My friend, Anna, really likes this bar in her neighbourhood. I’m quietly skeptical that any bar is really that good, but I’m game for a drink tonight, and more importantly, I’m polite. The sign greeting us at the entrance is a simple hand-written sign.
“No Shisha, no HappyHour, no Shit: betreutes Trinken …”
“Betreut” has multiple definitions, including “curated”, “maintained”, or “looked after.” I (choose to) interpret the phrase “betreutes Trinken” as “customers will not be served shitty drinks.”
Booze Bar Berlin is already my kind of place.
The (un)holy three: low-bullshit, delicious, but smoky
What greets us is: low-level lighting, big windows facing the street, brick walls around, a picture of Eddie Murphy (as Axel Foley) on the side wall, simple furnishings. There are brightly-lit couches at the back, but they’re empty when we enter the bar. There are a few sat at the bar which is where we sit to be close to the action. Functional and basic at its finest, the tables around us at the front would’ve been fine, too. The staff are straight-forward and not pretentious, and the service is helpful to a tee. The guys at the bar are patient to a first-timer, and they recommend a number of drinks depending on personal taste or preference.
But the devil is in the details, and I suspect the devil is pushing us straight to hell with those drinks …
The two highlights are the “bramble cocktail” and the “basil gin smash.” The latter is also called “gin basil smash,” or simply, basil smash, which I might have continued drinking all night – a new vice to go along with the mojito and the caipirinha. The bramble is suitably fruity, but that basil smash tastes like smooth liquid gold. What stops me from drowning in “gin smash” is the ever-present hunger for the ubiquitous Döner.
The bar is listed on berlin.de as “non-smoking”. In two visits inside a year, smoke billowed to the rafters. I don’t smoke, but it’s one of those things I expect in Europe, in Germany, and especially in Berlin, where sometimes rules run fast and loose among owners, managers, and staff.
Still gonna go back, gotta go when I return to the Hauptstadt, because where the B is concerned, it’s never a question of “if” but “when” …
• Bus 240, to stop Simon-Dach-Strasse
• Tram 21, to stop Niederbarnimstrasse
• MetroTram M10, to stop Grünberger Strasse/Warschauer Strasse
• U-Bahn U5, to stop Frankfurter Tor or to Samariterstrasse
• U-Bahn U1, to end station Warschauer Strasse
• S-Bahn S5 or S7, to stop Warschauer Strasse
From Warschauer Strasse, walk or take tram MetroTram M10, to stop Grünberger Strasse/Warschauer Strasse.
A smoky pause to operations
Fire broke out Easter Monday morning (2016) causing smoke and water damage to the bar; see the Berliner Zeitung article in German here. An update from the owners (here, in German) pointed to reopening by autumn 2016. They’ve reopened and here’s their Facebook Page.
Thanks, Anna C, for introducing me to this place: may visitors or hipsters never overrun the “gin joint” (which I’ve now surely jinxed). Before I dove into multiple “smashes”, I made the photos above on 5 May 2015. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-7p5.