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The best wine bars in Berlin: Bubbles, bites and people watching

There's more to Germany than beer gardens. Our pick of the best Berlin wine bars are great spots for natural wines, small plates and people watching.

Photo: Gebhart de Koekkoek

Don’t get us wrong, we love biergartens. But we’re at that inevitable part of the Berlin summer – i.e., most of it – where biergarten-friendly weather isn’t always a given.

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And anyway, whether you’re sitting on a sunlit terrace or perched at a candlelit indoor bar, there are times when only a feisty red, buttery white or crisp rose will do. From trendy natural wine hangouts to ultra-German taverns, here are 11 of our favourites.

Most choice: Freundschaft

Photo: Louis Hansel / Unsplash

The Freundschaft (or friendship) in question is between Willi Schlögl, formerly of scenester hangout Cordobar, and Johannes Schellhorn, ex-sommelier at Nobelhart & Schmutzig. And this friendship is a productive one: visitors to the Mitte wine bar have a mind-boggling 600 bottles to choose from, mostly from Austria and France, selected for their quality and unique “signature”. Many, but not all, are sustainable and/or biodynamic. Among the 10-15 open wines on offer, you’ll always find one sparkling, one sweet, one rose and plentiful dry options. A small menu of Austrian-leaning bar bites will ensure you “don’t get too drunk too quickly”, in the words of the two friends. Sit around the cosy bar or on the outdoor terrace, which in summer stays open till late into the evening.

  • Freundschaft, Mittelstr. 1, Mitte, details.

Best French bottles and Brandenburg bites: jaja

Photo: Jaja

Original founders Etienne Dodet and Julia Giese may have departed, but the wine at this white-tiled spot on Weichselstraße remains the same. Some 200 bottles showcasing tiny obscure vineyards and ancient, near-extinct grape varieties, mostly from France, all with as little intervention as possible. The menu, too, is still excellent, particularly the dishes made with fruit and veggies from local farmers or jaja’s own garden plot in Gerswalde.

  • jaja, Weichselstr. 7, Neukölln, details.

Most cosy: Bar Normal

Photo: Gebhart de Koekkoek

The clue is in the name. In a city where natural wine and sharing plates have become, well, the norm, Van Anh Le’s dimly lit Prenzlauer Berg nook stands out for its lack of fancypants airs. The kitchen doesn’t overdo it with luxury ingredients or fussy techniques – in fact, Normal’s first signature dish was a simple plate of Dutch-style bitterballen, fried meat croquettes with mustard sauce. Head there now and you might start with homemade focaccia before moving on to stewed beans, zucchini carpaccio or a bowl of mussels, all washed down with an outrageously good selection of glasses and bottles. 

  • Bar Normal, Oderberger Str. 7, Prenzlauer Berg, details.

Friendliest atmosphere: Liesl Weinwirtschaft

Photo: Lina Mendoza

When Liesl, a smoky Wohnzimmerkneipe with cheap beer and a vinyl soundtrack, closed its doors after over a decade in Neukölln, one of its regulars stepped in to take it over. This was no ordinary punter, though: Wolfgang Baumeister is an importer specialising in natural, biodynamic and orange wines from all over southeastern Europe. That’s what you’ll find at Liesl’s new incarnation, along with snack boards full of local pickles and cheese, bread from neighbouring sourdough bakery Taktil, and even Slovenian sardines to match the Malvasia from the Slovenian Butul family.

  • Liesl Weinwirtschaft, Nogatstr. 30, Neukölln, details.

Most Kreuzberg: Ottorink

Photo: Lena Ganssmann

A visit to Andreas Rink’s Kreuzberg wine bar is always a surprise: every two to three weeks, he completely changes the wine list. What you can usually expect, though, is around 12 open wines, mainly from German regions like the Rheingau, the Mosel and the Palatinate. Rink doesn’t follow any specific principles in his selection, but rather “gives every winemaker a chance” to convince him. Have a glass or two with a hearty meat or cheese charcuterie plate, either indoors or out amidst the Kotti chaos on the terrace.

  • Ottorink, Dresdener Str. 124, Kreuzberg, details.

