Article (D) guide: Best Cafés and Coffee Houses

Best Cafés and Coffee Houses
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In this guide you will be taken around the twenty best cafés in Berlin. Within them can be found a world that dosen’t require identification or dress-code, or the complications of elongated menus, but simply good coffee, with a drop of Berlin’s unique and enduring character.

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Guide Name: Best Cafés and Coffee Houses
Guide Location: Germany » Berlin
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (D))
# of Destinations: 20
Author: Bertie Digby Alexander Lawson
Author Bio: I'm Bertie from Britain. I am an English Literature graduate from the University of Liverpool, now living in Berlin. I love exploring new places and appreciating high and scruffy culture! I like reading and writing, walking and watching, and doing it all in exciting places. I enjoy mornings with coffee and newspapers, afternoons in a sunny beer garden, and evenings enjoying wine and cheese and engaging conversation.
Schwarzes Café

1) Schwarzes Café

At any hour, every queer fish of Charlottenburg can find sanctuary, in Schwarzes Café. Originally created by West Berlin anarchists, this café in Charlottenburg is open 24 hours a day (save for a few hours on a Tuesday afternoon), welcoming students, workers, clubbers, vagrants and all other creatures of the night. There is an extensive drinks list, and the food is of a high quality and a delivered in generous portions. At night, candles are lit and the place becomes a little gothic; the...
The Barn

2) The Barn

In arty Mitte, one can find the cleanest and coolest ‘barn’ in the city, and sample some of the best coffee Berlin offers. The Barn say of themselves: ‘Our philosophy is to source and roast some of the best coffees available in the world. We work with sustainability and traceability in mind and try to deliver quality coffees that best represent their origin and natural flavours.’ There is no doubt when you enter that coffee brewing is serious business here. The actual café is small, so...

3) Vux

Hidden in the beautiful backstreets of Karl-Marx Allee, Vux offers a feast of good vegan food and hot drinks. Vux is very white inside, with faints photo-size painting jigsawing their way up the wall, so you feel like this place might disappear into the Berlin wind at the next great gush. This would be a tragedy. This café offers an assortment of homemade cakes, cookies, cupcakes and waffles, accompanied by hot fruit and soy cream. The coffee is fair-trade, as is the organic hot chocolate,...

4) Matilda

Matilda, in 70s style, sits in Kreuzberg, and has that ‘cool-because-I’m-not-cool-feel.’ Adorned with lampshades and big fans, blooming white flowers and an old stereo player, Matilda offers alcoholic drinks and substantial food as well as good coffee. Afternoon tea can be found on the menu, as can a variety of breakfasts, including the fabulous ‘Käse Frühstück’. This café offers sanctuary and nourishment to those who have woken at any time, or perhaps have not slept at all. With...
Impala Coffee

5) Impala Coffee

One of three in Berlin, at the busy crossroads of Ebenswalder Bahnhof, Impala Coffee has the feel of a bustling postal office, or shipping burro, receiving and sending dispatches amidst the crates and tables and sacks. There is great efficiently behind the bar from the pretty girls take your order of coffee from Ethiopa, or Columbia, or Brazil, and perhaps one of the great selections of pasties. Impala Coffee reminds me of a local New York coffee house, the type Starbucks now attempts to...
Concierge Coffee

6) Concierge Coffee

Here we have only the barebones of what a café is; coffee, bricks and a barrister. And it is all the better for is sparseness, tucked away in a beautiful part of Kreuzberg, next to the canal and branching trees and cobbled streets branching off Kottbusser Straße. Taking a turning into what appears to be a courtyard surrounded only by offices, you will spot the bright white sign ‘Concierge Coffee’ and following this down the passageway, you will see - if you are heading to the café in the...
Grreen Stuff

7) Grreen Stuff

Located in Neukölln on the edge of Richardplatz, Grreen Stuff - café and shop - can easily be missed, its entrance is so understated. Once located, in the café you can have you pick of some fantastic ‘Demeter’ organic ice cream and a wide selection of vegan cakes, pies and drinks. Don’t be fooled by the sparse showing of produce at the counter, there is often something cooling in the fridge or hiding in the cupboard, that can be brought out and eaten at a reasonable price. The service...
Il Milanese del Tacco

8) Il Milanese del Tacco

To be found unexpectedly around a corner in Wedding not far from Pankstraße, is Il Milonesese del Tacco, a café that doubles as a wine bistro, as well as supporting the proliferation of good art and photography. Small, like the corner of a cellar, and stacked to the ceiling with wine bottles, Il Milanese del Tacco has a refinery and elegance you would expect to find in Paris or London. There are only a couple of tables inside, a little space at the window, and some seating outside and so the...
Wahrhaft Nahrhaft

