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John Muir The power of imagination featured

Run by serious drinkers for serious drinkers (by serious, we mean both refined and plentiful) and named after the archetypal outsdoorsman, John Muir exemplifies a rare breed of cocktail joint. One where there’s isn’t a mini parasol in sight, and you don’t have to put on any airs and graces either.

The drinks menu at this subterranean brick-lined bunker cuts the crap with its belting selection of hard liquors that are blended into imaginative new concoctions every month. If an everyman’s G&T or Barcadi coke is your tipple of choice, this is the perfect location to step a little outside of your comfort zone. An Alabama Belt Buckle — which blends Bushmills, Drambuie, fresh lemon, honey-ginger reduction and a Laphroaig rinse — is a good place to start.

And don’t think the ales have been ignored either. Monday night is beer night featuring a rotating assortment of 18 world brews, backed up by the ever-present legendary 8.5% Belgian beer, Delirium Tremens, available only in a bottomless 75cl bottle.

Bar Tausend Beneath the tracks

Bar Tausend doesn’t attract drunk revellers stumbling through Mitte looking for quick tipples and thrills—in actual fact, they wouldn’t even find it. Bar Tausend bears no sign, bell or light at its entrance, preferring instead a bare iron door beneath the Paris-Moskau railway. Also following suit in club protocol is the stiff doorman, who may or may not be snooty – don’t take it personally.

Once inside, the place emerges as a futuristic setting lifted from a Wong Kar-Wai film: lots of glass, curved steel walls and a massive doughnut-shaped fixture broadcasting white light from the end of the long, one-room space. Sleek sofas line the elevated seating areas, many of them reservation-only, while black bar stools cradle attractive boys and girls enjoying champagne and superb cocktails—try the Moscow Mule for size. Despite Tausend’s inconspicuous location, this club is all about seeing and being seen.

Klunkerkranich Quoth the crane, evermore!

There are fancy rooftop bars and then there are Neukölln rooftop bars. The former tends to be a bit on the stiff side, whereas the later is loose in every sense of the word. Created by a four-strong crew of Berlin party organizers and bar owners to be a ‘come one come all’ sort of place, the vibe at Klunkerkranich (German for wattled crane) is very inclusive – young’uns and gray’uns cavort side-by-side as the sun swings across that drop-dead awesome view of the city.

Sitting pretty atop the Neukölln Arkaden, 2500m² of concrete car park has been transformed into a high-altitude paradise of urban gardening and cold beer. Come six o’clock and you’ll have to part with three pieces of silver to gain entrance (if there’s still space). In return, you’ll be entertained by local DJs, acoustic musicians and dreadlocked pyromaniacs — so expect tattoos, trumpets and singed-hair aplenty, not to mention the good times.

Vögelchen Little birds know best featured

Tucked away just north of Lausitzer Platz, Vögelchen is a labyrinthine little café-bar where TLC rules the roost. The owner’s indefatigable approach to the finer details mean that almost every corner is littered with hand-picked ornaments and oddball furnishings: from a primed typewriter for the day-dreaming coffee fiends, to the antique piano for those of an ivory-tinkling inclination, or a wardrobe whose doors leads down to a Narnia-like, rentable party Keller. So whether it’s Kuchen o’clock in the afternoon or Negroni hour late at night, this is one nest you won’t want to leave in a hurry.

Trust Bar Golden decadence featured

The old Trust—brainchild of Weekend owner Marcus Trojan, Cookie’s head honcho Cookie and photographer Sascha Kramer—was a place where Mitte’s movers and shakers went to be seen and heard. So naturally when the most exclusive mini-club on Torstraße closed its doors in 2012 many a scenester was left wondering where their nightlife would go from there…

They needn’t have worried. Fast forward a few months and Marcus Trojan is at it again – this time flying solo in a bigger location that sprawls underneath the railway tracks at Hackescher Markt. It’s still that unmarked-door-and-peephole sort of exclusive, but to immerse yourself in what lies within is more than worth enduring those scrutinizing eyes—a straight up lesson in urban cool, expertly realized over two floors of exposed concrete and flashes of gold.

Drinks-wise, like the Trust of old, it’s all about bottles of Champagne and spirits (available in 0.2 or 0.7 liter) and they’ve even made the concession of stocking beers as well. If you order one, though, you’ve missed the point and will have to endure the ignominy of having it served in a brown paper bag. Because nothing decimates a hip cat’s image more than drinking hobo-street style.

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