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

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
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West Berlin Pub Listings
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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 9th Internationales Berliner Bierfestival will take place on 5-7th August 2005. 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 Pub Guide
West Berlin Pubs

Map Index

Paulaner's im Spreebogen
Alt Moabit 98,
10559 Berlin-Mitte.

Tel 030 - 3988 1426
Opening hours: Mon - Sat 11:00 - 24:00,
Sun 11:00 - 22:00
Number of draught beers: 4
Number of bottled beers: 4
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €4-8, meals 9-15. Beer €3.10 for 0.5 l.
A large beerhall selling Bavarian beer and food. One of Paulaner's chain of tied houses.
Rating: Public transport: U-Bahn Turmstraße, S-Bahn Bellevue

Restaurantkneipe Café Giraffe
Klopstockstraße 2,
10557 Berlin-Tiergarten.

Tel: 030 - 3435 1690
Fax: 030 - 3435 1691
Em Mail
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 08:00 - 02:00
Number of draught beers: 6
Number of bottled beers: 10
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €5-10, meals €8-15. Beer €2 for 0.4 l.
A modern, single-storey building. The giraffe on the roof makes it easy to spot.

Opens for breakfast at 8 o' clock.
Rating: Public transport: U-Bahn Hansaplatz, S-Bahn Tiergarten

Bräuhaus Rixdorf
Glasowerstraße 27,
12051 Berlin.

Tel.: (030) 626 88 80
Fax: (030) 6284 0073
Opening hours: Mon closed
Tue - Sat: 12:00-01:00
Sun 10:00-23:00

Number of draught beers: 3
Number of bottled beers: ?
Regular draught beers:
  • Rix-Dunkel
  • Rix-Hell
Food: Snacks, meals.
Pub brewery which, after an unhappy time with its original management, was taken over by Joh. Albrecht in 1994. It now appears to be independent again and has reverted to its original name.

It is housed on the site of a former iron foundry in the art-nouveau owner's house.

In addition to the two regular beers (pale and dark lagers) there is usually also a sesonal beer on tap. It also has a beer garden.
Rating: Public transport: U-bahn U7 Grenzallee

Brauhaus J.Albrecht Zum Alten Fritz
Karolinenstraße 12,
13507 Berlin.
Tel. 433 5010
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 11:00-01:00
Fri - Sat 11:00-03:00
Number of draught beers: 2
Number of bottled beers: ?
Regular draught beers:
  • Messing
  • Kupfer
Food: Snacks, meals.
Pub brewery in the north Berlin suburb of Tegel opened in 1992. The pub itself is called Zum Alten Fritz (after Frederick the Great). The Messing is a pale beer and the Kupfer a dark beer. The company has another pub brewery in Neukölln. It has a large restaurant which seats 250 people. In the Summer, there is a beergarden which holds 450.
Rating: Public transport: S-bahn S1, Bus 101, 117.

Brauhaus Lemke am Schloß Charlottenburg
Luisenplatz 1,
10585 Berlin (by Schloß Charlottenburg)
Tel.: (030) 341 93 88
Fax: (030) 342 50 66
Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 09:00-24:00
Number of draught beers: 3
Number of bottled beers: ?
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.
Pub brewing its own unfiltered beers since 1987. Occasional seasonal beers.

Its early opening time allows it to have special offers for breakfast. I know that I always find a pint or two goes down a treat with my bacon and eggs.

Formerly called Luisebräu.
Rating: Public transport: U-bahn U7 Richard-Wagner-Platz

Mommsen-Eck Haus der 100 Bieren
Mommsenstr. 45.
10629 Berlin.
Tel: 030 - 324 2580
Fax: 030 - 324 7498
Opening hours: Mon - Sat 08:00- 01:00,
Sun 09:00- 01:00
Number of draught beers: 14
Number of bottled beers: 100
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €3-9, meals €7-14. Beer €3.95 for 0.5l.
A corner pub in the centre of West Berlin with, for Germany, an unusally large choice of beers.

