Whether you’re a craft beer aficionado or a stickler for tradition, there are plenty of places in the German capital to enjoy a cold one just the way you like it. From dive bars to trendy brewpubs to old-fashioned beer gardens, here are some of the very best spots to drink beer in the German capital, according to our local expert.
Dating back to 1837, Prater is a legendary beer garden in Prenzlauer Berg with half an acre of yellow picnic tables under a grove of ancient chestnut trees. Besides their signature Prater Pils, they serve traditional German specialties like Weisswurst (white sausage from Bavaria) and Bratwurst. Occasional live concerts and public soccer viewing add to the festive atmosphere.
A traditional beer garden overlooking a lock in the Landwehrkanal in Tiergarten, Schleusenkrug is a favorite with locals and students — especially on warm summer days. A laid-back spot with regular live music concerts, it’s a great place to down a cold one before hopping on (or off) a train at nearby Zoo Station. If you’re hungry, there’s an informal German-Mediterranean restaurant inside with a menu that changes weekly.
One of the pioneers of the Berlin craft beer movement, Hops & Barley has been brewing their own pils, weizen, cider, and stout since 2008. An inviting space housed in a former butcher shop, it gets packed on weekends and on Bundesliga game nights, but the staff is friendly and super-efficient, and their locally-made Knackerwurst sausage goes great with any brew you pick.
With 22 German and European microbrews on tap, Hopfenreich is one of the best craft beer bars in Berlin. The selection changes constantly, and there’s always something new and local on the menu. Housed in a pretty Jugendstil building in Kreuzberg, the bar is casual and funky, with an unfinished wood floor, a stuffed armadillo on the counter, and candles dripping onto old wine bottles. Note: On Tuesdays, they also offer reservation-only tours of the best spots in Berlin’s blossoming craft beer scene.
At this old-school cellar and beer garden in the Wedding district, you can taste year-round microbrews — pilsner, dunkel (dark) and hefeweizen — as well as seasonal craft beer specials like the Panke Gold, a refreshing, citrusy brew with a balanced malt body. Also on the menu: German snacks like organic Bavarian pretzels and onion and bacon tarts.
What began as a crowd-funding project in 2011 is now a cozy taproom and brewery in Wedding where you can choose from a rotating selection of five beers on tap - and talk with the brewers themselves while you’re at it. Started by a trio of three American friends who grew tired of drinking the same old German beers day after day, Vagabund has made a name for itself thanks to original creations like their ABC American Wheat, a weizen beer with a sweet, fruity twist of American hops.
A pint-sized bar in the newly renovated Market Hall IX in Kreuzberg, Heidenpeters brews some of the most exciting craft beer in town. The selection rotates but usually includes a pale ale, an IPA and a brown ale, along with the occasional porter and stout - all of it brewed right on the premises in the market hall’s basement. Once in a while, they feature craft beers from other local producers, too.
Created by Bart Neirynck and featuring beers exclusively from his native Belgium, Herman pours an impressive selection of Trappist, Abbey, and Lambic-style beers, both on tap and in the bottle. Feel free to ask Bart or one of his savvy bartenders for a recommendation, and get here early on the weekends, as it tends to get packed with beer enthusiasts. Note: They don’t serve food, but you can always order burgers from the restaurant next door.
It’s all about craft beer and rock n’ roll at this funky Prenzlauer Berg bar, which embodies the carefree spirit of 1990s Berlin — with better beer and clean bathrooms. Created by Alternative Tour Berlin founders Adrian and Vanessa Sampson, they feature 10 rotating taps and 120-plus bottle selections, including options from Stone Brewing Company. Don’t be surprised if you recognize one of the bartenders - most of them play in local bands when they’re not honing their beer expertise.
Great music, Saturday karaoke, and a spacious summer garden are only part of the appeal at Castle Pub, a scruffy Wedding-district bar that boasts the best craft beer selection in town. Besides a changing list of 20 microbrews on tap, they have 34 year-round taps (including English and Irish classics) and over 100 bottles on the menu. Every Monday, they organize a pub quiz, and every other Wednesday is comedy night. An added bonus: If you like whiskey, you’ll be dazzled by the options here.