Imagine one of those Berlin December nights, lights out at 5pm, the weather cold, probably wet, and the mood low, with a winter depression lurking around the corner. Then, a warmly lit bar, cosy couches, nice bartenders, a good choice of booze, some easy, non-disturbing music. And a freshly fried, whole cauliflower placed directly in front of you, ready to be devoured with your drink of choice. Welcome to Pauly Bar.
Faced with yet another Berlin bar serving only cheap beer and bad wine, you must have at some point also imagined a Street Food Thursday for drinks; instead of smoked fish or barbecue there’d be craft ciders and special cocktails, instead of veggies and spätzle there’d be spicy bloody marys and crisply bright Rieslings. The setting wouldn’t be the Markthalle, instead it’d be in a more industrial space, maybe one in the very heart of Berlin’s nightlife?
I like secrets; but keeping them has never been a strong suit of mine. I like local hangs and hidden gems and I ooze with excitement whenever I discover something new. In my quest to explore my Kreuzberg neighbourhood, I stumbled upon an amazing bar: Schwarze Traube. Which turns out to be run by the best bartender of Germany, Atalay Aktas.
For my second visit to the Schöneberg cocktail scene (find my report of the first here), my friend suggested Salut, an exclamation-mark adorned place I must have walked by a hundred times on my way to her house from Nollendorfplatz.
I like my bars empty, I do. Matter of fact, I prefer them that way. Not that I don’t like having other people there, just that I appreciate that certain surplus of personal space that comes with, say, a library before closing time, or a second-hand record store on a Tuesday morning.