Not much beats sitting in a warm, traditional German pub with a half-litre of beer: we pick Berlin’s best establishments that even the locals love
1. Dicke Wirtin, Charlottenburg
Small, cramped, warm and every inch of wall covered by… well, something. Dicke Wirtin
is a traditional Berlin pub at its very best, and if you want the truly authentic feel, this is where to go. The food is a slightly above average, compared to normal Berlin prices, but by no means extortionate (around €10 or more for a main), and you pay for both quality and quantity – true German food is never small by any means! Charlottenburg Palace (Shutterstock)
The Schöneberger Rinderroulade (beef roulade with tasty red cabbage and potato dumplings) is divine, stick to the traditional German fare and you will certainly not be hungry afterwards. The crowd here is particularly local, and as a sports bar it can get busy on occasion, but for the nine varieties of beers on tap it really is worth it.
But Dicke Wirtin is only one of Charlottenburg's many fantastic eating haunts – so if you're hanging around a little longer, make sure to seek out some more
2. Zum Nussbaum, Nikolaiviertel
Zum Nussbaum may not appear the most prepossessing of pubs – inside or out – but that’s the beauty of it. The great thing about the Nut Tree is just how quiet it is, how rewarding that feeling is when you get a table (it’s a tiny pub that only sits about 20 people) and its rich history as one of the oldest pubs in Berlin. Nestled in the Nikolaiviertel, the Old Quarter of Berlin, the Nussbaum has had many famous Berlin patrons such as cartoonist Heinrich Zille. Spree river, with Berliner Dom (Shutterstock)
The pub is usually quiet and intimate. It’s also a great place for striking up conversation with the locals, maybe even practicing your German. With Stein-lined shelves, old-fashioned décor and some of Zille’s most famous portraits hanging on the walls, you can’t help but feel you’ve gone back to old-time Berlin.
Up for more quirky sights? See our guide to Berlin's alternative attractions
3. Brauhaus Mitte, Alexanderplatz
If you’re looking for good, cheap German grub, then the more modern Brauhaus Mitte
is one of the most popular spots in the city. Almost all mains are under €10 (the spätzle is top notch), the portions are huge and the beer can’t be faulted. Be wary of weekends when it can be impossible to find a seat without a booked table; the Brauhaus is rarely quiet. Berlin skyline (Shutterstock)
The pub has a great location (just off Alexanderplatz), has a great atmosphere and is very foreigner-friendly. Here you’ll also find the Brauhaus Pilsener – the specially brewed Brauhaus wheat beer – which is quite light and a personal favourite in Berlin.
Planning a quick trip to Berlin? You need our short break guide
4. Hofbräuhaus München Berlin, Alexanderplatz
Traditional Bavarian beer house fun is what Hofbräu München
offers. It’s loud, it’s proud – it’s so German, and made up to recreate Oktoberfest. The beer is wonderful (if you can grab a waitress to serve you) and comes in half litre tankers or more.
The traditional food on offer is not to be missed either, so get to know your German bar snacks
before you go! The hall itself is huge and the tables and chairs are the traditional type you'd find in the South German beer halls. Beer and pretzel (Shutterstock)
There’s live traditional German music nearly every single day of the year, dancing, lederhosen, dirndls... if you missed Oktoberfest, this really is the next best place to go. It’s rammed on winter weekends – so plan wisely. If you’re determined to get a seat, then avoid Fridays and Saturdays.
However, if the true beer hall feel is what you’re after and being squashed among Berliners is your thing, then a Friday night at the Hofbräuhaus might just be up your street. The summer months are also not to be missed, with plentiful outdoor seating just off Alexanderplatz.
5. Alt-Berliner Wirtshaus, Mitte
If you’re looking for something central with rustic German ambience that isn’t full to the brim (unless you’re talking beer), Alt-Berliner Wirtshaus
is a quiet, discreet, undiscovered, traditional German pub only minutes from the Brandenburg Gate.
The staff are friendly and chatty, especially if you’re willing to try your hand at German (although they do also have English menus) and the food is fantastic – the ‘Hoppel Poppel’ (a gigantic omelette stuffed with spuds, pork, onions and cheese) is worth ordering not just because of the name, but it’s also pretty delicious. Street view in Mitte district (Shutterstock)
Alt-Berliner Wirtshaus is also a great setting for families and is fantastically suited for a quiet get-together. Simply sit and absorb the atmosphere (as well as the beer), or to enjoy a quiet meal with friends.
After you've stocked yourself up on pilsner, what better thing to do than make the most of budget Berlin and explore the district's (mostly free) art galleries
6. Georgbräu Brauhaus, Nikolaiviertel
Another gem hidden away in Berlin’s Nikolaiviertel, the Georgbräu
couldn’t be more different from the Nussbaum. A huge, high-ceilinged, spacious pub situated right on the river, it’s one of the many establishments in Berlin that has its own in-house brewery, and is the only place you’ll find St George Pilsener. In the summer it’s perfect for relaxing alongside the Spree River with a beer in hand, especially if you’re interested in trying the beers away from the usual Pilsener. Schnitzel with french fries (Shutterstock)
They also do excellent schnitzel (a must-try in Germany) and plenty of warming, traditional German food sourced from the Berlin/Brandenburg area. They have some vegetarian dishes
on offer, too, which will be a welcome sight by some in a city that prides itself on all things meaty! The pub can be busy, but the individual booths make even the most crowded of parties unobtrusive, and it’s certainly one to cross off the list for a true beer connoisseur. Main image: Berliner Pilsner logo (Shutterstock)