Berlin Pub Guide
the best pubs, brewpubs, beergardens and beerhalls

Books for sale!
Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu. Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu. Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

During its heyday as the capital of the German Empire, Berlin was home to some of the country's largest and most influential brewers. Their trading area stretched far to the East, but with the loss of territory to Poland after the two world wars, the extent of their influence contracted.

The peculiar status of West Berlin for 40 years after the last war, left the brewers penned into a small enclave, with little scope for expansion except at each other's expense.

In the East, breweries operating under some of the same names (Kindl and Schultheiss) continued a sort of parallel existence operating from these companies' plants which lay in the Soviet sector.

Good Old Days
Berlin Beer Festival
Berlin Brewing Industry
Berlin Beer Styles
Berlin Pubs
East Berlin Pub Map
East Berlin Pub Listings
West Berlin Pub Listings
Berlin Beer Shops
Berlin Breweries
Breweries in the ex-DDR
Other German Beer Pages
Berlin Hotels
The good old days
Since 1989 much has been said about the poor quality of DDR beer, mostly by those who never drank a drop of it themselves. Much is made of the lack of adherence to the Reinheitsgebot and the lack of investment.

To begin with the former, pils and special beers were usually brewed with around 85% malt - a percentage perfectly acceptable in most countries. In any case, how well-established is the Reinheitsgebot in the former Prussian territories. As far as I am aware, it only came into force in the whole of Germany after 1901, previously having been a purely Bavarian law. Given that it was ignored during the two world wars, this means it was only in force in E. Berlin 1901 - 1914 and 1919 - 1939. An impressive 33 out of the 750 years the city has been around.

As for the lack of investment and old-fashioned equipment; the same commentators who denounce this in the DDR, are charmed by it elsewhere. Look at the praise heaped on Cantillon or Oud Beersel in Belgium for being museums.
East Berlin Beer
On the more subjective matter of taste, the Berliner Weisse brewed by the VEB Schultheiss Brauerei Schönhauser Allee (Abt. Weissbier) was the classic version of the beer, unfiltered, unpasteurised, uncompromising in its flavour, and definitely far superior to its western counterpart. The closure, in the 1990's, of the brewery which produced it was a tragedy for beer lovers. It had also been the first home of the revived Leipziger Gose, when the style was brewed again in the mid-80's after a 20-year break.

Amongst pils beers, the old Bärenquell Berliner Spezial was probably the best of all Berlin, more assertive and characterful than its western counterparts. When served on draught, not only were the eastern beers a good deal cheaper (around 1M for a 0.5 litre) but were much less likely to be ruined by excessive top pressure or chilling.

Not that everything was perfect. To carry out a pub crawl required an encyclopaedic knowledge of the diverse and bizarre opening times and a good deal of luck when trying to find a seat. Often pubs were unspecific about which brewery was supplying the beer and the choice available was fairly limited. With the exception of a couple of places selling Czech beer or posh hotels with Radeberger, there was only really locally-produced stuff available. But what's so wrong with that, when the area has a decent number of proficient brewers? (Go to Munich and try looking for beer from outside the city.)

A tragic (but thankfully, temporary) loss was the Weissbierstube, which was in one of the shopping arcades by the Rotes Rathaus. They sold a whole range of cocktails made with (the real) Berliner Weisse. (If you look below, you'll be pleased to read that it's open again).
Berliner Bierfestival

Berlin is home to an annual beer festival, claimed to be the largest event of its kind in Germany. Started in 1997, it takes place in the open air, along the Karl-Marx-Allee between the Frankfurter Tor and Strausberger Platz (the last time I was out that way was to pick up some documents for my wedding from the DDR Innenministerium).

The 13th Internationales Berliner Bierfestival will take place on 7th - 9th August 2009. For more information, see their webpage:

240 breweries from 80 countries will be represented, offering around 1750 different beers. Also making an appearance will be yours truly. I would like to say inconspicuously, but you know the effect of a beer diet. Expect a few more details about the event after my return.

How to get there:
U-Bahn line 5 from Alexanderplatz to Strausberger Platz, Weberwiese or Frankfurter Tor U-bahn station.
If you want to get an idea of what drinking was like in East Berlin before the wall was breached, take a glance at an article I wrote in 1989: Get Weisse behind the wall: A guide to pubs in East Berlin. Check how many pubs made it to both guides.

To be more positive, beers from old DDR breweries have made a strong comeback in the eastern parts of Berlin. The consumer's choice has been greatly augmented by the introduction of Czech dark lagers on draught. In Prenzlauer Berg, always a good spot for a pub crawl and a re-enactment of selected scenes from Cabaret, new 'Szenekneipen', trendy bars, have sprung up in recent years.

Now, if I could only find a drop of the old Mühlhausener Pilsator on draught somewhere.

“Beer and Breweries” bus tour
Here's how the organisers (Berlin Inside Out) describe it:

"During the three-hour tour we visit several old breweries and other locations related to this forgotten part of Berlin’s history. And then we will sample the real stuff at the famous “Brauhaus Mitte” independent brewery!"

It sounds pretty interesting to me. I just wish I had heard about it before my last trip to Berlin.