The beer list is rather dominated by lagers, especially German lagers. There are a few good ones - Schlenkerla Maerzen, for example - but rather too many dull international brands like San Miguel and Heineken. A few stronger Belgians provide about the only real variety.
Rating: Public transport:

Brauhaus zu Spandau
Neuendorferstraße 1,
13585 Berlin.
Tel.: (030) 353 9070
Fax: (030) 353 90711
Opening hours:
Number of draught beers: 1
Number of bottled beers: 6
Regular draught beers: Spandauer Havelbräu 5.2%
Food: Snacks, meals.
Brewery opened in February 1995 in the former laundry of the Spandau barracks. The large building has the look of an old brewery an even includes a small hotel with 6 rooms.

The beer is unfiltered and darker than standard lagers. As is usual with brewpubs, there is at least one seasonal beer on draught at any given time.
Rating: Public transport:

Bergmann 103
Bergmannstr. 103,
10961 Berlin Kreuzberg.

Tel.: 030 694 8323
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 09:30 - 01:00
Number of draught beers: 4
Number of bottled beers: 5
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €3-8, meals €8-14. Beer €3.50 for 0.5 l.
A large, modernish pub restaurant in Kreuzberg. Perhaps they should try thinking up a name. Bergmann 103 is just the address.
Rating: Public transport: U-Bahn: U7, U6 Mehringdamm

Brauerei Eschenbräu
Triftstraße 67,
13353 Berlin-Wedding.
Tel: 0162 - 493 1915 or 030 - 462 6837
Opening hours: Mon - Sun 17:00 - open end
Number of draught beers: 4
Number of bottled beers:
Regular draught beers:
Brewpub hidden away in a housing estate. Has a beer garden. This what Gazza has to say about it:
"As has been said to me a few times, this is an unusual place. A sort of „alternative“ type venue in the inner courtyard of a large block of Stalinist flats with the brewery visible through large windows above. A small cellar-bar serves as the brewery tap and has the usual 3 regular beers on sale – Pils, Dunkel and Weiss – plus specials if you’re lucky; the next one will be Alter Schwede on 02 December! All beers were rather average, unfortunately.

From Leopoldplatz U-Bahn (U6 and U9 interchange) walk down Luxemburgerstrasse for 50 metres and turn left into Genterstrasse. Continue down here until the end where the aforementioned block of flats is located; head round the right-hand side, through a kind of garden, then turn left into the courtyard following the signs and you’ll come see the brewery on your right at eye-level. Pub is down the steps below. It’s easier to find than it sounds."
Rating: Public transport: U-Bahn U6 or U9 to Leopoldplatz

Flensburger Str. /im S-Bahnbogen 415,
10557 Berlin.
Tel: 030 -3990 5156
Opening hours: Mon - Fri 10:00 - 23:00,
Sat - Sun 16:00 - 23:00
Number of draught beers:
Number of bottled beers:
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.
Brewpub and bakery. Here´s what Gazza has to say:
"The newest brewpub in Berlin, so new that the production beers won’t be on until 28th November! Similar to Lemkes (it’s in a railway arch) situated just west of Bellevue station. The tiny brewplant in the window will brew specials all year round apparently, and the food sounds good too. We had to make do with a beer from Eschenbräu as the owner wouldn’t let me blag any of his beer!

Take the S-Bahn to Bellevue. Exit station and walk beside the north of the arches along Flensburger Strasse – you’ll see the brewplant in the 6th arch along after crossing Bartningallee."
Rating: Public transport: S-Bahn to Bellevue

Brauhaus Südstern
Hasenheide 69,
10967 Berlin.
Tel: 030-6900 1624
Fax: 030-6900 1625
Opening hours: Mon - Sat 14:00 - ,
Sun 10:00 -
Number of draught beers: 4
Number of bottled beers:
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €4-8, meals 9-15. Beer €3.10 for 0.5 l.
A large modern brewpub.
Rating: Public transport: U-Bahn Südstern

Berlin Pub Guide
Berlin Shops

Schillerstraße 103,
10625 Berlin.
Tel: 030 - 312 4726
Fax: 030 - 3150 3343
Opening hours: Mon - Fri 10:00 - 18:00,
Sat 10:00 - 13:00
Number of draught beers: 0
Number of bottled beers: 600
Regular draught beers:
A shop which supposedly has the largest selection of beer in Berlin.
Rating: Public transport:

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