Best bubbles: Bean

Photo: Bean

Elegant, open-minded and thirsty for discovery: this 40sqm space in Wedding might just be the most exciting wine bar in Berlin right now. It’s definitely one of the best-looking, with neo-Brutalist rough plaster set against warm oak. Take a seat at the pint-sized bar and dive into the selection of 35(!) open wines, all of them natural – you’re free to ask for a taste or two before you commit. Or go for the equally excellent range of champagne. To eat, there are freshly prepared tapas served by Portuguese owner Gonçalo de Sousa Monteiro, also of neighbouring cocktail bar Buck & Breck.

  • Bean, Brunnenstr. 177, Wedding, details.

Best people-watching: Frau Luna

Image for Our favourite wine bars in Berlin

Photo: Frau Luna

Ah, Paul-Linke-Ufer, the Côte d‘Azur of Kreuzberg. Opened in 2019 where the Übersee café used to be, Frau Luna proved a perfect match for the canal-side street’s swanky riviera vibe: great wines (from Charlottenburg supplier Viniculture), potent spritzes and beautifully presented spreads of light bites. The open-faced sandwiches, on Albatross sourdough, are especially worth ordering. Have a seat right on the canal or take shelter under the greenhouse-like roof.

  • Frau Luna, Paul-Lincke-Ufer 44, Kreuzberg, details.

Least pretentious: Salvatore Pulvermacher

Photo: Salvatore Pulvermacher

This quintessential Berlin wine bar is tucked between Mauerpark and Schönhauser Allee. Nothing chichi about this place – just pure old-school Gemütlichkeit, where the wine, tap beer and whiskey flow freely amid a haze of cigarette smoke. There are just a handful of carefully selected European reds, whites and rosés offered by the glass each night, with bottles available on request; currently being showcased are Moulin Materels, a French Viogner with fresh, delicate fruity aromas.

  • Salvatore Pulvermacher, Cantianstr. 21, Prenzlauer Berg, details.

Best winery: Weinverein

Photo: Janko Ferlič / Unsplash

Don’t let the relaxed atmosphere fool you: at this pair of bars in Schöneberg and Kreuzberg, wine is very serious business. There’s a long list of eloquently described Rieslings and Burgunder from the Weinverein’s partner winery, Stallmann-Hiestand in Rhineland Palatinate, alongside a handful of offerings from other artisanal wineries in the region, all sold by the glass and reasonably priced. Good quality and transparency is the theme here, which also extends to the food, whether it’s the hearty Landbrot topped with ham, salami or cheese from regional producers, or a vast selection of meaty and vegetarian Flammkuchen.

  • Weinverein Rote Insel, Leuthener Str. 5, Schöneberg; Weinverein am Berg, Fidicinstr. 38, Kreuzberg, details.

Best for visitors: Lochner Weinwirtschaft

Photo: Lochner Weinwirtschaft

If you’re looking to introduce friends or relatives to the world of German wine – and German food – look no further than Andreas Lochner’s Schöneberg bar and restaurant. There are some 350 bottles to choose from, mostly from Germany and Austria, running the gamut from cheap house wine to high-class rarity. As for the food, it’s “German tapas”, to be ordered individually or as a four- or five-course tasting menu, including dishes like cured salmon, braised ox cheek, Austrian Tafelspitz and, why not, currywurst.

  • Lochner Weinwirtschaft, Eisenacher Str. 86, Schöneberg, details.

Most Instagrammable: Ora

Photo: ORA Restaurant & Wine Bar

Taken over by the Michelberger Hotel crew in mid-2020, the former apothecary on Oranienplatz oozes atmosphere. Its long wooden bar, festooned with old medicine bottles, now doles out medication of another kind: natural wines from across Europe and South Africa, with some truly exciting discoveries to be had for €30-€40 a bottle. You can get a pretty great three-course meal from chef Sam Kindillon, but we won’t blame you for sticking to the bar snacks, like a lovely plate of thin-sliced melon and prosciutto with chilli salt, Fish Klub oysters or toast topped with Roddie Sloan razor clams.

  • ORA, Oranienplatz 14, Kreuzberg, details.