Berlin's Brewing Industry
Berliner Weisse
is another matter. A beer brewed with a hybrid yeast/lactic acid bacteria fermentation, it has a delicious and refreshing sourness unique in Germany (with the exception of Leipziger Gose). It can be difficult to appreciate for those not used to sour beers. Maybe impossible is more accurate. To disguise the challenging acidity, it's often drunk with a dash of syrup, which leaves it bright green (with woodruff) or red (raspberry).

In style, it's closer to the wheat beers of Belgium, which are also sourish, than the spicy South German variety. The strength is also unusual for germany: only 9% plato or 2.5% - 3.5%. It's usually rare to find anything under 4.5%. A wonderful and unique drink - do please try it without the syrup. The sourness may take some getting accustomed to, but it's worth it to appreciate the full subtlety and complexity of the flavour.

Apparently, in the past stronger versions of the beer existed. The traditional glass didn't have a stem, as it does today, but was a more like a flat-bottomed bowl. It looks like it had a diameter of 15cm and a height of 10cm, My vagueness is because I'm estimating the size from an old illustration, not necassarily a 100% accurate source.
Large breweries

For Berlin's brewing industry, the slow decline of decades has been replaced by disintegration since reunification. Today only three full-strength breweries remain - Schultheiss (Radeberger Gruppe) and Burgerbräu, the last independent.

When Brau und Brunnen Verband was absorbed by the Radeberger Gruppe, Kindl and Schultheiss were left with the same owner. No surprise then that one of the breweries had to close.

One thing that has showed remarkable resilience, was Schultheiss and Kindl's duopoly. The two breweries dominated the pub trade from the 1920's and don't look like giving up their control just yet. After 1945 neither wais the force they once were in German brewing - operating in a tiny enclave of capitalism, isolated from most of their old markets, how could they be?

Both Kindl and Schultheiss brewed far less beer after re-unification . I can't imagine that closing most of their breweries could have helped their output figures. The loss of one (Kindl in 2006) effectively put an end to Berlin as a serious brewing town.
New breweries
As elsewhere in Germany, new brewpubs have been popping up (and sometimes dropping back down again) over the last decade. There now total about ten, spread all around the city, but with a couple handily close together in Berlin Mitte.

Most newcomers stick to the proven unfiltered Hell-Dunkel-Weizen formula. Exactly the same as you can find verywhere else in Germany. Why don't any of them brew Berliner Weisse? You tell me.

The most interesting of the new boys is Marcus-Bräu, where the brewer has decided to stop brewing with one hand tied behind his back. Blind adherence to the Reinheitsgebot doesn' t make much sense when you're a brewpub. You need to brew beers that stand out from the industrial lagers of Megabräu Chemische Getränke Fabrik GmbH. How can you do that if you're stuck with just malt hops and yeast? The dearth of innovation in pub breweries - how many have a Hell and a Dunkel and nothing else? (excuse me, I'm being too unkind: the more daring now brew a Weizen, too) - illustrates my point.

The brewer at Marcus-Bräu has incurred the wrath of some colleagues, who no doubt see his use of honey and cherries as heresy. But Before anyone starts tying him to a stake and piling up the brushwood, I have a few points I would like to make:
  • Kirschenbier (cherry beer) was made for centuries in North Germany
  • the majority of German brewers have no qualms about churning out Bier-Misch-Getränke (vile mixtures of beer with god-knows-what-else) that are of infinitely worse quality
  • adding syrup to Berliner Weisse could be a last perverted remnant of the fruit beer tradition
Beer Styles
Beers are mostly limited to the bog-standard German lager styles of Pils, Export with the odd Bock thrown in for fun in the Winter. More recently, Schwarzbier, the new favourite in the East, has turned up in Berlin brewhouses.

Be warned that the vast majority is pils, pils and more pils (with perhaps a pilsner for variation). But isn't that true of almost everywhere nowadays? Beer quality is reasonable, probably a bit higher than in the country as a whole. At least none of the local breweries has gone over to "Billig-Bier", the sort of muck that Oettingen stack up to supermarket ceilings. But it pays not to get too complacent - who could have imagined 20 years ago the state the German brewing industry is in today?

For those after more details, I've listed all Berlin's breweries and the beers they brew.

Old Berlin beer styles

Berliner Weisse apart, there is little very stylistically interesting or different about the beers brewed in Berlin today. The lager revolution in the 19th Century washed away all the rest of the top-fermenting tradition. Lager (the dark, Munich type) was first brewed in 1827 or 1828. Before then, there had been three main styles:
  • Braunbier
  • Bitterbier
  • Berliner Weisse
Within 50 years of their introduction, bottom-fermenting beers outsold the traditional Berlin styles. Only Berliner Weisse made it past WW I.

Berlin Pubs
This is a list of a few pubs in the city. North Germany can be a great disappointment for thirsty visitors. Bland bars - where formica still rules - can be found with depressing ease. The décor is in a dull international style, which even manages to make some of Britain's modernised pubs look interesting and cosy. Take a look at pre-WW I (or pre WW II, for that matter) postcards of beerhalls, beergardens and Eck-Kneipen. All of them are far more inviting than their present-day equivalents. I can't believe that every pub in Berlin got gutted in the war.

