Berlin is a place where cool and contemporary meets deep-rooted history. It is a city where the Christopher Isherwood image that enticed David Bowie meddles seamlessly with the current hip scene. Each street has a story to tell and a bartender waiting to tell it. Berlin is a hub for all things cultural, and these days, where culture goes, craft ales follow as the boom of micro-brewing has well and truly made a return.
Whether you are just after a light refreshment while marvelling at the museums, recording studios, galleries and notable artefacts of history, or you are delving into the rather more decadent side of the old Berlin, there is usually a tasty beverage somewhere nearby. It was a city where many things flowed in its decadent heyday, but in the refined present, it seems like craft beer is the brew of choice.
We have happily done the research and hunted out the hippest and best quality ale establishments we could find in Berlin, and curated them in the list below. What’s more, with new joints cropping up all over the city, there is certainly scope for a part two of this list as the city throws up ever more cool and creative bars.
The best craft beer bars in Berlin:
Zum Starken August
This bar has six international and local craft beers on tap and over 20 different styles of bottle craft beers also. Paying homage to the owner’s roots, this bar was renovated to feel like a family circus. Thus, it might not be the quietest craft abode in town, but it may well be the most colourful.
There are great comfy sofas for you to chill in and enjoy the various acts they have live on a regular basis. You can enjoy burlesque dancing, bingo, live performances and, of course, porno karaoke… because why not? Fans of the Wim Wenders film Wings of Desire starring Nick Cave might find it happily reminiscent of the circus scene depicted therein.
Location: Schönhauser Allee 56, 10437 Berlin.
Kaschk is the bar for the beer purist, particularly if you have a nose for the Scandinavian stuff. Here you will find a mixture of both Nordic and local German craft beer all wrapped in a chic setting in walking distance of the Romanesque Pergamonmuseum.
Kaschk also has a strong ethos of quality coffee if you find yourself there a little too early in the day to engage in stronger sup. The well-rounded establishment also offers up a range of taster boards, allowing you to tackle a quartet of beers to test out the palette and leave suitably served without breaking the bank.
Location: Linienstraße 40, 0119 Berlin.
Hops & Barley
If the trick to travelling is really to go ‘where the locals go’ then Hops & Barley is a safe bet for craft ale fans. With a focus on locally produced craft beer housed in an old butcher shop, Hops & Barley offers up the sort of laidback experience that you imagine Franz Kafka reclining in during his stint in the city.
Packed with locals, this is a great venue to visit on a trip to Berlin. On tap, you will usually find four own microbrew options and a cider. Local ‘brewmeisters’ produce seasonal ales such as Indian Pale Ale or Berstein. And after a few of those, you may well be sharing Kafka’s thoughts when he mused: “Even I am feeling the bracing effect of Berlin, or more so, I know I would get to feel it if I relocated to Berlin.”
Location: Wühlischstraße 22/23, 10245 Berlin.
Located on the outskirts of Schönenberg, this craft bar is firmly placed in Bowie territory for any fans to peruse the sights of ‘The Starman’ and Iggy Pop by day and slip into the bar when the time is right. With a suitably bohemian/industrial vibe, this stowed away shipping container shack is a cracking culture, craft ale and quick snack coliseum.
Brewed artisanally in small quantities, Helles, Pale Ale, and Weisse are available to order among a slew of specials. The three founders Katherina, Christian and Michael’s BRLO craft beer has made a name for itself as a fan favourite too.
Location: Schöneberger Str. 16, 10963 Berlin.
If you agree that craft ales are best enjoyed with an air of cosiness, then this is the bar for you. Living up to the name, Home Bar offers up a nook and cranny living room vibe away from the bustle of the city, unsurprisingly, creating a home from home feel (especially if you’re British, expect pot noodles and more). When the debauched and decades side of Berlin gets to be a bit too much, you can take shelter in this old cubby hole and quaff some genuine quality.
With a collection of over 30 bottles from around the world and eight craft beers on tap, Home Bar is a must for any beer lover. This place goes to great lengths to get in unique beers and have a rotating tap of guest beers, as well as their own ‘beer float.’
Location: Neue Bahnhofstraße 23, 10245 Berlin.
When we recently spoke to the central protagonist behind the Cold War punk scene in the divided city, Mr Mark Reeder, he told us: “It’s an on-growing, ever-developing process. New artists and projects are springing up all the time. The same kind of people who have always come to Berlin, still come to Berlin. The misfits of society. The shirkers and draft dodgers, the gay guys, the crazies and weird arty types. They discover themselves and their creative potential here. They also meet like-minded people everywhere and pool their creativity.”
The three American friends behind Vagabund Brauerei may well agree with that sentiment as they rocked up in Berlin and got creative with craft ales. They have created something magical with their nano-brewery and tap-room. Expect a frequent rotation of beer styles in this bar with a few regulars on tap and a variety of bottled ales. Due to their brewing of small amounts, you never know what you might find in this beer hub.
Location: Antwerpener Str. 3, 13353 Berlin.
With over 150 beers from all over the world and a quality whiskey variety, Monterey Bar offers some of the finest variety that the city has to offer. If Berlin is a kaleidoscopic melee in itself, then Monterey Bar is a suitably reflective watering hole.
This rock ‘n’ roll style bar opened in 2013 and plays classic ’70s rock and metal. Owners Andie and Vanessa have created a friendly and cosy environment in this must-see bar. With the relaxing pastel of purple just about everywhere, this is for cutting loose but keeping it casual.
Location: Danziger Str. 61, 10435 Berlin.
Brewing German beer since 2001, Brauerei Eschenbräu is a great place to drink the night away under the stars in the leafy terrace if that’s what you’re looking for. With a summer party atmosphere, it proves a superb place to meet in the heart of the Sprengelkiez district.
Alas, if it’s a bit chilly in Berlin, then in the winter the cosy basement offers a refuge as people flock together to escape the harsh cold weather to enjoy a quality drink. With brewing equipment strewn around the place, Brauerei Eschenbräu is the sort of establishment that reminds you of the simple beauty of great company and a cold brew.
Location: Triftstraße 67, 13353 Berlin.
If you’re in Berlin then the Kreuzberg markets prove a must-see, and if you’re in the Kreuzberg markets, then Heidenpeters proves equally essential therein. It has been brewing beer since 2012 in small batches to assure consistent quality ales.
Their market stand in Markthalle Neun has six craft brews, usually American Pale Ale, IPA and other experimental brews. Whether a local or tourist, Heidenpeters is a must. It’s the sort of hip vibe that suits craft ales like Blixa Bargeld suited the Bad Seeds.
Location: Eisenbahnstraße 42-43, 10997 Berlin.
Castle Pub – Craft Bar
With 20 craft beers on tap each week and more than 100 bottles, Castle Pub – Craft Bar is one of the biggest and best places to find craft beers in Berlin. What’s more, for British and Irish tourists, it might almost seem like a home from home with its quirky ale house vibe.
The Irish pub has a cool atmosphere and frequent events on each night such as comedy nights and pub quizzes this is a must for any Berlin lovers tourist or not. Berlin is a city with brimming culture and few bars celebrate that alongside the ales quite like Castle Pub, complete with plenty of outside space and a sports screen to boot.
Location: Invalidenstraße 129, 10115 Berlin.