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BAR SWAY: “ZERO-ZERO” WINE BAR WITH LIVING ROOM VIBES AND DJ SETS

BAR SWAY: “ZERO-ZERO” WINE BAR WITH LIVING ROOM VIBES AND DJ SETS

“Accidentally good” is how one of the owners of Sway describes the Pannierstraße bar. While this downplays the quality and intention behind the space, it’s also exactly what’s appealing about it: the story of a group of friends that took something natural to them – drinking wine together in their living room and sharing conversation and snacks late into the evening – and brought it into a public space. Behind Sway are four founders: Jamie Tiller (wine), Rohan Bell-Towers (snacks), Hayley Morgan (decor) and Tasya Kudryk (spiritual guidance). Collaborating with them are creative and musical friends – graphic design by Munich record label Public Possession, a lamp by Anna Santangelo and, on some nights, records played on a mixer by Resør and handbuilt speakers from H.A.N.D. HiFi.

Jamie pours one of eight rotating wines available to drink by the glass or bottle (you can take away too). All are zero-zero – that is, natural wines with nothing added. These are the wines that he likes to drink – all organic and made in small quantities by producers outside the conventional industry. They taste exciting and lively on the palette; we particularly liked the slightly sparkling Lambrusco from Camillo Donati and the skin contact Ça me by Les Maisons Brûlées. Alongside the wines are snacks designed by Rohan to accompany your drinking – it’s a European tour with Pecorino from Italy with honey, juicy sardines from Spain with charred lemon and toast, air-dried salami from France and a grilled cheese sandwich with Bergkäse from Germany. The result is a bistro-bar that feels like how I would imagine the ultimate living room to feel. We’re just glad they decided to open it to us.

Text & Photos: Savannah van der Niet

Sway, Pannierstr.29, 12047 Berlin–Neukölln; map
Wed–Thu 17–0h, Fri–Sat 17–1h

@bar____sway

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STUECK — SCHLESI BAR SERVING QUEER HERITAGE AND COCKTAILS ON TAP

STUECK — SCHLESI BAR SERVING QUEER HERITAGE AND COCKTAILS ON TAP

There’s a street on the edge of Kreuzberg that was once home to the city’s finest bars, best-stocked Spätis and lots of places to let your hair down. Its name – one which has tongue-tied many a non-native speaker – is Schlesische Straße. One of its most legendary bars was Barbie Deinhoff’s, a colorful, loud, wild and queer place run by performance artist Lena Braun. Known all over town for its “Two for One Tuesdays”, Barbie sadly didn’t survive Covid. That’s since been corrected with the 2022 opening of Stueck in the very same location. Though the interior and style of the new bar seem very different, owner Romy Gaines hasn’t forgotten the history of the place. While the dark walls, rubber-covered steel stools and large photographs by Giulia Daley are a far cry from the camp predecessor, Two for One Tuesday stays. The ethos remains queer, too: Thursdays are reserved for women, trans and non-binary guests and the bar staff are almost all women.

The high-end drinks menu is dominated by cocktails, which come from the Kreuzberg drinks lab around the corner and are served on tap. Much thought is invested in the combinations, which focus on infusions and (soy)milk “washed” drinks. In addition to signature classics like the “Hippie Cucumber” – whose pink base is a hibiscus-infused gin – there’s a cocktail of the month, which in September is the “Popcorn” (bourbon, popcorn, lemon and caramel, in keeping with the changing season). It’s an extravagant tipple that has a sense of fun camp. Drink a couple of them and you’ll soon be convinced that this new place is a gem too.

Text: Hilka Dirks / Photos: Giulia Daley

Stueck, Schlesische Str.16, 10997 Berlin–Kreuzberg; map
Mon–Sat from 19h

@stueck_36

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SLAVS AND TATARS INVITES YOU TO THE PICKLE BAR: RADICAL READING WITH SCHOLAR LEAH FELDMAN

SLAVS AND TATARS INVITES YOU TO THE PICKLE BAR: RADICAL READING WITH SCHOLAR LEAH FELDMAN

Not far from their studio in Moabit, Kasia Korczak and Payam Sharifi of the artist collective Slavs and Tatars have opened a space for thinkers, writers and creatives: the Pickle Bar. It’s not just a place for discussions and exchange, but a Slavic reinterpretation of a classic aperitivo bar. There, the team serve so-called “Malosolnie Ogurci” pickles (of course) as well as olives and cheese. To drink, there’s wine from Georgia and vodka too. On 14.07.2022, this wonderfully informal space will welcome literary scholar Leah Feldman from the University of Chicago for a workshop entitled “On phenomenologies of radical reading”, part of the space’s current summer program. Using a variety of texts, she’ll explore and discuss with the audience the failures that have allowed right-wing movements and their systems of thought to grow over the past twenty years. Drawing on 20th-century Soviet children’s books, the event explores how best to engage with these artifacts and to re-read and re-interpret them.