At least Berlin has some life in the evenings. I must confess to being gobsmacked by the tiny percentage of beer sold on draught in Germany (just under 20%). That explains the dead pubs I've found so often. Nuremberg is a good example: decent size population, pleasant city centre, not a soul to be seen in any of the pubs. Unfortunately, as in a lot of North Germany, a lot of places are bland bars, with nothing to recommend , especially in the city centre.

As in most of Germany, most pubs of any size serve meals, often quite traditional in nature and usually pretty good value. Of course, it will be pretty heavy on meaty and fried things, with the odd half pig plonked in front of you.
Public transport
Berlin has an extensive network of trams, trains and underground. In a city of this size, you're going to have to use public transport, unless you have your own chauffeur.

You can find out more at the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe site.

Berlin Pub Guide
East Berlin Pubs

A tale of two cities
Even after all this time, I still can't help thinking of Berlin as two cities. Hence I've split this guide into two: East Berlin and West Berlin..

Those unfamiliar with Berlin should note that the East has the city centre. And most of the grand public buildings. And trams.

Map Index

Brauhaus Mitte
Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 13,
10178 Berlin.
Tel. 030 - 3087 8989
Fax: 030 - 3087 8988
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 11:00-24:00
Number of draught beers: 4
Number of bottled beers: 5
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €2.50-9.50, meals €7-13. Beer €3 for 0.5l.
Brauerei Mitte is a brewpub on the first floor of a shopping centre close to the Rotes Rathaus (and Berlin Alexanderplatz station). It opened in 1994 and sells unfiltered beers.

It's a funny old place. The front is normal enough. Steps up to a terrace and the main entrance. But at the rear it just ends and a shopping centre begins. With no intervening wall. It's as if the back of the building has been demolished and replaced by shops. It being hot, we sat on the terrace. Great view of Alexanderplatz station and the trains and S-Bahns scurrying through it.

I ordered liver and mash and a Dunkles. I've been a bit reluctant to order mash since getting packet stuff in Sion in Cologne. Surely it couldn't happen again? Well it did. Why do they do it? Andrew's fried potatoes were freshly made and excellent "Do you want to swap spuds, Andrew?" "No, dad. Yours look crap." The Dunkles was a hazy pale brown with a vague flavour of caramel and hops. Though they struggled against the dulling effect of loads of yeast. There may have been a touch of liquorice,too. But that could have been wishful thinking. I gave it 40 out of 100. Dolores's Hefeweizen beer was significantly better. You know something? The best Dunkles I've had from a German-style brewpub in the last 5 years was in Golfbräu. And that's in Tunisia.

It was formerly called Alexander Bräu and Leopold's Brauhaus. The many changes of name is not a good sign.
Rating: ** Public transport: U-bahn U2, U8/S-bahn S3, S5, S6, S7, S9-bahn Alexanderplatz.

Alt-Berliner Weißbierstuben
Rathausstr. 21,
10178 Berlin-Mitte.

Tel.: 030 - 242 44 54
Fax: 030 - 247 198 24
Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 11:00-24:00
Number of draught beers: ?
Number of bottled beers: ?
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.
I'm delighted to be able to report the return of the Weissbierstuben.  Yet another bar in the Nikolaiviertel,  it's on the very  edge, just a few doors along from the Rotes Rathaus. During the final days of the DDR, this one one of my favourite spots for downing a few glasses of the delicious East-Berlin-brewed Weisse.

The idea is to recreate an old-fashioned Berlin Weisse pub. Somehow I can't imagine that back-street boozers ever looked quite this plush. Perhaps a bit too up-market to be 100% authentic. Still, it does sell all sorts of Weisse cocktails and is in a very useful location. Believe me, after a while in Berlin city centre you'll be happy to find anywhere half-decent to slake your thirst.

My enduring memory of this bar is watching two - rather sheepish looking, it must be said - East Berlin skinheads drinking a beer. That was in 1988, before such characters acquired a more sinister air.

The food, like the beer, is traditional Berlin style. There is outdoor seating for 120 people.
Rating: Public transport: U-bahn U2, U8/S-bahn S3, S5, S6, S7, S9 Alexanderplatz.

Zum Nußbaum
Am Nußbaum 3,
10178 Berlin-Mitte
Tel.: 030 - 242 30 95
Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 12:00-24:00
Number of draught beers: 3
Number of bottled beers: 5
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €3-6, meals €6-9. Beer €2.90 for 0.5 litre.
I just had to include another Nikolaiviertel pub, this time one of my great favourites, Zum Nußbaum. The exterior, with its enormous, steep roof, is a delight for the eye. The location - right opposite the Nikolai Kirche - is also top-class. If you can't find your way here, then you're beyond my help.

Nußbaum is not quite what it seems. Let's take a walk back through time, to those long gone days of the DDR. I've never quite been able to understand why the communist governments of eastern Europe got so slagged off for long-term planning. A look at the UK rail network demonstrates what happens when you decide to do without it. To celebrate Berlin's 750th anniversary in 1987, the East German authorities decided to rebuild the area around the Nikolai Kirche, which had been pretty much bombed flat in the war. The fact that it was here that Berlin took its first cautious steps on the journey to Weltstadt, must have made it appear an appropriate choice.

