When I first moved from Brooklyn to Berlin I was surprised at how limited the beer selection is at the average liquor store or Späti. It turns out you can find any kind of beer you want in Berlin, but you need to plan ahead and make a special trip. Here are a few bars and liquor stores where you can get imports like IPA’s or Belgian beers. Be warned: even though Berlin has a well-deserved reputation for low prices, that does not apply to imported beer. All of these places are cash-only.
This bar sells tasty imported microbrews, good atmosphere and the only shuffleboard table I’ve ever seen outside of the US. It could be my imagination but the beer glasses here seemed smaller than normal. They have some stuff from Mikkeller if you’re into that, personally I find their stuff way overpriced and more hype than taste. I liked all of the tap beers here.
The name means “vagabond.” Another bar serving microbrews, some that they make themselves. Their IPA has a proper full flavor and is served in a proper glass, possibly because this place was founded by an American guy. Again, I liked all the beers on tap here.
This bar specializes in Belgian beers, and has a very large selection of bottled beers, including some hard-to-find really good Gueuze beers.
If you don’t feel like paying €9.80 for a botte of Gueuze there is always a nice Belgian beer on tap for about €4, one of the best bargains in Berlin. The bartenders are very knowledgeable about Belgian beer and despite the minimalist décor this is a fun bar.
Room 77 is located in Bitcoinkeiz (“Bitcoin neighborhood”). They serve proper burgers and fries just as good as you’d find in the US, and they have a good local beer on tap they call Rotbier (“red beer”). It’s not imported but it’s a break from the local monoculture of 500 similar-tasting Pilsners. You can pay your bill here using bitcoins and the vibe is awesome. Great place to talk to random people.
This is the best bar in Berlin to drink beer in. They have proper beer on tap and the prices are competitive for Berlin. They have a huge bottle list. And best of all, there is a pub culture there like you’d find in New York or Scotland. You sit down on a barstool and have a chat with the bartender and the other patrons. If I opened a bar it would look a lot like this.
The name literally means “drinks delicacies”. This is one of the few liquor stores I know of in Berlin where you can buy bottles of Belgian beer to take home. The prices aren’t much lower than buying the same beer in a bar. They also sell beer from the US but the prices are so high I always decided to wait until I was back home. This is my favorite beer store in Berlin., the prices are high but they almost always have what I came for.
This place was a bit of a letdown. It’s almost never open so you have to make a special trip, and it seems like every beer they have is some unusual beer with this huge backstory so you’re expected to pay €10 for a 11.2 ounce bottle. There is beer stacked randomly all over the place and the place is pretty dusty, which is kind of a cool atmosphere for a store… unless they sell things you eat or drink. Every time I went here I didn’t find what I was looking for and paid a lot of money for beer that tasted good but wasn’t worth the price.
If I left your favorite place off the list feel free to leave it in the comments!