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The THUMP Guide to Berlin: The Best Bars to Start Your Night

Berlin is especially known for its many clubs. But without the incredibly high number of bars and pubs, there wouldn’t be as many clubs in the first place.
July 30, 2015, 3:50am
Klunkerkranich, Neukölln

In collaboration with Jägermeister.

We've already explained that Berlin is one of the best places in the world to go clubbing, but this should be common knowledge by now. Although the sheer amount of clubs is not exactly helpful, when it's not worth showing up at any of them before 2 AM. Oh, how to pass the time? More importantly, spending these hours in a way that'll get you pumped for a night of partying until noon on the next day?

Simple solution: in the right bars. As Berlin has so many of those, it's almost impossible not to run into them. Of course, not all of them are worth visiting. Especially as a tourist, you might end up in the wrong spots. That's why we took the time to compile a list of bars and pubs that will be worth your while.

Klunkerkranich, Neukölln

The Klunkerkranich is a dream come true of Berlin's spirit, almost too much of cliché to be real. But it is real: On top of the Neukölln Arcaden, a boring small-town-like shopping center, a bunch of committed and creative people built a bar with lots of wood. Tables, benches and flowerbeds create the comfortable atmosphere of a beer garden with a view over the entire city. In case of rain, the small wooden cottage provides shelter. They offer some pretty good pizza, but actually the Kranich is an awesome place for prepartying and hanging out. After two years of service, the Klunkerkranich isn't really an insider's tip anymore, but even the locals who are regularly coming for a cold beer simply can't get enough of the view. Absolutely a must for tourists, because you have an incredible overview of the whole city and especially of the hip districts of Neukölln and Kreuzberg.

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Franken Bar, Kreuzberg

The Franken Bar is located in the Oranienstraße, the heart of Kreuzberg, considering bars, pubs and food. So you should consider spending a night here in the first place. Because if the Franken Bar is too crowded, there are hundreds of other places to have a beer. But you should still try your luck here. This pub first opened in the mid eighties, when Kreuzberg was still Punk as Fuck and Berlin was still divided. Just across the street lies the SO36, the legendary Punk joint in Berlin. They also have concerts at the Franken regularly, combined with lots a beer and Punk-attitude. A real Kreuzberg original.

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Minimal Bar, Friedrichshain

Friedrichshain used to be the number one partying hotspot of Berlin, like ten to 15 years ago. The German reunification had not yet affected this district and it offered endless possibilities and open spaces. Empty houses turned into temporary Techno clubs, lots of bars and pubs were opened without any permits. You can still feel this spirit in some parts of Friedrichshain today. For example, it offers the highest density of clubs in Berlin. And there are a lot of bars. But we're not going to recommend the touristy Simon-Dach-Straße, you should go check out the Samariterkiez (Underground station Samariterstraße) and the Minimal Bar. Almost daily, you can listen to some still unknown but very talented DJs while hanging out on the sofas. But they also have a nice little dancefloor and, the highlight, an indoor table tennis table. So kind of the perfect place to get started, but beware, you might as well end up here for good!

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Muschi Obermaier, Mitte

Muschi Obermaier is still one of those rare spots in Mitte, which is still filled with the energy and charm so typical for this district 20 or 25 years ago. Before Berlin turned into the international center for Tourism, Shopping and Hipster-lifestyle. The Muschi Obermaier is all dark from the outside, full of coolness and – of course – a major Hipster hotspot. But nonetheless, it is a really good bar and one of the few places in Mitte that won't let you down. Various DJs are in charge of music and the naked photographs of Hippie-icon Uschi Obermaier are reminding the guests of the legendary Kommune I, as well as creating some sixties vibes. A great place to meet locals, that have been living in the area for years, despite gentrification.

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Lerchen & Eulen, Kreuzberg

This bar in the Wrangelkiez is definitely one of the most beautiful locations in the Kreuzberg area. Living room flair with different pieces of furniture, lots of DIY, supercool, but from the heart. Because the owners are doing so much by themselves, you might have to wait for your drinks once in a while, but the prices are pretty low. So tip them well! Lerchen & Eulen is still an insider's tip, but most of the time it can get really crowded. So if you believe in a higher being, pray for Berlin always being a home for places like this nice little bar.

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Nathanja & Heinrich, Neukölln

The Nathanja & Heinrich is not really that different from Lerchen & Eulen, but it is located on the other side of the canal, in Neukölln. A little fancier, but with high quality drinks. The status of an insider's tip is long gone, because even though this place is rather big, finding a place to sit down isn't easy. But you should try nonetheless. Nathanja & Heinrich is the hip meeting place in the Neuköllner Kiez of the Weserstraße, even though it is located in a side road. You want to see the kinds of people mentioned in all of the Hype-articles? You can find them right here.

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Analog, Wedding

There probably aren't that many tourists ending up in Wedding. This district in the north of Berlin is steadily evolving into a place for creative and cool people, but it can't keep up with Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Friedrichshain considering bars and clubs. But because of this, there are some hidden treasures to be found. Full of that charm of Berlin, which becomes harder to find day by day. The Analog definitely is one of those locations. And it definitely is hidden – only the small logo of a cassette tape marks the spot. As the name of this bar suggests, Spotify-playlists, mp3s and even CD's are not welcome. All of their music either comes from vinyl or tapes, DJs only use vinyl and they sometimes have live music. Played through an analog mixer of course.

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Salon zur Wilden Renate, Friedrichshain

The Salong zur Wilden Renate – or as they usually call it in Berlin: die Renate - is located in a former run-down residential building next to the Ostkreuz. The tight dancefloors, twisted corridors, sofas and bunk beds really turn the Renate into an extraordinary location. The building and the garden are imaginatively decorated and transport you to another world. A world filled with the feeling of the nineties, when so many houses in the eats of Berlin were empty and all kinds of illegal Techno parties took place there. And the parties are usually just as wild as they were back then. Since 2013, there also is an open-air location on the other side of the Spree called ELSE, with big red lips as its entrance. ELSE is also a popular location for Sunday afterhours in Berlin.

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