I generally have nothing but contempt for the bunglers claiming to be town planners, but this is one occasion when they got things spectacularly right. The buildings and the layout of the streets are deliberately small-scale and intimate, replicating the feel of an old town centre. Yet the majority of the buildings are unashamedly modern in their method of construction and detailing. Essentially, it's a "Plattenbau" type of flat, shaped into streets following a medieval street plan. It sounds dreadful if you describe it like that, but it is surprisingly effective. (It makes you realise that in the disastrous suburban housing estates of the postwar period - they're to be found in both East and West - the streetplan is main problem, not the flats themselves.) This is one of the rare occasions, when planners deserve a hefty pat on the back.

But the Nikolaiviertel isn't all Plattenbau. In some places famous old Berlin landmarks have been reconstructed, though mostly far from their original site. Nußbaum belongs in this group. Until 1943, when it fell victim to Allied bombs, it had been Berlin's oldest pub, dating from 1571. It wasn't in the centre, however, but in Alt-Cölln that the original was located. I'm only guessing here, but I suspect that it was chosen for reconstruction because: it was Berlin's oldest pub; it had strong associations with Zille, who had been a regular; they had plenty of detailed photos to work from.

Today, Nußbaum has a series of small, rather cramped rooms, which must mirror the original layout. No-one in their right mind would deliberately design a pub to be like this.  The furniture mimics the anarchic tendencies of the architecture. But you couldn't  fill rooms like these with a pristine set of modern tables and chairs. Now that would look daft.

The food is contemporary Thai/Californian crossover, with a touch of Vietnamese. No, it isn't. I'm just kidding. Of course, Nußbaum really provides a selection of traditional Berlin dishes.

In bottles, there's Berliner Kindl Weisse and three Schöfferhofer wheat beers.
Rating: *** Public transport: U-bahn U2, U8/S-bahn S3, S5, S6, S7, S9 Alexanderplatz.

Spreeufer 4,
10178 Berlin.
Tel.: (030) 242 42 44
Fax: (030) 242 58 70
Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 12:00-24:00 (January - March)
Mon - Sun - 10:00-24:00 (April - December)
Number of draught beers: 2
Number of bottled beers: ?
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.
Prices:Beer 3.05 euros for 40 cl.
Georgbräu is a large pub brewery in one of the modern buildings of the Nikolaiviertel. A collection of different sized rooms set out in the typical beer hall style - fairly simple furniture, lots of wood, big tables. Not a bad try at creating the traditional German beer pub in a modern building.

The terrace outside overlooking the River Spree (had I told you that the pub was on the river?. No, I didn't think I had. The address - Spree Ufer - is a hint for if you have a smattering of German and can remember the name of the river) is very scenic but, I have been warned, can be smelly in the Summer.

As is usual in the modern interpretation of a pub brewery, the copper viewing vessels are used as a decorative feature and are prominently placed in the bar. Around them are clumped a series of panelled rooms, furnished in a traditional, robust manner

The regular house beers are (how unusual) a pale and a dark lager. They aren't bad, but aren't anything special.
Rating: *** Public transport: U-bahn U2, U8/S-bahn S3, S5, S6, S7, S9 Alexanderplatz.

Zur Letzten Instanz
Waisenstraße 14-16,
10179 Berlin (Mitte).
Tel. 030 - 242 5528
Fax: 030 - 242 6891

Opening hours: Mon - Sat : 12:00-01:00
Sat: 12:00-23:00
Number of draught beers: 2
Number of bottled beers: ?
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.
It isn't a downtown crowded with soaring towers that an ambitious metropole needs to define its identity, but a pub that everyone can agree is the city's oldest. A lack of any real evidence to back the claim (which is often the case) isn't a problem, as long as you can achieve a general consensus.

Letzten Instanz is the undisputed champion survivor of Berlin's destructive history. Originally called "Biedermeierstübchen am Glockenspiel" it acquired its current name in 1924. Though, it only gained the honour by default, after all it's rivals were nobbled during WW II, first by the RAF and then by a rather clumsy Red Army. However, one of them wasn't going to let a little thing like total destruction get it down.

It took 40 years, but Nussbaum did do that rising thing that, you know, those birds with the serious fire mangement issues - what you call those things? it starts with a "P' - do. "Partridge?" Yeah, that's the one. So when Nussbaum arose like a partridge from its own ashes, they must have been shitting themselves down at the Instanz. Now, if they had rebuilt it en situ (that will be a fiver please Dave for my successful incorporation of all the required phrases), then Instanz could have been trying to swim in a lake of doo-doo.

Unless the builder had the foresight to carve the year over the door, any founding date before 1977 can be a bit vague. 1621 is the one chosen here. The 1 at the end is a subtle touch - it makes it so much more believable. A nice round date like 1620 would have been much more suspicious.

Not many people know this, but Berlin once had another wall - not the Antifascist Protection Barrier - but one they stuck up in the Middle Ages. What little remains is just around the corner from Letzten Instanz. With a history like Berlin's, you would have to be pretty thick to imagine finding more than a couple of stones.
(Talking of thickoes, I have to tell you a story about about learning from experience. We were having a quite animated conversation, my manager and I, as usual. He had a several anger management issues. Though nothing like as serious as his management management issues: being a useless, incompetent bully with a hearing challenge - an inability to listen to anyone but himself. I've rarely been shocked by anything I've heard at work, but this sent a shiver right to the toes of my DM's. Whilst trying to explain one of his characteristic get-angry-first-think-later moments (later being 2077) he claimed to have deliberately used "simulated anger" as a method of "getting me back on track". Sitting firmly on the rails, I felt humbled by his unerring ability to select exactly the wrong approach to solve any problem. An outside observer remarked to him that, as the later sequence of events proved to be true, his "simulated" shouting and "simulated" turning purple in the face (I would love to have such total control my body) had not produced their intended result, perhaps other tactics would have been more appropriate.

