The Best Bars In Berlin

Our favorite spots for a night out, in a city that’s full of them.
Pair of cocktails on wooden table at Nathanja & Heinrich

photo credit: Florian Kroll

Berlin is famous for its nightlife, but going out here can be so much more than queuing up for hours at a club only to get your ego shattered at the door. This city is packed with bars that don’t close their doors until well after midnight, and there’s a drinking spot to suit any mood or occasion, whether you want to sip martinis by candlelight, neck a few glasses of natural wine while listening to a DJ set, or brave the sticky interior of a Kneipe, Germany’s take on a locals’ pub or dive bar.

Wherever you end up, there are three main things to know about Berlin bars: many of them still allow smoking inside, eye contact when saying “Cheers!”—or “Prost!”—is mandatory, and ordering a round of Mexikaner shots is the secret to making friends. Other than that, make sure you get at least one bright-green gin basil smash when you see it on the menu. In our opinion, it’s Germany’s second-best invention (the first is Aspirin, which you might need after visiting a few of these spots).


photo credit: Florian Kroll



$$$$Perfect For:Drinking Good CocktailsHappy Hour
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Fahimi Bar is nearly impossible to find, but even still, it’s packed Tuesday through Saturday. The inside looks like an AI-generated vision of a Berlin bar: there are bare concrete walls, metal backless stools lining a lit-up blue square bar, and thick clouds of cigarette smoke. If you can, grab a spot by the window that looks out over the chaotic Kotti roundabout from the third floor. And skip the classic cocktails—this is the place to go wild and try something different, since they add new drinks to the menu every month. Fahimi gets crowded around 9pm, so make it your first stop of the night and show up for the early-evening Happy Hour deals at 7pm.

With its mirrored bar, beaded chandeliers, velvet seating, and suited barmen shaking classic cocktails to the soundtrack of light jazz, Würgeengel in Kottbusser Tor feels like you’ve time-traveled back to 1920s Berlin. Come alone on a weeknight for a pre-movie martini before tottering seconds down Dresdener Straße to Babylon Kreuzberg, one of the best arthouse cinemas in the city. If the olives aren’t quite cutting it, order a plate of puttanesca that’ll be brought to your table from next-door Gorgonzola Club. Just don’t turn up with a big group on a Friday or Saturday night (you won’t get in), and don't show up on a Sunday, either. Würgeengel is annoyingly and nonsensically closed then, which proves just how Berlin it is.

Although it’s technically a café and boulangerie, this canalside daytime spot is one of our favorite places to drink in the area. Come on a Sunday in spring after ambling down Nowkölln flea market to share a bottle of Riesling or hover around the orange wine tap. The outdoor patio bar churns out trays of Aperol and Campari spritzes until the early evening when everyone disperses to nearby restaurants or onto another bar. Once the weather warms up, Berlin locals and in-the-know tourists swarm this Paul-Lincke-Ufer suntrap, so finding an available bistro chair is almost as painstaking as a rent-controlled apartment.

photo credit: Florian Kroll

$$$$Perfect For:Walk-Ins

If you’re in Kreuzberg, it’d be a crime not to pop your head into Roses. The 20+-year-old queer bar—with furry pink walls, padded leather ceilings, rotating mirror balls, leopard print stools, glittering Madonnas, and ashtrays in the toilet—is one of the best places to start or end any high-octane night out. It’s cash only, the soundtrack is strictly pop classics, and the boxed wine is almost undrinkable. (That said, the gin tonics go down almost too easily.) Roses closes at 6am every day, so you can easily be sucked in and spat out once the sun has risen.


Fitcher’s Vogel is the archetypal Berlin bar, with its peeling wallpaper, glowing vintage lampshades, excessive amount of candles, and dusty upholstered furniture. It’s a short walk from Berghain, so pop in for some pre-queue Dutch courage or to nurse your ego when you inevitably don’t get in. It’s open from 6pm until 3am on weekdays and 5am on Friday and Saturday and fills up quickly, so head down early if there’s a big group of you. Otherwise, you’ll have to brave the windowless smoking room at the back. With its two-seater sofas and dark corners, Fitcher’s Vogel is perfect for dates trying to find out if they have anything more in common than their love of whisky sours. Speaking of, they do a very good one here.


