These days you don’t go to a wine bar just for the wine. These days it’s all about the seaweed popcorn, the secret mezcal bar, and the grilled octopus salad, smoky with hints of Spanish paprika and dots of spicy mayonnaise. At Wild Things in Neukölln, the cozy setting will have you feeling at home in no time. The baby brother of Industry Standard, quality is emphasized here from the oysters to the stilton. On top of that, about eighty percent of the wine served is natural. Just like with food, it’s good to know where your wine comes from – and Ramses Manneck and his team certainly do. Sample away to find the right match, though the 2015 Rue de la Pompe from the French Mas Coutelou wine region had a delicious drinkability I’d go back for. (Text: Victoria Pease / Photos: Sven Hausherr)
In a city of constant change, sometimes it’s nice to go back to a place that remains the same, and Bellman is just such a place. The music plays, the candles flicker. You sit at the wooden tables, which have stood here long before they were en vogue in Berlin. Maybe you drink a beer or a glass of red wine, or perhaps order a snack to go with your drink, or you don’t – but these are small details, trivialities. You go to Bellman for the sum of these things. You get together with old friends who have stood the test of time. When you finally stumble out of the bar together and meander in different directions towards home, you feel animated and satisfied. What more could you ask for from a bar on a nondescript Kreuzberg street corner? (Text: Nina Trippel / Photos: Daniel Farò)
What makes a cocktail connoisseur? Just ask Michel Braun, owner and head barman at Schloss Neuschweinsteiger in the deeps of Neukölln. Since opening up five years ago the self-taught barkeeper has made his bar his baby, inspired by London speakeasies and new-wave mixology. Here, classic drinks are meticulously prepared, while others boast true inventive quality. Take the classic El Presidente, switched up with Don Papa rum from the Philippines, dry vermouth, a swish of orange Curaçao, grenadine, and orange peel, alongside a cheeky spoonful of caramel. Indulgent and irresistible, but also spirited. If you ask for a Negroni you will get one. If you ask for an Old Fashioned – expect no less than the original. The bar’s ambiance is sophisticated without being too dressed up; the music never too loud to steal attention away from the drinks. In the next few weeks Michel is testing barrel-aged cocktails infused with charred wood, such as his twist on the Manhattan. Classic or novel, often it’s surprising how well the two worlds combine. (Text: Victoria Pease)
Open since late March 2016 and run by French-German pair Yulja Giese and Etienne Dodet, Jaja is named after a somewhat old-fashioned French slang word used to describe everyday wine. Located on Neukölln’s Weichselstraße, this natural wine bar offers an ever-changing selection of reds and whites as well as the occasional orange wine — a rarity. Each wine currently on offer can be ordered by the glass and is usually priced at 4.50€-6.50€, which makes Jaja a great place to get to know natural wines. You can also purchase bottles — either to-go or to drink in-house — and the selection that the Jaja team put together features many staples of the natural wine world, including wines by Jeff Coutelou — one of the best natural wine makers. However, don’t go here only for the wine: the place frequently hosts pop-up dinners with Berlin’s most sought-after chefs, including Mathias Gondol, a young French chef and dedicated follower of the farm-to-table movement, who takes over the stoves at Jaja every Saturday. (Text: Camille Darroux)
Tue-Sat 18-1h, Sun 18-22h
Camille Darroux is a digital consultant, freelance writer, and director of Mimosa Agency. She has been living in Berlin for two years.
I still can’t pronounce the name with my lazy Australian tongue, but Lerchen & Eulen has long been a favorite haunt of mine, and top of the list for taking any visitors to Berlin. With its cozy mix of mismatched furniture, exposed brick arches, paint-stripped tables, and retro lounge chairs coming apart at the seams, it’s easy to feel like you’re in someone’s lounge room – a crowded lounge room though, at a house party perhaps, with friends perched on every surface. After the generously poured whiskey sours, the best thing about Lerchen & Eulen is that it is always brimming with flowers. Flowers overflow from every corner – flowers in watering cans, flowers in old milk bottles on the tables, big bouquets shielding the barman from the sight of thirsty guests. No matter how late it gets, or how cloudy and sweaty the room is with smoke and bodies pressed together, the overwhelming smell is always fresh and floral. Being located next door to a florist, I always imagined this is where the leftover flowers ended up. But on the contrary, the owner goes weekly to the flower markets and spends hours doing floral arrangements around the bar. Fresh flowers and great whiskey sours, it’s a winning combination! (Text: Millicent Nobis / Photos: Anna Freitag)
Millicent Nobis is an Australian designer living in Berlin since 2010. She founded contemporary jewelry label Mies Nobis in 2012 and has recently opened AA-Collected, a designer-run concept store & studio space in Kreuzberg.