Human being: "If you had the chance now, knowing how badly wrong things went the first time, to act differently, would you?

Manager: "No"

Few have ever spoken so eloquently on the need to give managers the freedom to manage. Isn't the greatest part of intelligence this: the ability to analyse our past actions, observe their effect on those around us and, if the end result is not what was expected, to modify our behaviour until we get the response we want? I was impressed by my manager's radically different approach to conflict resolution. Keep shouting long enough (but do remember to keep your mind and ears firmly shut) until you get what you want, My youngest son (or Psycho Kid, as some of my less tolerant friends call him) is very committed to this approach. But, as years pass we all mellow. He's almost five now, and clever enough to realise that screaming until you get your own way, isn't always the best approach to social interaction.

I want to know this: at what age does a manager acquire analytical skills equal to those of a five-year hyperactive sociopath?

Is it just me, or is there no greater pleasure than sitting opposite a twat manager, seeing how purple you can get his face to turn? (Unless it's making bets with colleagues on how many minutes he can speak before saying "proactive". His record is two.)
The charming, old-fashioned wooden interior was rescued and tastefully repaired in 1961-63 after extensive war damage. If you see photos of the state it was in after 1945, you might well wonder how on earth it was able to open at all before the renovation. It has a rambling, anarchic layout, with rooms on different levels. Just what you would expect of a pub which has grown and evolved over a couple of hundred years.

To the left of the entrance is a small bar counter topped with a porcelain beer tap, surrounded by a few stand-up tables and a tiled stove. This is very typical of traditional Berlin bars. Panelled walls, red flagged floors and rickety old furniture are the recurring themes in a series of rooms which stretch over 3 houses and two stories. Some old enamel beer signs and a few old prints form the only additional decoration. It's sad to think how rare this sort of bar - once typical of Berlin - has become. I have a horrible feeling that the war can't take all the blame.

Not a great deal has changed since re-unification, except that the landlord (who has been behind the bar since 1986) has taken over the property from the HO. Let's hope that's how things stay. The centre of Berlin can't afford to lose any of its few remaining original pubs.

A surprisingly cosy pub in an otherwise pretty dismal part of the city. There is a small beer garden in the Summer.
Rating: **** Public transport: U-bahn U2 Klosterstraße.

Lemkes Spezialitätenbrauerei GmbH
S-Bahnbogen 143,
10178 Berlin (Mitte)

Tel.: (030) 247 28 727
Fax: (030) 247 28 728
Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 12:00-24:00
Number of draught beers: 4
Number of bottled beers: 0
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €5-8, meals €8-25. Beer €3.70-3.90 for 0.5 l.
Lemke's is a large, modern brewpub in railway arches just along from Hackescher Markt S-Bahn station. It produces two regular beers and a variety of seasonals.

Me and Andrew had picked Lemke's as a possible lunch destination for one reason. The "Sausages of the World" section on the menu. The "world" is stretching it a bit. Bavarian varieties are as exotic as it gets. While everyone works out their food requirements, I get on with beer drinking. I know what I want to eat. Schweinehaxe. Haven't had that for years. Last time was in the Paulaner pub in Stuttgart. The day I broke my first ankle. Maybe that's why I haven't had it since. I should be safe. I already have a broken bone.

Lemke Amber Ale. Hazy amber colour, little head. A little caramel in the aroma. In the mouth, there's no discernible malt, just tobacco, grass and resin from the hops. Not quite sure what they were aiming for with this. It doesn't taste particularly Ale-like. 47 out of 100.

We're in the beer garden. It's very pleasant, except for when an S-Bahn rumbles by overhead. That's about every 60 seconds. It soon gets to Lexie. "I hate that stupid noise." Screech, screech, screech. A train takes the corner. "Make it stop, dad." "You know I can't do that. Not until I'm made Stalin. Then I can do what I like." A man at the next table tells his companions that the train wheels regularly shoot stones out into the beer garden. The rest of the family hasn't heard. I'm not about to pass on something so worrying. Just like I didn't tell Dolores about the mouse I spotted scurrying around the hotel ("It's a hostel, dad.") garden the first evening. I'd never have got her to sit there again.

The kids have been given colour-in placemats and crayons. Lexie draws the Death Star blowing up a planet. How sweet. I'm sure the Empire's spin-doctors would have thought of a more user-friendly name. Life Star. Regeneration Star. Freedom Star. Something like that. My Schweinehaxe has nice crackling on it. The fried spuds are pretty good, too. Andrew is enthusiastically tucking into his gourmet sausage. Some sort of bratwurst filled with cheese. He's getting as bad as Wallace. Time for another beer.

Lemke Original. Hazy, pale brown colour. Nuts and chocolate aroma. I won't bother going into much detail for the rest. It has the half-rotten vegetables flavour of a fermentation problem. I score it 15 out of 100. And I'm being generous. I just about manage to force most of it down. I only gag five or six times.

