What do you think of when you hear the words ‘Berlin nightlife’? Sweaty 72-hour techno binges in Berghain? Illegal open-air raves in Lichtenberg? Fetish clubs featuring copious amounts of leather?
Chances are, you probably didn’t think much about the bars in Berlin. And why should you? There isn’t much of a bar scene in Berlin. The locals tend to disco nap in the evenings and go straight to the club at 2am… at least that’s what the uninitiated claim. But if you know where to look, you’ll discover a different story. They’re the unsung heroes of the city’s infamous nightlife, and there’s a Berlin bar to suit every taste: from a hipster joint in Neukölln disguised as a jungle, to a bright-pink queer palace owned by a local celebrity drag queen.
We think it’s about time they got the love they deserve, so here’s our pick of the best bars in Berlin to visit on your next trip.
1. Das Hotel Bar
Das Hotel is small but perfectly formed 📷@ron.sela1
Candle-lit and cozy, Hotel Bar is one of the best bars in Kreuzberg for chilled out drinks with friends. Try their famous twist on the classic gin and tonic, as you enjoy the live music, shabby-chic decor and prime people-watching location. The bar itself is tiny, but that’s all part of its charm, just make sure you get there early at the weekends if you’re hoping to bag yourself a table.
Address: Marinnenstrasse 26A, Kreuzberg 10999
An urban gardening space & bar on top of a multi-storey car park? That’s soooo Berlin 📷@nibor.p
Located on top of a multi-story car park, Klunkerkranich is the best roof-top bar in Berlin by a mile. This is where the city’s beautiful young things hang out on hot summer days, but don’t worry, there’s nothing pretentious about this little gem. The bar and urban gardening project has a strong community vibe, and the very reasonable 3 euros entry fee goes towards keeping it green and providing excellent live music for lazy Sunday afternoons. If you’re looking for the best place to watch the sunset in Berlin, this is it.
Address: Neukölln Arcaden, Neukölln 12043
ORA has got to be the most beautiful bar in Berlin, right? 📷@backfill_official
If you’re all about the looks, then Ora is the Berlin bar for you. Situated in a converted apothecary, this pretty little Kreuzberg watering hole has all the original wooden-paneled walls and archways. The menu is a little pricey by Berlin standards, but the atmosphere is lovely and the bar staff know their Old Fashions from their Manhattans. The romantic candle-lit atmosphere and fresh flowers make it a great option for a date.
Address: Oranienpl. 14, Kreuzberg 10999
4. Kantine am Berghain
Can’t be bothered to queue for Berghain? Head to their secret beer garden instead 📷@__julita__
Didn’t get into Berghain, or just need a break from the club’s infamous dancefloor? Then just nip round the back to Bierhof Rüdersdorf, a chilled out beer garden offering an oasis of calm just seconds away from the debauchery. Take a moment to chill on the deckchairs, rehydrate and carb-load before heading back in.
Address: Rüdersdorfer Str. 70, Friedrichshain, 10243
5. Geist Im Glass
Best cocktails in Berlin + hangover pancakes the next day at Geist im Glas 📷@mimosa_daddy
A really beautiful bar with great attention to detail in everything they do. The staff are smiley, the decor is gorgeous and they serve the best cocktails in Berlin that won’t blow your backpacker’s budget. And the best bit? These kind souls will even help you cure your hangover the next day with their MEGA brunches and legendary pancakes.
Address: Lenaustrasse 27, Kreuzberg, 12047
6. Dschungel Bar
Brush off your Tarzan-themed chat-up lines at ‘Jungle Bar’ 📷@yodasuricate
Unless you’re a German speaker, you wouldn’t expect much from the unassuming entrance to Dschungel Bar aka ‘Jungle Bar’. But once inside, you’ll be transported to a veritable wilderness in the heart of Neukölln. With an abundance of greenery and actual real-life frogs, this is one of the weirdest bars in Berlin.
Address: Friedelstrasse 12, Neukölln 12047
7. Prater Garten
Despite its popularity, Berlin’s oldest beer garden is a must 📷@ernesto.mayz
Munich isn’t the only city that knows how to do a good old-fashioned beer garden. If you’re looking for a real German experience when you’re visiting the capital, then Prater Garten is your best bet. It’s the oldest beer garden in Berlin, and despite its popularity amongst tourists, it’s remained true to its roots, serving excellent and reasonably priced beer. And the schnitzel ain’t bad either! This is a great place to drink if you’re in a big group, just make sure you get there early to bag a table.
Address: Kastanienallee 7-9, Prenzlauer Berg 10435
8. Buck and Breck
Ignore the ‘closed’ sign outside Buck and Breck and walk right in 📷 @curatedbyfabio
At Buck and Breck, a secret little speak-easy style bar in Prenzlauer Berg, each of the cocktails are a veritable masterpiece. There is a sign above the door that reads “CLOSED” … just ignore it!
