The Best Places to Drink Wine in Berlin

Though some of the greatest white wines in the world are produced in the Germany’s southwest, Berlin is a city surrounded by fields of wheat and grain—a fact that works to substantiate its reputation as a beer town, and not a wine mecca. Yet over the course of the last few years Berlin’s wine scene has become a beacon for other German cities, like Munich and Hamburg, setting trends rather than reacting to them. And while there’s no denying that the city shines when it comes to riesling, there’s now a wine bar for every philosophy, taste and budget. The uniqueness of the city’s wine scene, though, is more about its approach than the composition of the wines available. There is a sense of humor and approachability—a free-spiritedness, if you will—funneled into its wine culture that is altogether rare, and uniquely its own.

Collected by Billy Wagner and translated by Paula Sidore.

  • 1

    Cordobar

    Located just a short walk from Berlin's über-hip Torstraße and the Hackescher Markt, Cordobar is the wine bar on everyone's lips. The bar, which is named for the 1978 World Cup final dubbed the "Miracle of Cordoba"—miracle because it saw the Austrian football team beat the Germans for the first time in 47 years—is also a cheeky reference to the bar's half-German, half-Austrian ownership. Young chef Lukas Mraz rules the kitchen with dishes that are surprising for their precision, while Willi Schlögl and Gerhard Retter run an exceptional list of primarily Austrian and German wines (again, hence the name) with great charm.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • riesling
    • champagne
    • vintage wine
    • low wine markups
    • full menu
    • cheap date
    • outdoor / patio
  • 2

    Briefmarken Weine

    Briefmarken Weine, a former shop selling collectible stamps (really), is home to what is very likely the best pasta available north of the Alps. Served up in a very typical airy, brick-lined room, the bar's daily-rotating pasta dishes are served up alongside an amazing range of exclusively Italian wines. If you're interested in exploring Italy, from the classics to the farther-flung leaders of the country's natural wine movement, at low prices, this is the place.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • Italian wine
    • low wine markups
    • bar food
    • historic
    • outdoor / patio
  • 3

    Hammers Weinkostbar

    In 2007 Jürgen Hammer & Manuela (Manu) Sporbert opened what was supposed to be a wine store and sandwich shop. But nobody knows wine—and how to talk about it—better than Jürgen, so the shop quickly and unintentionally morphed into a bar. Their one-of-a-kind wine list is not only the best around, but is just as handcrafted and tasty as one of Manu's incredible, homemade sandwiches.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • vintage wine
    • low wine markups
    • bar food
    • cheap date
    • outdoor / patio
  • 4

    Kurpfalz-Weinstuben

    There are local joints, and then there's Kurpfalz-Weinstuben. Wooden signs on the walls, classic Römer glassware, crocheted tablecloths and a small summer terrace—Herr Schulz's restaurant embodies what a jumping Berlin joint might have looked like in the 1920s or '30s. Also: you won't find better pork belly and roulade anywhere in the city.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • vintage wine
    • low wine markups
    • full menu
    • outdoor / patio
  • 5

    Maxim

    The phenomenon that began in Paris and then hopped the pond to New York, Tokyo and Copenhagen has finally arrived in Berlin: natural wine. Maxim's, which opened in 2014, has quickly assumed the role of leader of the naturalist charge, offering a tightly curated selection of wines from France, Germany, Spain and Austria, along with a fantastic selection of raw milk cheeses and artisanal sausages.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • champagne
    • low wine markups
    • full menu
    • outdoor / patio
  • 6

    Ottorink Weinbar

    "Kotti," as Berlin's gritty Kottbuser Tor district is known, is a great place to pick up a dime bag, if that's your thing. Or just a short walk away, right next to the legendary Würgelengel bar, you'll find one of the coziest wine bars in all of Berlin. Andreas Rink isn't from Berlin originally, but has somehow managed to convince Kreuzberg's notoriously alternative crowd to lay off the cheap beer and give a decent wine a chance. He also maintains a low-key selection of mostly cold starter plates.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • low wine markups
    • bar food
    • historic
    • cheap date
    • outdoor / patio
  • 7

    Weinbar Rutz

    Rutz's high-low approach has made it a sort of every-occasion wine destination. The refined dishes of Michelin-star chef Marco Müller grace the tables at the restaurant upstairs, while in the wine bar on the first floor you'll find simpler fare like stew and ribs (the best in the city). The wine list hits tables on both floors and features almost 900 bottles, 400 of which are dedicated to riesling. So if the grape and its wines still conjure bad memories of candy-sweet Liebfraumilch and Blue Nun, this is the place to update your perspective.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • vintage wine
    • champagne
    • low wine markups
    • craft beer
    • full menu
    • outdoor / patio
  • 8

    Weinschenke Weinstein

    The wine list at Weinschenke Weinstein is one of the city's most value-driven, with rieslings going back to the mid '90s, all priced under 100 euro. And while wine is a huge draw here, the restaurant continues to establish itself as one of the best in Prenzlauer Berg. The bar also features a fantastic selection of sausage and cheese produced in and around Berlin, Mangalitsa ham and the spiciest horseradish the city has to offer.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • vintage wine
    • low wine markups
    • full menu
    • cheap date
    • outdoor / patio
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