I'm losing the will to visit any more brewpubs. At least Berliner Pilsener tastes pleasant.
Rating: * Public transport: S-Bahn Line S3, S5, S7, S9 Hackescher Markt
S-Bahn Line S1, S2 Oranienburger Straße
U-Bahn Line U8 Weinmeister Straße
Tram Line 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 15 Hackescher Markt
Tram Linie 53, 13 Hackescher Markt

Eck Große Hamburger Straße 37,
10115 Berlin.

Tel.: 030 - 282 21 09
Fax: 030 - 285 99 860
Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 12:00-24:00
Number of draught beers: 7
Number of bottled beers: 6
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks 3-7 euros, meals 6-12 euros, beer around 3 euros for a half litre.
Central Berlin is much richer in historical buildings than may at first seem the case. The district stretching out behind Hackescher Markt is a good example. It's here that you can find one of the largest concentrations of pre-1870 buildings in the city. Towards the end of the DDR era, a good deal of effort was expended in returnng Sophienstrasse and neighbouring streets to something like their original appearance. Time and money very well spent, if you ask me.

Sophieneck occupies a triangular plot at the junction of Große Hamburger Straße and Sophienstraße. It's a traditional corner pub with a few seats on the pavement. It has a simple interior with film and beer memorabilia scattered around the walls. Wooden floors, and uncomplicated wooden furniture are the order of the day. It seems a fair try at a slightly fashionable and contemporary take on the traditional Berlin kneipe.

Unusually for Berlin, you can find both Kölsch and Alt on draught. Not a bad beer range for a non-specialist outlet.
Rating: Public transport: S-Bahn Line S3, S5, S7, S9 Hackescher Markt
S-Bahn Line S1, S2 Oranienburger Straße
U-Bahn Line U8 Weinmeister Straße
Tram Line 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 15 Hackescher Markt
Tram Linie 53, 13 Hackescher Markt

Deponie Nr. 3
Georgenstraße 187,
10117 Berlin.
Tel. 030-20165740
Fax: 030- 44731530
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 09:00 - open end
Sat - Sun: 10:00 - open end
Number of draught beers: 6
Number of bottled beers: 7
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €6-9, meals €7-12. Beer €2.50-3.00 for 0.5 litre.
Deponie Nr.3 may not be the most memorable name I've ever encountered, but it is in a very handy central location. by  Friedrichstraße station (how many delightful hours I've spent there queuing up to get a day visa). There is an explanation for the odd name: this used to be the tank garage of the NVA barracks Friedrich Engels.  Only at the end of 1992 was it opened as a pub (there probably wasn't much space for tables between the T-62s).

It's another pub located in the arches under the S-Bahn, this time between Friedrichstrasse and Museuminsel.

The interior is a mixture of traditional Berlin kneipe and industrial chic. If you think that sounds a strange juxtaposition, well, I'm not going to argue wuth you. I'm starting to tire of ducting. The various items of furniture (including a substatial carved bar back) that have been looted from old corner pubs can't be faulted, but look ill at ease in their cavernous surroundings. Let's try to look on the bright side. It could be so much worse.

Music Thursday and Friday. Beer garden. Has no fixed closing time.
Rating: ** Public transport: U-bahn U6, S-bahn S1, S2, S3, S7, S9, S25, S45 Friedrichstraße.

10178 Berlin
Tel. 030 - 2476985
Opening hours: Mon - Fri 16:00 - open end
Sat - Sun - 10:00 - open end
Number of draught beers: 3
Number of bottled beers: ?
Regular draught beers:
  • Marcus-Bräu Pils Hell
  • Marcus-Bräu Dunkel
Seasonal beers:
  • Honey-Sun (Honigbier)
  • Kriek (Kirschbier)
  • Merrens-Bock 7%
Brewpub, reputedly the smallest brewery in Berlin. Very bravely, its brewer has ditched the Reinheitsgebot and as a consequence can brew a whole range of beer styles that are normally impossible in Germany.
Rating: Public transport:

Mommseneck-Am Potsdamer Platz
Alte Potsdamer Straße,
10785 Berlin.
Tel: 030 - 2529 6635
Fax: 030 - 2529 6609
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 11:00 - 24:00
Number of draught beers: 12
Number of bottled beers: 100
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €4-10, meals €9-17. Beer €4.20 for 0.5l.
This is a new city-centre version of the Mommseneck in Charlottenberg. The formula is much the same as the original - lots of German lagers, some international pilsners and the odd interesting beer.

Mommenseneck am Potsdamer Platz, to give it it's full title, is a specialist beer pub. The first Mommenseneck is somewhere in West Berlin. This one only opened recently. It doesn't look like much from the street, but opens out inside to a sizable pub with a beer garden.

There are engravings and photos of old Berlin town everywhere. Some are larger than my bed. They're going for the nostalgia look, which is rather at odds with the building itself. That's new and shiny. With lots of glass. You know the type of thing.

I sit at the bar and take a look at the beer menu. They have 100 bottled. As they're listed in no particular order, it takes a while to make sense of it. A few Belgians are scattered around it, including a couple of Trappists. Fair enough. Though 4.80 for Westmalle Tripel is a bit steep. But there's also some real shit: Miller Genuine Daft, Castlemaine XXXX, Red Stripe.

