from the often noisy and busy Nollendorfplatz. This gallant dive bar is a neighborhood favorite for many reasons. The attentive and friendly staff make the eclectic clientele feel right at home and taken care of. There are also live shows on the weekends. Rote Beete knows how to serve up a good mojito, in addition to other standard cocktails, all at a price that isn’t bank-breaking. The music ranges from funky to chilled, adding the right amount of ambience to this intimately lit watering hole with its honest drinks, and unpretentious locals.
Möve im Felsenkeller is full of the vestiges of authentic German culture; just smell the mouth-watering sausages and colossal pretzels after a glass of effervescent Hefeweizen. The décor harks back to Old Berlin, and is the cheapest way to time travel. There’s a sizable amount of delectable beers on tap and great news for non-smokers: there’s no tumbling cigarette smoke to ninja through, because it’s a non-smoking bar, a rarity in Berlin for the lung-conscious.
Bar, Bistro, Restaurant, Wine Bar, German, European
This is a restaurant and a wine bar with hints of a French bistro. The attentive and knowledgeable staff are happy to pair excellent wines from their well-stocked wine racks with their rotating menus. The wine list is global, so no matter your country of preference, this place can cater to it. The atmosphere is quaint since it’s only about a ten-table operation. The charming and quiet undercurrent invites the guests to linger while swirling their wine of choice.
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Wake up in Slumberland, a dive bar rumored to be a pit-stop for David Bowie when he visited the Hauptstadt. Here, the prices are moderate for Berlin, which means cheap for everywhere else, and the spacious interior has ample seating options; high table, booth, or bar stool. The foosball and floor-sand add to the quirky nature of this fine watering hole.
This stylish cocktail bar boasts a very happy Happy-Hour until 9 pm with 6.50€ cocktails. Mister Hu, like any top-notch cocktail establishment, comes equipped with bartenders well acquainted with the labor of proper drink crafting. The bar’s shadowy interior gives it a sleek elegance, with its patchwork of blacks and forest greens, allowing the clientele to slink into comfortable repose.
Though Train Cocktailbar isn’t as much of a secret as it used to be, it’s still off the beaten track enough to be missed by many. The bar is in an old train carriage and steeped in red hues and mahogany. There’s also an outdoor seating area (weather permitting) that bleeds out from the main carriage with wrap-around cushions and red and gold umbrellas. The atmosphere is always happy because of the gregarious bar staff. Also, who wouldn’t be happy drinking reasonably priced cocktails in a train?
Voima is a new addition to the Schöneberg drinking scene, a neophyte watering hole with Finnish inspiration. The owner, Barbara Ettel, a.k.a. Piri, is one of the key players in the Berlin bar scene. Her knowledge of well-made cocktails makes her the renowned barkeep she is and the drinks at Voima are innovative, rich and delectable. The Scandinavian interior harbors a minimalism that allows the spotlight to focus on the drinks, which garner their fame by mixing classics with Finnish ingredients. This place is a must for true fans of mixology, or just plain old hedonists.