Vagabund Brauerei Craft beer paradiso

Pilsner is no doubt a good German beer, but they say you can have too much of good thing. Or so thought three American expats after one too many frustrated years supping on the most bland and ubiquitous of beers in Berlin. As you do, they resolved to open a nano brewery in Wedding and make something with a bit more flavor. To fund it they looked to the powers of the internet and quickly raised the money to become the proud Daddies of Europe’s first crowd-funded brewery.

The names of those initial backers are carved into the doorway of their bar room and the sense of community that got Vagabund started is still palpable today. In fact, it’s usually so rammed that you can’t help but get up close and personal with your drinking neighbors. (There are regular open mics and live radio shows that actively court your participation too). Bonhomie aside though, what about the drink? As delicious as it is varied, this is craft beer heaven. We haven’t the space nor the desire to list all the beers you might encounter and they change weekly at any rate, just know that there are saisons and stouts, smoked ales, and IPA’s—some but not all of which are SMaSHs. And if that doesn’t mean anything to you, well, welcome to Real Beer 101.

Twinpigs Chinny chin chin

Given the noughties hype surrounding the testicle of the West (aka Berlin), who hasn’t thought of cashing in with an oh-so Berlin bar in say “up-and-coming” Neukölln? Every fool within 1,000km of the TV tower that’s who. Unlike is not about half-arsed replicas with half-arsed drinks, however. And neither is Twinpigs.

Searching out a quiet corner away from the hordes, Twinpigs was not conceived to be popular, it was conceived to be good. Or as the owners put it: “No warm gin and tonics and Pilsner Urquell.” The drinks card here is head and shoulders above their local counterparts: strong classic drinks, some fresh new mixes, and a fine selection of beers. Heidenpeters from Markthalle 9 supplies them with a different delicious brew every week.

With a Swedish filmmaker and a Chilean architect behind this venture, the aesthetics were clearly no afterthought. Raw and refined in equal measure, they wanted a beautiful bar that could also transform and be used for supper clubs, film screenings and aerobic sessions—all of which take place here alongside your bread-and-butter weekend DJ sessions. And in case you were wondering about the meaning of ‘Twinpigs’—wonder no more—it’s a deliberate Lynchian headfuck.

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.

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.

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