Berlin is truly a city of mystery. On the surface, it buzzes with life—cyclists on their way to work, restaurants grilling up specialties from all over the globe, children playing football in the park.
Concealed by the unassuming residential blocks and busy streets, however, is a web of underground secrets. And hidden in plain sight you can find some of Berlin’s chicest and most obscure bars and nightlife destinations serving up some of the best cocktails you’ve ever had the pleasure to taste.
You can find many lists online about the best “secret” cocktail bars in Berlin. For example, from this Buzzfeed article, which we imagine isn’t too much of a secret now anyways…
Personally, we think that may be doing some injustice to both the visitor, depriving them the opportunity to stumble across these obscure treasures on their own, and the residents, who want to keep their favorite hidden spots, well… hidden.
So instead, we will write about one bar with the speakeasy feel that is considered one of the earliest serious cocktail bars to call Berlin home and one of the most delicious places to wet your palate since 2001: Victoria Bar.
And since the early 2000s, Berlin’s craft drink and slow food scene has taken off (with the Buzzfeed list as evidence to prove that). The founders—Stefan Weber, Kerstin Ehmer and Beate Hindermann—must have had some excellent intuition…
The vibe at Victoria Bar
Wood paneled walls covered with contemporary art, dark floors, leather couches and an Art Deco vibe blend modern with retro, to create a 1920s vibe. Various music genres—from reggae to jazz to soul and so much more—hum in the background. As the evening rolls on the music gets louder—often turning to live singers who are sure to impress.
While the stylish atmosphere and sophisticated drink menu may be a little intimidating to the beginner, the incredibly friendly and helpful staff are sure to put you at ease, willing to offer suggestions for some of their magical concoctions.
A taste of the classics
Atmosphere is nice, but what were really interested in here are the classic potions that have cemented Victoria Bar as a Berlin institution. Get in early to take advantage of their Happy Hour everyday from 18:30 to 21:30 (and all night on Sunday), where drinks are served at the discounted price of €8,50 for alcoholic and €6,50 for non-alcoholic.
For the non-educated drinker (such as myself, more on that later), classic titles like Earl of Victoria, Corpse Reviver, Old Monk Sour, Rosemary’s Baby or Sidecar may not be too indicative of what ingredients the cocktail is made of, but you can be sure it will be carefully crafted and absolutely delicious! Feeling a little overwhelmed? Check out their menu here to figure out what’s in these crazy concoctions.
The School of Sophisticated Drinking
Not to fear if you’re uneducated in the world of refined drinking, Victoria Bar established the School of Sophisticated Drinking in 2003. Taking place each Sunday afternoon, pupils are educated on the social, cultural and political history of drinks, all while learning the mix the immaculate blends themselves.
The school itself is taught in German, but the bar has also recently published an English-language edition of the book also entitled The School of Sophisticated Drinking. Inquisitive anecdotes accompany cocktail recipes from the original lectures, giving everyone the chance to become a truly refined drinker in their own right.