As soon as the sun sets in Berlin, the soft lights of the capital's bars begin to glow, and not just on the weekend - fans of sophisticated libations can find the right venue no matter what day of the week!
Over the last few years, Torstraße has developed into an important hub for Mitte's nightlife. The Bravo Bar at the western end is the perfect starting point for an evening of bar-hopping, but it's not the place for after-work drinks, with doors only opening at 10pm, Wednesday through Saturday. Once those doors open, though, it doesn't take long for the dance floor to fill and the crowd to unwind. Meanwhile, just around the next corner, at Novalisstraße 11, lies a veritable cocktail institution: Reingold (see picture).
The 17-meter long bar sees the business elite side-by-side with the city's hipsters, in a laid-back lounge atmosphere. Anyone who wants to recreate the perfect cocktails mixed by Reingold's barkeepers, or find out what it is that sets apart a good wine, can take a course at the bar's own school.
Moving further west, at Torstraße 89, the arts and creative scene chink their glasses of Moscow Mule in the Neue Odessa Bar (see picture).
This expertly mixed cucumber drink, served daily from 7pm, is a specialty of the house.
Hotel bars can often be boring; not so the refreshing exception that is the Amano Bar (see below). Housed in the hotel of the same name at the corner of Auguststraße and Rosenthaler Straße, it has an impressive cocktail menu. Specialties like the Pink Mojito have promoted the Amano to a fixed part of Berlin nightlife, as awards for the best hotel bar and for its genial bar team attest. The result: the luxurious marble-topped bar is popular among tourists and native Berliners alike who, from a vantage point at the bar, can raise their glasses to Klaus Kinski, whose image hangs supersized on the wall.
Not every bar is so easy to find. The route to the Drayton Bar at Behrenstraße 55 takes patrons along a dark alleyway where, behind an inconspicuous door, lies hidden yet another bar from the impressive stable of nightlife-legend, Cookie. With its art deco styling, the golden peacocks that adorn the bar are reminiscent of Berlin's golden age in the ‘roaring twenties'. A skilled barman tailors the drink of the night, which changes daily, to the tastes of the international crowd. Another of these unremarkable doors opens into the Tausend Bar at Schiffbauerdamm 11. While the S-Bahn thunders along the tracks overhead, the bouncer opens to guests who know to ring. Inside, a stylish bar with loud music and an excellent restaurant in the back room filled with exuberant party-goers awaits.
Another of the Amano Bar's ventures is the G&T-Bar (see picture) in a back courtyard off Friedrichstraße. The cognoscenti know that the abbreviation stands for none other than rumored favorite tipple of the Queen Mum - Gin and Tonic. With more than 100 different types of the juniper spirit on offer, guests can enjoy their gin straight or as a long drink, with an intriguing variety of cocktails mixed using unexpected ingredients like flavored teas.
While it's no longer an insider tip, you're still guaranteed a good night in the King Size Bar at Friedrichstraße 112b. Just don't be mislead by the name - the premises are so small that on mild summer evenings, when the inside is packed to bursting, the party simply spills out onto the sidewalk. Drinks are served in whisky-tumblers; the velvet-covered bar-stools are rumored to originate from Palermo. The same clientele also frequents the Chelsea Bar on Torstraße, with a largely English-speaking crowd and staff, as well as regular live music events.
A couple years back, the team behind the Grill Royal fell in love with the old girl's school at Auguststraße 11-13 where they have been serving up regional dishes in the Pauly Saal ever since. In the house bar, barkeepers from around the world help with the selection of the drinks, all of which are freshly prepared. These are best enjoyed outside on the patio during the summer months, while the inviting leather armchairs are perfect for cooler days. In contrast, the Trust Bar at Hackescher Markt is more a party location than a refined bar. Owned by the brother of Berlin DJ-legend, Westbam, the Trust Bar recently relocated to new, more spacious premises. Now, there's plenty of room for the eclectic mix of party guests to raise their cocktail glasses and dance to the beats of the live DJ. Cheers to that!
01 Reingold (PR)
02 Neue Odessa Bar (PR)
03 G&T Bar (PR)
04 Amano Bar (PR)