Blink and you’ll miss it: tucked away on a subdued Kreuzkölln block, Geist im Glas is easy to stroll right past. But like the Prohibition-era speakeasies this cocktail bar takes after, understated is exactly how owner Aishah Bennett likes it. Don’t be fooled by the relaxed atmosphere — dark, sexy and candlelit — here, cocktails are serious business. The liquor cabinet is stocked with a top notch selection of spirits such as Helsinki Distilling Company gin and Mezcal Atenco. It’s the house infused liquor that you want to go for, though: like whisky with blood orange, jasmine tea and blackberry, best enjoyed in a “Boulevardier”, a jazzy take on the Negroni. Because that’s exactly what Geist im Glas does best: takes the classics, creates them with fine ingredients and finishes them with an unexpectedly delicious twist. What’s more, the bar also offers up the antidote to itself, serving southern US-inspired, hangover-busting brunches on weekends. The former menu mainstays — huevos rancheros and dulce de leche pancakes — are joined by cheddar grits and coconut milk porridge loaded with fruit and nuts. All this paired with a special drinks menu of Mimosas, Bloody Marys and espresso-based cocktails. At Geist im Glas, it’s all too easy for day to slip into night again. (Text: Anna Dorothea Ker / Photos: Matej Zet)
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.