I'm not going to drink a Belgian beer in Berlin. Something German. Not Aventinus, either. I can get that in Holland. I know, Andechs Spezial Hell. Never had that.

Andechs Spezial Hell. Pale yellow and fizzy. Grass, vanilla and pepper flavours skip across my tongue. Is it trudge dejectedly? It's OK, but tastes a bit old. Though the sell by date is in 2009. 49 out of 100.

I wasn't totally taking the piss complaining of my aching toe. We've made two death mmarches already today. That's three too many. Twenty minutes and the family aren't back. Time for another beer. Oh look. They have traditional Berlin schnapps. I fancy a Kummel. Best be quick before Dolores gets back. What to go with it? Riedenburger Urbier. Don't think I've tried that before. The family arrives just as my two drinks are placed in front of me. Shit. "What's that?" Dolores points at my Kummel schnapps accusingly. "Vodka!" guesses Lexie.

"Do you want to drink my beer?" I try to distract Dolores. "Did you find a toyshop?" "No. It's all clothes. Except for one bookshop."
Rating: ** Public transport:

Neue Promenade 5,
10178 Berlin-Mitte.
Tel: 030 - 2576 2871
Fax: Fax 030 - 2576 2869
Opening hours: Mon - Fri :00 - ,
Sat 10:00 -
Number of draught beers: 6
Number of bottled beers: 5
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €3-10, meals €14-18. Beer €3.60 for 0.5l.
You would never have guessed it, but this pub close to Hackeschen Markt sells the full range of Weihenstephaner beers. In addition, they also offer Bavarian food.
Rating: Public transport:

Schwarzwaldstuben Berlin
Tucholskystrasse 48,
10117 Berlin.

Tel: 030 - 2809 8084
Opening hours:
Number of draught beers: 10
Number of bottled beers: 4
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €3-8, meals €6-13. Beer €2.90 for 0.5 l.
A pub with beer from Baden-Württemberg (home of the Schwarzwald). And St.Louis Kriek from Belgium, which is a bit off-theme.

There are more beers from Rothaus in the bottle. Well worth trying and extremely rare this far north.
Rating: Public transport:

Restauration Tucholsky
Torstr. 189,
10117 Berlin - Mitte.

Tel: 030 - 281 7349
Fax: 030 - 285 8016
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 12:00 - ???
Number of draught beers: 4
Number of bottled beers:
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €4-8, meals €8-14.
Traditional pub with a beer garden.
Rating: Public transport: S-Bahn Rosenthaler Platz

Oranienburger Str. 67,
10117 Berlin-Mitte.

Tel. 030-2804 7407
Fax 030-2804 7409
Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 12:00 - 02:00
Number of draught beers: ?
Number of bottled beers: 100
Regular draught beers:
A trendy pub selling more than 100 different beers and 40 types of whisky.
Rating: Public transport: S-bahn Oranienburgerstrasse.

Metzer Eck
Metzerstrasse 33,
10405 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg.
Tel: 030 4427656
Metzer Eck 2005
Opening hours: Mon - Fri 16:00 - 01:00,
Sun: 18:00 - 01:00
Number of draught beers: 5
Number of bottled beers:
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.
It is only a short walk to Alexanderpiatz from where you can take the U-Bahn to Prenzlauer Berg. Take the line in the direction Pankow (Vinetastrasse) and get off at Senefelderpiatz. This will bring you to within a hundred metres of the next stopping off point, the Metzer Eck (16-1) on the corner of Metzerstrasse and Strassbourgerstrasse.

The street has the crumbling plaster facades typical of the whole area, but don't be put off by the apparent delapidation, for this is the real Berlin. The Metzer Eck is a small pub, which somehow managed to remain in private hands throughout the DDR period.
Rating: Public transport:

Restauration 1900
Husemannstr. 1,
10435 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg.

Tel: 030 - 442 2494
Fax: 030 - 4405 9031
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 10:00 - 01:00
Number of draught beers: 4
Number of bottled beers: 12
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €4-8, meals €9-15. Beer €2.90 for 0.4 litre.
Restauration 1900 isn't the snappiest name I've heard, but it is accurate. It's a restored corner local, dating from the start of the 20th century.

Towards the end of the DDR period, Husemannstrasse was restored to something like its original appearance. Unlike most of Prenzlauer Berg, where the crumbling plaster facades were still pock-marked from wartime bullets.

Inside it's simple, but cosy. Old photos of Husemannstrasse, illustrating the many changes it has undergone, form the main decoration. It's depressing to see how the restored shop fronts have been replaced by typical crappy modern ones since reunification.

It has a small beer garden.
Rating: **** Public transport: U-Bahn Senefelder Platz

Husemannstraße 2,
10435 Berlin - Prenzlauer Berg.

Tel: 030 - 442 7125
Fax 030 - 440 7730
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 09:00 - 01:00
Number of draught beers: 3
Number of bottled beers: 7
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €3-8, meals €9-15. Beer €3.20 for 0.5 l.
A pub restaurant handily placed opposite Restauration 1900. Supposedly in the Bauhaus style, but I don't really see it myself. What I can't argue about, is that it's light and airy inside.

