Bars & Pubs

EXB’s Labour Day 2021 drinking guide

Cushion the double blow of endless lockdown and nasty weather with the finest takeout booze Berlin has to offer, from Bloody Marys to alcoholic slushies.

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So uh, how’s everyone doing these days?

JK LOL, everything sucks. It’s the coldest spring since 1881 and we have to endure an ancient Egyptian excerebration ritual every time we want to buy socks. Most of us owe our landlords hundreds of euros in Mietendeckel back payments and we can’t sit alone on a restaurant patio, but we can stand in a hundreds-strong taco queue as long as it’s before 10pm and we’re there with our immediate family, or an infinite number of kids under 14, or four people, a goat and a cabbage.

That said, it’s about to be May 1, and none of Berlin’s increasingly byzantine lockdown rules preclude us from participating in the holiday’s two most cherished traditions: protesting and day drinking. My esteemed colleague Nathaniel has already covered the former, so here’s my Späti-free guide to the latter. (It goes without saying that you should keep a respectful distance from other revellers and wear a mask when you can’t, right? Right.)

Morning: Allan’s Breakfast Club

Ready to take “Rosé all day” literally? The best li’l French-Australian brunch bar in Prenzlauer Berg will be open for takeout from 9:30am, serving litre upon litre of pink-tinted house wine as well as spritzes, mimosas and a Bloody Mary that deserves to have its picture next to the drink’s dictionary definition. 

Noon: Mikkeller 

On your way down south, swing by the Torstraße outpost of the Danish brewery for a cartoonishly colourful can of craft beer – either the house pale ale or a “Pool Party Fantasy” pastry sour (that’s the dessert-flavoured beer style du jour) from Polish guests Maltgarden. They also happen to be hosting a “Jewish ramen” pop-up this weekend, which both intrigues and terrifies me.

Afternoon: Eigengrau

Speaking of pop-ups, word on the street is that those terrified of Birds In The Kitchen’s mega-queue can simply stop by a few hours after opening, when the early birds are all sated and there’s still plenty of Berlin’s most hyped fried chicken to go round. Even if that’s not true and today’s sandwich supply vanishes before you get there, you can always pick up an alcoholic slushie at the Kreuzberg cocktail bar hosting the event. Sip it at nearby Görli and marvel at the fact that just two years ago, you were in this exact same spot surrounded by 500 of your closest friends, having a mojito mixed directly in your mouth.

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Early evening: Velvet 

After doing your part for the revolution (the main May Day demo’s at Hermannplatz, 5pm) head for a sophisticated tipple amid the cell phone stores and döner stands of mid-Neukölln. Velvet’s exquisitely mixed cocktails usually involve a delicate balance of liquors, tinctures and infusions using flowers and herbs foraged from nearby parks. Bring scissors and a reusable straw so you can drink ‘em straight from the plastic bags they’re sold in, Capri Sun-style.

Sundown: Krass Böse Wolf

Kreuzberg and Neukölln may be getting a little hairy at this point, so why not retreat to Elsenbrücke to watch the sun set over Molecule Man, Negroni or Moscow Mule in hand? The Kneipe across from Renate has always served terrific classic cocktails and longdrinks, and now you can enjoy them in bottled form without worrying about whether you look enough like a kinky circus clown to get in tonight. 

10pm: Der Schnapsfahrer

Curfew time, boys and girls! If you’re in Kreuzberg, Neukölln or Alt-Treptow, tuck yourself in with an Absacker from the fine gents at Tier – just call up their delivery service or message them online before 11, and they’ll be over with a double portion of one of their bottled cocktails. (For the full bar experience, an extra €2.50 gets you a tumbler and one of those giant, glass-sized ice cubes.) Because remember, no matter how bad life might seem right now, there’s always Hoffnung. Which in this case is a mixture of lime juice, herbs and plenty of gin.