Berlin city and bar guide

Words by Simon Difford

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Berlin's bars have enjoyed legendary status ever since the 'roaring twenties' when swinging Berlin was Europe's party capital and now, over twenty years since the wall came down, Berlin is once again the must head to city for the young.

A glorious fusion of galleries glowing with vivid expressionist art, Wagner at the opera, guerilla clubs, street food and a climate of tolerance and experimentation draws an international creative set to live here.

It has a staggering variety of venues catering for the diversity of night owls, with the scene encompasses everything from sophisticated cocktail lounges to dingy drinking dens with the numerous clubs ensuring it lasts till dawn. With no official closing time it's common for venues to stay open until the last guest leaves and some guests don't leave for days.

You'll find Berlin bars refreshingly unpretentious with few door or dress restrictions though don't count on this. For my money, it is also the world's best city for classic cocktails. All kinds of bars feature voluminous cocktail lists filled with classic drinks, and all are reliably well made. The annual Berlin International Beer Festival at the beginning of August attracts around a million people to a mile long beer garden while professional cocktail bartenders from Europe flock to the city in September for Bar Convent, an exhibition held by the locally based Mixology Magazine.

Whatever you drink and wherever you drink it, be sure you've brought your euros as many Berlin bars only take cash. German law restricts entry to bars to over 18 year olds. Bizarrely smoking is permitted in single room bars that are less than 75 square meters in size so smoke filled bars are still commonplace.

It's a while since we've visited Berlin - hence the lack of a list of recommended bars on this page. So we are looking for a drinks brand with people in this city who we can work with to put together, and keep updated, a list of truly great bars worth visiting. If you consider yourself in this position then please email

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