This expansive corner café and bar hidden away on a Neukölln backstreet is well worth the detour from Weserstraße to get there. Arguably the best bar in a neighborhood known for them, Nathanja & Heinrich’s leafy exterior, soft lighting, and large windows that open out on warm nights make it an ideal spot to while away your evenings. It’s open from midday until 2 or 3am, and at night, this café-by-day shapeshifts into a cocktail bar. Hordes of locals descend onto Nathanja come dusk, with tables taken up by big groups chatting into the early hours. The martinis are the main draw here—even served dirty, they’re clean, crisp, and chilled—and you can easily sink more than you’ll thank yourself for the next day. It fills up quickly, but there’s a lot of (smoking or non-smoking) seating, so you shouldn’t have to wait long to get a table.

photo credit: Florian Kroll

There’s no better place to kick off the weekend a day early than Sway. From Thursday through Sunday, this relaxed natural wine bar on Pannierstraße is packed with small groups of Neukölln locals sharing a bottle of juicy light red or salty Sauv Blanc while listening to impromptu DJ sets. Linger for a few hours, making your way through the handful of wines served by the glass and their signature grilled cheese: brioche oozing with aged Alpine cheese served with a chunky pickle and a generous dollop of mustard. Keep an eye on their Instagram for upcoming restaurant collaborations, pop-up menus, and wine-tasting workshops.

You’ll know you’ve arrived at this inconspicuous canalside bar on Maybachufer when you see a crowded window lined with shoes and condensation. While the listening bar isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, if you, like us, crave a change from Berlin’s dark smoky spaces, head to Kwia with an open mind (and some socks on, as you’ll need to take your shoes off at the door). The drinks are reason enough to visit this purple-hued Kreuzkölln spot, with fun cocktails garnished with lavender, natural wines, and nightly DJ sets. You don’t come to Kwia to catch up with a friend you haven’t seen in months, so avoid the chillout area and head to the sound room, where you can listen to ambient music sandwiched between the zoned-out bodies of strangers melting into the floor cushions. As the name suggests, this is a queer bar.

Since Berlin-born community radio station Refuge Worldwide began in 2021, its on-site bar has become a Weserstraße staple. Keep walking through to the back room booth to see whoever’s playing live on air, or stop and order a mezcal margarita at the bar before grabbing one of the few small tables to hear their set playing from the speakers. Although it opens its doors at 1pm, Oona is best enjoyed with a group on a summer night, when glass-clinking audiophiles spill out from the tiny packed bar and you might have to take up space on the pavement.

photo credit: Florian Kroll



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The seasonal, plant-heavy cocktail menu at this low-lit spot changes weekly, but you can expect drinks containing ingredients like Japanese knotweed cordial, rosehip liqueur, fig leaf extract, and distilled yellow habanero. Velvet is a luxe affair, especially for Neukölln, so bring someone you’re trying to impress—a hot date, a new client, or your most discerning friend—settle in at a plush quilted booth, and indulge in a level of sophistication that’s hard to find elsewhere in this city.

Although the cocktail and wine selection at Villa Neukölln is nothing to write home about, this cheap, cozy, late-night drinking spot housed in a former movie theater is one of the most reliable bars in the area. It’s a bit of a time vortex—if you squint hard enough, you can just about make out century-old scenes. The grand main room, with jazz club tables gathered around a velvet curtain-draped stage, has the faded glamor of a bygone era that’s typical of Berlin bars. They host shows, concerts, and a weekly swing night, but Villa Neukölln is best late on a Friday night with a big group and a bunch of pilsners.


From indie rock to post-punk, this legendary dive bar has been loyally serving the city’s underground music scene since 2002. The Schönhauser Allee bar platforms up-and-coming bands, and some big names like Bloc Party and Yeah Yeah Yeahs have played here over the years. You can hear the power vocals and drum beats from hundreds of meters away, all of which pull you into 8MM's chaotic, crowded cave. And even though you’re not coming here for the drinks, the reasonably-priced sours make up for the €10 you sacrificed at the door.

