Kugelbahn The glittering end of Grüntaler

When Jess Schmidt and Uwe Effertz took over Kugelbahn in 2011, the couple decided to keep the glorious, third-hand bowling alley from the ‘50s in the basement, which is pretty much the ultimate hidden bar antique. The adjacent stage was also renovated by the couple and now once a week the packed space vibrates with live music. The entertainment is not exclusive to downstairs though. Upstairs vibes with a classic candle-lit, genuine fireplace kind of coziness; a decent list of beers is guaranteed to sate and the wall of rotating artwork from Kolonie Wedding aims to please.

Though all levels are welcome at the rentable bowling alley, beware, the level of challenge is definitely raised with the retro bowling balls because finger holes are non-existent. Here’s another space for Berliners to master yet another sport while drinking and socializing, or you can die trying to defeat the regulars over at Dr. Pong.

The Antlered Bunny Aw, shucks Friedrichshain

On the whole, Friedrichshain has been particularly resistant to the posh boutiques and ritzy bars popping up all across town. Now, however, the district’s refined boozehounds no longer need pay that taxi fare home. The Antlered Bunny – small of stature (20 people max. capacity) and undeniably dextrous (a cocktail list that changes with the seasons) – has been soothing and challenging local palates since late 2012. A certain concoction going by the name of ‘Jack the Ripper’ – gin, tomato juice, squeeze of lemon, English mustard, basil, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper, with a bacon rasher skewered on top of the glass – is developing an almost cult following. Their pâté, cheese and pickle nibble-boards are also top-drawer and over the weekend (beware incoming red flag paint bombs) they even serve freshly shucked oysters.

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.

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