In the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ world of Berlin cocktail bars, it’s not so common to stumble across a place which has passed its 15th Geburtstag. Allow us then, to reintroduce Windhorst, which has been quietly and consummately doing its thing — i.e. mixing killer cocktails — since 1999, when the Loveparade was still raging and Friedrichstraße was still recovering from its Mauerfall hangover.
It has a determinedly old school look, or to phrase it another way, they’re not going to get any spreads in the glossies where Berlin’s sweaty, slimey after dark scene remains a perennial hot topic. It’s shoebox small, it’s dark, it’s moody and there’s no exposed brickwork or faux industrial hanging lights in sight. Just a cocktail menu that makes the bible look like light reading, and a brilliantly-lit, apothecary-esque back bar packed with high-grade spirits. The long drinks get the most airtime: The Make a Mint — Tanqueray, fresh-squeezed pink grapefruit, lime, mint and Fee Brothers Mint Bitters — is a fruity zinger of a standout. Hard drinkers fear not though, because there’s no shortage of liquor-only concoctions too.
The vibe is set by scratchy blues and jazz emanating from the record player in the corner, and every Wednesday the 30-seater space is cleared a little, so patrons can get down, up close and personal, to the sounds of a live soul DJ. Make sure you look out for their whiskey sour nights too, where you can tailor-make your own tipple using an elite selection of whiskeys, bourbons, bitters, and fresh juices (and don’t skimp on the egg whites!). They don’t come around often — every three months or so — but they’re worth the wait.