Berlin is the capital of German nightlife and is famous for its eclectic bar and club scene. Berlin's best bars offer more than just a pint; they have electrifying cocktails, craft beer, panoramic views, and even bizarre upside down decor.
Start your evening here before dinner or while away the night to the early morning hours. Most bars are open late until the last patron stumbles home. Some still allow smoking and many still only accept cash. Berlin bars can be a window back in time.
Here are the best Berlin bars to have a great night out.
Welcome to the best place in Berlin to beat the summer heat. Have a cold beer while dipping your toes into the river Spree at the Club der Visionaere, a boathouse turned bar in Kreuzberg. Hang out in the deck chairs or sit on the wooden planks of the deck. The beer is cheap, the guests easy-going, and DJs spin some of Berlin's finest electronic music on the weekends.
This wine bar operates on the honor system. After 8pm (for just 2 euros) you get a glass which you can fill, and fill, and fill. The place is crowded with bottles for a full variety of wines to sample. At the end of the evening put as many euros in the jar as you think you spent.
To buffer the wine, there is an vegan buffet and comfy mix of second-hand furniture. The Weinerei has the warmth of a living room filled with friends.
There are now three locations in Prenzlauer Berg and the knowledgeable staff offer advice and full wine seminars.
Hops & Barley is one of the best established German microbreweries in Berlin. Located in Friedrichshain in a former butcher's shop, it is classically decorated with painted tiles, wood bar, and the resident bar dog. The no-nonsense service and straight-forward, delicious brews are appreciated by tourists and locals alike.
Vagabund was opened by three Americans who found a home in Berlin. Their beer has been at the forefront of the craft beer scene in Berlin and their passion for good beer can be discussed in person with the founders as one of them is usually tending bar.
Located in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Wedding, a window in the taproom showcases the brewing process. Their beer is produced on-site in small batches and they can be wildly experimental.
Honorable mentions go out to BRLO.
In the topsy-turvy world of Berlin nightlife, everything really is upside-down at Madame Claude. Guests walk on the ceiling as chairs and tables hang overhead.
The lurid colors and furnishings of the this former brothel in Kreuzberg is the perfect late-night hangout, particularly after 7pm when the DJ or live music takes over. Look for the rooms off the main floor that offer smaller shows and experiences.
Located atop a mall parking lot in Neukölln, unpretentious Klunkerkranich is the best roof-top bar in Berlin. Spectacular panoramic views of the neighborhood and Berlin landmark, the Fernsehturm, are just one of the reasons crowds flock to this bar. Settle into one of the benches among the leafy garden setting to watch the sunset.
It is free to drink here during the day, but in the evenings DJs are regularly scheduled and a small entrance fee is required.
What starts a weekend better (or ends a long night) than a full breakfast?
The bar Geist im Glas in Kreuzberg offers instagram-worthy plates of pancakes, huevos rancheros, and biscuits and gravy. These heavenly dishes are beautifully paired with cocktails of infused liquors. Brunch is set for the late morning crowd with opening times from 10:00 - 16:00, but get there early to avoid the crowds.
The Monkey Bar sits high above the city in Charlottenburg. Atop Bikini Berlin shopping mall and adjoining the 25hours Hotel, Berlin attractions like the Berlin Zoo and Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche (memorial church) appear far below.
You could be forgiven for having your head in the clouds, but the leafy industrial decor keeps you firmly on the ground. Sample their wide range of specially crafted cocktails and watch the sun go down off their magnificent terrace.
Edging out the Monkey Bar for the title of best hotel bar in Berlin, Michelberger Hotel is effortlessly cool. The whole building was once a warehouse in typical Berlin fashion, but it now houses tidy, sleek hotel rooms, an experimental restaurant, and a chic bar and lobby just off Warschauer.
The bar focuses on small liquor brands including works from their own distillery. Live music and DJs often take over in the evening to elevate the chill vibe to an out-an-out destination.
The biergarten at Cafe am Neuen See within the Tiergarten gives the impression of being out in the countryside, surrounded by leafy trees on an idyllic lake. Row after row of benches back right up to the water where guests carry armfuls of beers back to their tables. This is the perfect location for an afternoon in the shade, or to watch a soccer game, or even in winter when they pull out rustic wood stoves and curling lanes.
Honorable Mention goes to Prater Biergarten.
Wohnzimmer ("Living Room") is the quintessential casual Berlin bar. Full of homey rundown furniture, dim lighting, and informal serving staff, it offers the atmosphere of your best friend's house.
Now there are many bars with this kind of ambience, but Wohnzimmer was one of the first and still a worthy choice for a night that can lead anywhere in Berlin.
Best Bar for Dancing: Clärchens Ballhaus
Clärchens Ballhaus in Mitte was founded in 1913 and has been running as a ballroom, bar, and restaurant ever since. Each night features a different genre of music with lessons at the beginning so everyone can dance their best. That, and a little liquid courage, make this the perfect place to combine your dancing and drinking.
An intimate West Berlin place to drink rum , the charming vintage decor and specialty drinks transport you to somewhere else entirely.
This insiders' bar is accessible by ringing a bell and was a speakeasy before speakeasys were a thing. Drinks are made to custom order starting with the question “Süss oder sauer” (sweet or sour)? While rum is the star, anything you order is sure to be spectacular.
Rivaling Germany for its best beer reputation, HERMAN’s Belgian beer bar includes a superb selection of their country's best beers. Near the city center, HERMAN is a simple space run by Belgians that focuses exclusively on great beer. For Belgian fans, this is the place to be during soccer matches.
Honorable Mention is Aufsturz for its massive selection.
Known as one of the first American-style burger places in Berlin, its bar also offers exceptional service, oddball favorites like PBR, and the rare find in Berlin - happy hour!
Once you've enjoyed your discount beers or drink, finish off your night with their napalm wings. And prepare to taste nothing else for days as these are actually crazy spicy.
With locations in Berlin and Hamburg, Vin Aqua Vin offers something for all your wine needs. Its Neukölln bar is casually but efficiently outfitted to make it easy to while away the days (or nights). Enjoy sampling their many wine offerings from German classics to natural wines, than buy a bottle to take home.
Sure Das Gift serves Scottish pub classics, but the reason to go there is for the excellent English-language pub quiz every Monday. Order a Scottish malt whisky, pick a carefully curated song from the jukebox, and keep an eye out for for one of the owners, Barry Burns of the band Mogwai.
Honorable mention is the pub night at Two Fellas in Pankow on Wednesdays.
Kaschk has the distinction of serving exceptional beer and coffee. Its clean Scandinavian style covers the cafe-bar combo nicely with third-wave coffee options as well as local and international craft beers. Whether you want to go up or come down, they have the drink for you. This could also be called the "Best Bar with Shuffleboard in Berlin" - a combination you didn't know you needed.
This is a chill cocktail bar behind the green door (hence the name) off of Winterfeldplatz. It features a long bar for hanging out over drinks with new friends and knowledgeable bartenders. Plenty of kitschy memorabilia puts you in the aura of 1970s cool. Try everything on their well-made drink list including the "Green Door Cocktail” of champagne with lemon, sugar, and mint.
Best Bar-on-the-Go: Spätis
This unique Berlin listing actually encompasses thousands of different locations. The "Späti" or Spätkauf (late shop) covers all your last-minute shopping needs from milk on a Sunday to after-hours beers on a Tuesday night. They may offer drinking on the premise, but most offer a refrigerated section and an opener at the counter so you are good to buy and go, taking your Wegbier and the party with you.