Header image courtesy of @fcmhasselmann (via Instagram)
There are few sensory experiences as magical as nursing on a cool pint at a wooden picnic table, surrounded by the low humming of the summer air overlapping with cheery conversations, while the sun slowly bleeds out gorgeous ochre hues across the sky. Such a scene can be encountered at a typical German Biergarten—or beer garden. Differing from your usual outdoor seating pub or bar, the site condenses an indescribable sense of cosiness, belonging, and good cheer characterised by the Bavarians under the untranslatable term of “Gemütlichkeit.”
If you find yourself in Berlin, we seriously recommend spending an afternoon or evening making merry Gemütlichkeit at one of these lovely Biergartens. Do be reminded that these open-air drinking spots limit their operation to summertime (as the winter can get rather snowy)—usually between May to September.
Founded in 1837, Prater Garten is the first-ever Biergarten to open in Berlin. Surviving two world wars, the fall of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), as well as the turn of the century, it has been the long-reigning champion of bringing ice-cold beers to sweaty Berliners. Having functioned as a public house, ballroom, and variety theatre, every single part of the site is embedded with a rich history. It’s surreal to acknowledge that the large shadows you’re sitting under are coming from the same chestnut trees that provided shade for hundreds of thousands of patrons from centuries past. Take a seat by the open-air amphitheatre and try any Prater brew vom Fass (on tap). You can also opt for the acquired taste of Berliner Weisse mit Grün (light wheat beer mixed with woodruff syrup).
Berliner Prater Garten, Kastanienallee 7–9, Prenzlauer Berg, 10435 Berlin, Germany | (+49) 30 4485688
Surrounded by verdant greenery that’s reflected back by the glossy waters of a lake, Café am Neuen See (translating to “Café on the New Lake”) is a pocket of serendipity right in the centre of Tiergarten. A self-service Biergarten, it draws in wayfarers, locals, and tourists alike, all eager to bask in the invigorating atmosphere with some light refreshments. Pair a crisp ale with some comforting slices of stone-oven-baked pizza, freshly made pretzels, or savoury meatloaf. Once the sun goes down and the heat begins to dissipate, out come the candles, making it a beautiful spot for evening romancing or just a post-work cap to refresh your mind.
Café am Neuen See, Lichtensteinallee 2, Mitte, 10787 Berlin, Germany | (+49) 30 25449321
Originally a pre-war kiosk selling frosty drinks and ice cream to passengers aboard passing ships as well as visitors to the canal, the Tiergarten-adjacent Schleusenkrug was officially constructed in 1954. Its name a compound of “Schleuse” (watergate) and “Krug” (jug), the stone structure is perched atop the watergate that combs through its checkpoint betwixt the city’s waterways. Sit by and meditate on the ebb and flow of boats in transit, and quench your thirst with an assortment of tap and bottled beers. Worn-out parents on tour can take a breather with a glass of Elbling wine (oldest white wine from Mosel) while their little ones go and mill about in the open-air play area.
Schleusenkrug, Müller-Breslau-Straße 14B, Mitte, 10623 Berlin, Germany | (+49) 30 3139909
Right beside the hulking concrete giant that is Berghain, you will discover this little oasis. Converted from an old thermal power station, this three-storied Biergarten offers a place for people from all walks to communally bask under the glowing sun. Equipped with a sun terrace, giant patio swings, and a fountain right in the middle, Bierhof Rüdersdorf offers a tranquil Sunday hangout spot for you to recover from raving. Keep in mind that they only accept cash, so be sure to have some on hand for when you purchase a freshly grilled burger and a bottle of beer.
Bierhof Rüdersdorf, Rüdersdorfer Straße 70, Friedrichshain, 10243 Berlin, Germany | (+49) 30 29360210
Repurposed from industrial buildings, the Urban Spree contemporary art zone is a cultural hub within Berlin’s R.A.W. Gelände hippie area that exhibits the multidisciplinary works of numerous independent artists. Outside of its main building—housing the gallery, bookstore, and art store—sits its Biergarten, which also doubles as a space for the Urban Spree Summer Sessions that features live music from local bands. Even more exciting and unusual is the Amor de Madre tattoo shop, wedged in as part of the Biergarten. Choose your poison from a collection of German craft brews, and nibble on some street food provided at the permanent stands in the venue.
Urban Spree, Revaler Strasse 99, Friedrichshain, 10245 Berlin, Germany | (+49) 30 74078597
In 2013, the original location of the iconic Festsaal Kreuzberg concert hall became a burning pyre that took three hundred firefighters to contain. Four years later, the Berlin stalwart re-emerged on the city’s radar, taking over the premises of a defunct semi-outdoor fast food and barbecue restaurant. Catch a concert from your favourite indie and alternative artists, or simply be entertained by the daily music programme as you sip on a locally brewed Pilsner amongst the canopy of yucca plants and tangled perennials.
Festsaal Kreuzberg, Am Flutgraben 2, Kreuzberg, 12435 Berlin, Germany | (+49) 30 403655630
Sustainability, quality, and regionality are the three tenets governing every single batch of Brlo Brwhouse’s small scale brews. A paradise for beer connoisseurs, this delightful brewery-restaurant-bar-Biergarten hybrid was born out of the lively contemporary beer culture that has been passionately embraced by the city.
With its philosophy reflected in its structures, the premises are constructed out of 38 upcycled shipping containers, alongside rows of hops plants that line the futuristic patio. Boasting a constantly changing selection of over 80 beers with everything from Helles lagers to porters, you are guaranteed to find a drink you will fall in love with. Brewery tours are also available at €12 per person in German or English, with bookings done via their website.
Brlo Brwhouse, Schöneberger Straße 16, Kreuzberg, 10963 Berlin | (+49) 30 55577606
A pairing that just makes perfect sense together, Klunkerkranich is a rooftop-bar interpretation of a Biergarten. Its name translates to “Wattled Crane”, and this colourful and lively spot roosts over the inconspicuous shopping mall of Neuköln Arcaden, offering an incredible “nest” to admire the panoramic Berlin cityscape from.
Aside from the quirkily decorated terrace, there are also wooden huts that house the DJ booth, with tunes that blast across the intimate dancefloor. Come during sunset and prepare to be floored by the swirling skies and stunning vistas. That’s not all—Christmas visitors can also rejoice, as the huts convert into the cosy “Hinter den Alpen” (“Behind the Alps”) cabin for the annual Christmas market at Klunkerkranich. Tip: Double-check the events schedule on their site, as arriving after 4 pm during an event or performance would cost you an entry fee of between €3 to €6.
Klunkerkranich, Karl-Marx-Straße 66, Neuköln, 12043 Berlin, Germany