Amongst the bottled beers is Berliner Kindl Weisse.
Rating: Public transport: U-Bahn Senefelder Platz

Lindenbräu am Potsdamer Platz
Bellevuestraße 3-5,
10785 Berlin (in Sony-Center).
Tel.: (030) 2575 1280
Fax: (030) 2572 1299
Opening hours:
Number of draught beers: 2
Number of bottled beers: ?
Regular draught beers:
  • Hopfinger Edelhelles (unfiltered)
  • Weissbier (unfiltered)
Food: Snacks, meals. Beer costs 3.10 euros for a half litre.
One of the more recent additions to Berlin's brewpubs. Here at Potsdamer Platz they have tried to build a new city centre for Berlin. And here was me thinking that the two they already have is one too many.

I know that Potsdammer Platz is a prestige project, but silver plating the brewing vessels is just a little too flash for me. I believe them 100% when they claim their kit is the only one of its kind in the world. No-one else would be so pointlessly extravagant. It doesn't look any different to me from stainless steel. Somewhere between kitsch and contemporary must have been the designer's brief.

The food is a Bavarian and Austrian in style, which will do me just fine. The prices (10-15 euros for a a main course) can't be moaned about, either.

The brewpub is owned and run by Hofbräuhaus Traunstein (it's amazing how many Hofbräus they have in Bavaria), who just happen to brew one of my favourite beers in the Spezial style.
Rating: Public transport:

Schloßplatzbrauerei Cöpenick
Grünstr. 24,
12555 Berlin.
Tel: 0177 - 432 9541
Fax: 069 - 153 9623 7550
Opening hours: Mon - Fri :00 - ,
Sat 10:00 -
Number of draught beers: 3
Number of bottled beers: 4
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €4-9. Beer €2.90 for 0.5l.
Brewpub in the historic suburb of Köpenick that is supposedly the smallest brewery in Germany. It´s in what looks like a shed in the middle of a square.
Rating: Public transport: Tram 62 or 68,
bus 167,
S-Bahn S3 to station Köpenick

Ratskeller Köpenick:
Alt-Köpenick 21,
12555 Berlin.

Tel.: 030 - 655 5178
Fax: 030 - 6547 2749
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 11:00 - 23:00
Number of draught beers: 4
Number of bottled beers: 5
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €4-8, meals €9-15. Beer around €3 for 0.5 l.
A personal inclusion here. I first drank Tokay in this cellar restaurant beneath Köpenick town hall. You could try recreating that momentous event, but I doubt that a bottle still costs 3 M. (One of the most romantic and memorable meals of my life cost little more than the price of a pint in Hampstead. It sums up the DDR - good value.)

You have to hand it to the Germans when it comes to being practical. Who else uses the empty space under a public building as a boozer?

Köpenick is a rather pleasant small lakeside town that has been swallowed up by Berlin. Frederick the Great had a pad here. Perhaps he was equally bored by the pretentious brutalism of Berlin city centre.
Rating: Public transport: Tram 26, 60, 62, 63, 67 and 68 to Rathaus Köpenick:

Bräustübl der Berliner Bürgerbräu
Müggelseedamm 164,
12587 Berlin
Tel: 030 - 64 55 716
Fax: 030 - 645 16 58
Opening hours: Tue - Sat 12:00 - 24:00,
Sun 11:00 - 24:00,
Monday closed.
Number of draught beers:3
Number of bottled beers:2
Regular draught beers:
Food:Snacks, meals.
The brewery tap of Berlin´s last industrial-strength independent brewery. It has several rooms (of varying degrees of grandness) and a beer garden. In the Köpenick district.
Rating: Public transport:S-Bahnhof S3 to Friedrichshagen
Tram 60 & 61 to stop Müggelseedamm/Bölschestraße

Berlin Pub Guide
Berlin Shops

Karl-Marx-Allee 56,
10243 Berlin.
Tel: 030 - 249 21 46
Opening hours: Mon - Fri 10:00 - 19:30,
Sat 10:00 - 14:30
Number of draught beers: 0
Number of bottled beers: 500
Regular draught beers:
A specialist beer shop in Friedrichshain.
Rating: Public transport: U-Bahn: Strausberger Platz

Questions? Suggestions? Click to email me.

More German Beer Pages
German pub guides German Brewery Pages
Augsburg Pub Guide The breweries of Bamberg
Bamberg Pub Guide The breweries of Berlin
Berlin Pub Guide The breweries of Baden-Württemberg
Duisburg Pub Guide The breweries of the Former DDR
Düsseldorf Pub Guide The breweries of Düsseldorf
Eisenach Pub Guide The breweries of Munich
Goslar Pub Guide
The breweries of Cologne
Hamburg Pub Guide  
Hannover Pub Guide  
Cologne (Köln) Pub Guide German Beer Articles
Leipzig Pub Guide The Trouble with German Beer
Munich Pub Guide Old German Beer Styles
Nürnberg (Nuremberg) Pub Guide German Beer Statistics
Ratingen Pub Guide Why the Reinheitsgebot is old bollocks
Stuttgart Pub Guide Buying German Beer in the USA
More Beer Pages
Main index page

© Ron Pattinson 2000 - 2010

All articles and photos on these pages (unless otherwise stated) are property of Ron Pattinson. If you would like permission to reproduce either on your own site or in a book, please contact me first.