Text: Laura Storfner / Photos: Joe Clark & Slavs and Tatars

Slavs and Tatars Pickle Bar, Stephanstr.11, 10559 Berlin–Moabit; map

Open for events. 14.07.2022 18.30h “On phenomenologies of radical reading” Workshop with Leah Feldman 

@picklebarslavsandtatars

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BAR BLENDING COCKTAIL CRAFT AND NEIGHBORHOOD VIBES —BADEMEISTER IN WEISSENSEE

BAR BLENDING COCKTAIL CRAFT AND NEIGHBORHOOD VIBES —BADEMEISTER IN WEISSENSEE

Weissensee is known for many things: its art school, an illustrious film and TV heritage, thriving artist studios and galleries and, of course, the eponymous lake. But one thing that the district might be said to lack is bar culture – that is, until now. Three minutes walk from the lake in a former Greek restaurant is Bademeister, the latest venture from acclaimed Berlin barkeeper Dustin Franke. The bar opened in the middle of the pandemic and quickly attracted a loyal following with its warm atmosphere and simple décor. Whether you’re in the mood for refined cocktails or just a beer, the venue does the trick with style and flair. The small but lovingly conceived drinks menu is ever-changing, and offers something for all tastes. And if you don’t know what “soy-milk-washed” means, just ask manager Alex behind the bar who will explain it to you with friendly gusto. Proudly adorned with a graphical depiction of the lake, the house beer is brewed by Heidenpeters in Kreuzberg, and many of the spirits used for the cocktails are custom-distilled in Bavaria.

This blend of sophistication and down-to-earth spirit creates a unique vibe that makes everyone feel welcome: take a quick scan of the crowd and you’ll see art school students, Berliners both new and old and a scattering of smart-looking cinema nostalgics. And in case you find the beer garden vibe a bit too lively, just grab a Helles to go and stroll down to the beach for some sundown sips on the shore. 

Text: Hilka Dirks / Photos: Paula Hornickel

Bademeister, Bizetstr.143, 13088 Berlin–Weissensee; map
Mon–Sat from 18h 

@bademeisterbar

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NOMU — SAKE BAR AND RESTAURANT CELEBRATING JAPANESE CULINARY TRADITION

NOMU — SAKE BAR AND RESTAURANT CELEBRATING JAPANESE CULINARY TRADITION

The stars were aligned and luck was on her side when Sarah Stein fell in love with a small vacated space she found in Wilmersdorf and reimagined it as Nomu, a contemporary sake bar and Japanese restaurant. Born and raised in San Francisco, Sarah grew up surrounded by top notch Asian foods and fell in love with Japanese cuisine and libations – so much so that she became a certified sake sommelier and shochu adviser. If you are a sake connoisseur yourself, you will immediately notice the traditional sugidama (cedar ball) hanging in the window when you arrive at Nomu. Sake breweries in Japan hang this ball of fresh green cedar branches to indicate that production is underway. The cedar slowly turns brown, reflecting the maturation process of the sake. When it turns completely brown, customers know the sake is ready.

Inside, the entire ceiling is covered with square masu cups made from Japanese cypress wood and oversized origami-inspired lights. From every corner of Nomu, you sense Sarah’s love and respect for Japanese craftsmanship: from custom-made ceramic wares and the two norens (traditional fabric dividers) hanging in the doorways to the handmade happis (kimono-style jackets) worn by the staff. This attention and care is also reflected in the standard of the sake and food. The selection includes over 30 handcrafted sakes, ranging from fruity and earthy to sparkling and sweet. They’re hand-selected by Sarah and many are sold nowhere else in Europe. Just ask sommelier Yurina Yokoi for recommendations or opt for the sake pairing with the seasonal six-course Omakase (chef’s tasting menu). Chef Shinya Matsumoto uses his decade-long experience to create delicate and authentic fare that includes difficult-to-find ingredients like ginkgo nuts, myoga, edible shiso flowers and kinome (Japanese pepper leaves). Dishes include octopus carpaccio with wasabi sauce, ankimo (a monkfish dish), lightly charred wagyu nigiri-sushi using imported Tanba-gyu beef, mackerel oshizushi (pressed sushi rolls), and uni tempura. The innovative menu is topped off with exceptional service and an intimate atmosphere that epitomizes Japanese hospitality. If you are looking for an authentic Japanese spot in Berlin, you’ve found it.

Text: Rei Matsuoka / Photos: Rene Riis & Yuto Yamada

Nomu Sake Bar, Ludwigkirchstr.3, 10719 Berlin–Wilmersdorf; map
Wed–Sun 18–22h

@nomusakebar

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