Address: Brunnenstrasse 117, Prenzlauer Berg 10119
9. Meine Bar ICI
Olde worlde charm and people-watching heaven in Mitte 📷@nazezhda
A charming little bar in Mitte on a pretty tree-lined street, Meine Bar Ici has a real old-fashioned feel to it that we love. The tables out front are a great spot for people-watching with a glass of their excellent red wine.
Address: Auguststrasse 61, Mitte, 10117
10. Silver Future
You know it’s going to be good when the sign above the bar says ‘I love my vagina’ 📷@selinnsener
In such a refreshingly open-minded city, you certainly won’t be stuck for a decent gay bar in Berlin. Silver Future is a pink-hued disco-ball of a bar, with an outlandish interior that doesn’t shy away from the kitsch. Impeccably friendly staff and a great spot for drinks whether you’re queer or not.
Address: Weserstrasse 206, Kreuzberg 12047
11. Neue Odessa Bar
Neue Odessa is the best bar on Mitte’s über-cool Torstraße 📷@dinkhay
If you’re looking for something a little more up-market, then this dimly-lit cocktail bar in Mitte will tick all the boxes. Take advantage of the table service if you’re feeling bouji, the Moscow Mules can’t be beaten. Be aware that they have a doorwoman at the weekends, so entry isn’t always guaranteed.
Address: Torstrasse 89, Mitte 10119
One of Berlin’s best gay bars housed in a former furniture store 📷@nonstopneverstop
The chairs stuck to the ceiling are all that’s left to remind patrons of building’s former life as a furniture store. Nowadays, Möbel-Olfe is a brilliantly cheap bar in Berlin, with a really impressive selection of Polish beers and generously-sized long drinks. It’s queer-friendly and every Tuesday is ladies night, but as with most places in Berlin, it’s pretty mixed and nobody really cares what your sexuality is.
Address: Reichenberger Strasse, Kreuzberg, 10999
13. Clärchens Ballhaus
For old-school dance hall glamour head to Clärchens Ballhaus 📷@emma.v.martell
Clärchens Ballhaus in Mitte is an absolute find and a perfect spot day or night. The two-story ballroom was founded in 1913 and it feels as though not much has changed since. Each night is a different form of dancing and in the early evening the floor is bustling with earnest German dancers ready to get their foxtrot on. Even if you’re not up-to-date with your salsa, or you don’t know your tango from your two-step then Clärchens is still a perfect spot for simply watching. Order a plate of Käse Spätzle, a stein of beer and enjoy!
Address: Auguststrasse 24, Mitte 10117
Ä is a classic Berlin dive bar on Neukölln’s infamous Weserstraße 📷@jean_smiller
Another darkly-lit Berlin bar with brilliantly cheap beer and generous glasses of wine. Ä is a rare find in Berlin, with a separate area for non-smokers. So if you don’t fancy going home smelling like you’ve just chain-smoked a 20 pack of Camel Reds then this bar is a good option for you. Make sure to have a go on the table football table.
Address: Weserstraße 40, Neukölln 12045
15. Barbie Deinhoff’s
If you like pink, then you’ll love Barbie Deinhoff’s 📷@robynrosycheeks
A quintessentially “Berlin” watering hole, drenched in pink neon light and walls emblazoned with years of graffiti. Frequented by the city’s most colourful characters – the beers are cheap, the atmosphere fun and it’s LGBT friendly. We recommend taking advantage of the 2-for-1 happy hour every day from 6pm-9pm!
Address: Schlesische Straße 16, Kreuzberg 10997
Despite its location on one of the most touristy hipster streets in Berlin, Luzia is well worth a visit 📷@thatadithing
A relaxed atmosphere and good-looking regulars make Luzia a popular hipster spot on weeknights and weekends alike. Another bar with separate smoking and non-smoking areas. Make sure to grab a White Russian whilst you’re there.
Address: Oranienstraße 34, Kreuzberg 10999
17. Mein Haus Am See
This Berlin bar on the awesome Rosenthaler Platz hides a secret rotating dance floor 📷@juicypuce
On the hunt for a late night tipple? Mein Haus Am See is open until the very early hours. A trendy bar that has become increasingly popular with tourists thanks to its Rosenthaler Platz location. But despite the crowds, it’s well worth a visit – besides being one of the cheapest bars in Mitte, it also has a secret room downstairs with a rotating dance floor – must be seen to be believed!
Address: Brunnenstrasse 197-198, Mitte, 10119
About the author
Lucinda Bounsall is a Londoner living in Berlin, who loves exploring its weird and wonderful delights. She also travels to other places too. Follow her adventures on Instagram @Lu_bounsall.