As soon as the winter weather warms up and the first temperate days of spring emerge, Berliners flock to the hundreds of biergartens in the capital to enjoy the sun, meet with friends, and of course – drink steins of Germany’s best beer.
Originating in Bavaria, beer gardens (translated from biergarten) are large outdoor areas attached to beer halls, restaurants and pubs, the best of which are sunny gardens lined with long communal tables and filled with the sounds of conversation, debate and laughter. A visit to a biergarten can be an afternoon family affair, the start to an intimate date or the beginning of a raucous night out with friends. Usually a few types of beer will be on offer, as well as a selection of simple wursts (sausages), doughy pretzels or cakes. On a pleasant day, nothing is better than a visit to a biergarten – here are five of our favourites.
Kastanienallee 7 – 9
April-September after 12pm
No tour of Berlin’s biergartens is complete without a stop at Prater. This is the oldest biergarten in Berlin, and it should be your first or only one if you only got so much time (our top pick)! PraterGarten boasts that “beer has been served under the shade of chestnut trees since 1837,” and after nearly two hundred years, they have mastered the combination of fresh beer, tasty food and a great outdoor atmosphere. Despite its popularity, with 600 seats you can still easily find a place to sit, and the prices remain affordable enough that you’re likely to be surrounded by people from all walks of life.
After spending time in trendy neighbourhoods like Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, you may want to branch out in search of the next ‘cool’ area – and my bet is on the industrial wastelands of Neukölln, home of a tiny biergarten with a lot of style. Nestled amidst the ruin porn of abandoned factories and crumbling buildings is the Privatbrauerei Am Rollberg, an artisanal craft brewery that makes modern updates of German classics such as red, wheat and bock. While the beer is good, the location is even better, and the small biergarten outside will make you want to venture out to Neukolln every sunny day.
If you’re visiting Berlin with kids (or you’re a big kid yourself) in the summer, then you’ll want to spend an afternoon relaxing in the shade at Brachvogel Biergarten. Located on a vast expanse of park land right across from the Prinzenbad swimming pool, this outdoor pub has a minigolf course and playground to keep young ones occupied, as well as live musicians that provide a spirited atmosphere. A bit more upmarket than most biergartens, Brachvogel also offers a Mediterranean menu and long wine list.
Not content to be a typical biergarten, in 2001 Eschenbrau Craft Brewery famously began brewing “a beer for every season,” made onsite in the basement of an apartment building! With three year round offerings and a selection of nine seasonal brews, these guys take their beer very seriously – and their reputation for taste, quality and value means that their lovely courtyard biergarten is always bustling. In the Summer, they expand operations to include a selection of German snacks (the pretzels are a favourite) that will slay your beer munchies. Highly recommended!
End of April- end of September, 9am till open end
Famously a biergarten for all demographics, Golgatha has a coveted location in Kreuzberg's Viktoriapark. Surrounded by lush park land and tall trees, this is an afternoon oasis for local parents and old timers popping in for a summer tipple, but by the time 7pm rolls around its status as a firm afterwork favourite for local Kreuzberg hipsters makes itself apparent. Beach chairs for the languid, benches and tables for the social - two floors of outdoor bliss for everyone. After dark, Golgatha transforms into a nightclub atmosphere with DJs and a dancefloor, so it can truly fill all of your socializing needs!
Written by Jessica O’Neill