This Italian bar responsibly serves small bites (morsi) to accompany your drinks (sorsi), contradicting its not-so-responsible 6am closing time on Friday and Saturday. We come here when we want to feel chic, while also knowing we’ll likely emerge when the sun rises, unsure where the past eight hours went. With a long list of €5 aperitifs—order the negroni sbagliato or limoncello spritz—and an impressive selection of Italian wines, it’s hard to say no to another. There’s a chaotic atmosphere, with bar staff working at double speed, but when you arrive with a €20 note and leave with money left over, you’ll probably want to return next weekend and do it all over again.

Wohnzimmer translates to living room, which explains its cluttered homey decor: damask chaise longues, round velvet sofas, floral kissing chairs, and ‘60s-style cabinets litter the interior. The bar itself looks makeshift—like one you might have in your living room—but serves an exceptional espresso martini that keeps the young crowd going until its 2:30am closing time. The outside perimeter is lined with small tables and wooden benches that overlook a small green square, which is an ideal place to chain Aperol spritzes on balmy Berlin evenings.

East Berlin’s first French bar, ​​Le Bar Tabac, opened in Prenzlauer Berg in 1982 when the city was still split in half. From behind the Wall, the French owner attempted to recreate the bar his grandparents owned in Paris of the same name, and it still has an old-school charm. The glowing carotte rouge Tabac sign jutting out over the door signals a night of top-tier cocktails, good chat, and a smoke or two, secondhand or otherwise. We recommend the French gimlet, Lillet Berry, or one of the natural wines chalked up on the board. Le Bar Tabac is popular all year round, but has a real buzz in the summer, when locals pour out onto the pavement with a Gauloise in one hand and Le Vodka Soda in the other.


Schwarzes Café is a Berlin institution synonymous with the glamorous West. It draws an eclectic crowd now, as it did in the '80s when David Bowie and Iggy Pop were regulars. You’ll have to wait to be seated and might even be turned away on a Friday or Saturday night, but this is Berlin—were you even here if you weren’t rejected from somewhere? Once you’re through the neon parrot entrance, head up the staircase and grab a table in the impressive first-floor room, with its dominating disco ball, ornate ceiling, and small balcony that smokers squeeze onto. Don’t bother leafing through the extensive menu—order a gin basil smash, since theirs is the best in the city. It’s cash only, so make sure you bring enough for a few rounds and a 2am breakfast (you can order food at any time, even in the early hours).


There’s nowhere better to soak up Berlin’s long warm summer days than in a Biergarten. This temporary self-service kiosk sits on a small lake in Tiergarten, the city’s biggest green space, and dishes out steins of helles or weißbier and simple German food to large groups bathing in vitamin D and remembering that nature exists. There’s a sizable area around the water that’s packed with long wooden tables, which families, day-trippers, and tourists sardine onto. Turn up in the late afternoon after doing something cultural (because Berlin life isn’t all about drinking beers), rent a rowboat, and stay until the overhead string lights flick on.

This tiny gay bar in the heart of Mitte has been serving those on the way to or coming from a good night out since 2006. Between the mirrored walls, glittering ceiling, and red leather seats, Betty F is an experience that will linger in your head longer than the next day’s gin-fuelled hangover. Descending the steep stairs into the smoky basement bar feels like entering a pocket fantasy world. You should know by now that when it comes to bars in this city, there’s a directly proportional relationship between enjoyment level and disco ball size, and Betty F boasts a big one. If it’s your lucky night, everyone will get up and dance to the pop-heavy playlist.

It’s easy to walk past Chausseestrasse 131 late on your way home and be tempted in by its lustful red glow for one last cocktail and shuffle on the black-and-white checkered floor. Although technically more of a club, 131 Bar is worth popping into for a drink and dance if you’re in the area on the weekend (it’s only open on Friday and Saturday nights). The historic old building hosts a diverse arts program, including exhibitions, dinners, screenings, and events. It feels exclusive, and once you’re in, it’s hard to shake the feeling that you’ve just gatecrashed a house party you weren’t invited to. Like any Berlin bar worth its salt, you won’t be kicked out until past 4am.

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