9) Wahrhaft Nahrhaft

One of the odder cafes on this guide, Wahrhaft Nahrhaft can be found on a windswept corner of Friedrichshain, offering an atmosphere of excess and revelry. Inside, it looks like a dressing-up box has been tipped over an elegant sitting room; Bacchus has taken over here, and presents the tumbled chaos of the inside of a jack-in-the-box. The food is all homemade, offering bagels, salads, soups, ‘sinful’ cakes and other baked goodies. They have freshly squeezed juices and speciality coffees for...
Sing Blackbird

10) Sing Blackbird

Inside this café, you feel like you are in a little clearing in an English country wood, with oaks and chestnuts crawling up the decorated walls. Or perhaps you are in the nest of a magpie, with glittering wonders dotted about the place. Sing Blackbird offers ‘Vintage Coffee and Clothes’ spanning from the 50s to the 90s, and in the summer they put on an outdoor flea market; they also hold movie nights and exhibitions. Doubling as a second hand shop, this place is like a little...
Cupcake Berlin

11) Cupcake Berlin

This café is small and the bright pink signature shop header may be missed due to the crowd bustling outside of it. Once you have squeezed and elbowed your way inside, you will find, what appeared to me, an old-fashioned sweet shop, in the vein of the type that Billy in Roald Dahl’s The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me dreams of; or perhaps the type that Willie Wonka may have interned at in his teenage years. The sweetness of this café is overpowering as you crane your neck to get a glance at the...
3 Schwestern

12) 3 Schwestern

This café-come-restaurant is to be found inside the great Bethanien in Mariannenplatz, Kreuzberg, which has had a variety of functions in the past, but now hosts music classes, and art exhibitions, as well as the twelfth best café in Berlin. The building should be approached from the Orianburger side, so you can walk through the trees, best on a mild summer evening. Inside, the place has the feel of an old WW1 hospital, and you half expect to see wounded soldiers and tender nurses chattering...

13) Lois

Small and classy, whereas Matilda might give you a bashful smile, Lois will raise only elegant eyebrow and smirk. Beautiful and deadly, the ivy that covers her walls outside is like the Circes’ den, and the smell of coffee and biscuits that comes from inside is enough to lure a lurking Hansel and Grettel, pressing their noses up against the glass before they are ushered inside. On the bar, Lois has placed a slender red flower, sleek and magnificent, like that of Sleeping Beauty. Everything is...
Café Aroma

14) Café Aroma

A little piece of Italy in Berlin. I would recommend, if the weather is fine, a walk to Café Aroma over the Monument Bridge with view of Potsdamer Platz, and then passing St Matthew’s cemetery where the Brothers Grimm lie. The café is also a restaurant, offering traditional Italian cuisine, in accordance with the rhythm of the season, and an extensive wine cellar. The suitably impressive proprietor is particularly pleasing, billowing up to you to take your order, proudly laying it out in...
Tiki Heart Café and Shop

15) Tiki Heart Café and Shop

Certainly this is one of the oddest cafes in Berlin. I am unsure where to begin. Situated on the busy Wiener Straße in Kreuzberg, Tiki Heart is a blinking bright light to backpackers and travellers, offering breakfast until 5 o’clock, alongside cocktails and an extensive selection of beefy burgers. Entering you have found yourself on a Hawaiian beach, one full with deckchairs and umbrellas, and yet at the same time in the heart of Native America, or perhaps somewhere along the Inca Trail? Who...
Crêpes Culture

16) Crêpes Culture

On a Sunday in Berlin there are few things that are more popular than going down to a good flee market and exploring the stock, some of the best of which are to be found in Warschauerstraße, Friedrichshain. When bargained-out, you can slink away from the noise and bustle to Crêpes Culture, on Simplonstraße just a couple of streets away. The staff here are particular friendly and chatter away as they make the crêpes in front of you, served square on plates with elegance and panache. Crêpes...

17) Bierhimmel

Twenty years ago, this café opened its doors for the first time, attracting odd and vibrant customers. It became a cult pub for those around Oranienstraße and greater Kreuzberg. After a sudden closure, Bierhimmel was reopened in 2010 and now welcomes all from morning to evening, with coffee and plenty of good cake, given pride of place next to the Fassbier, the graffiti outside and in the toilets giving the place an effortless smack of ‘cool. There are also quiche and wraps, as well as an...

18) Handbestand

Handbestand is both café and bookshop with gothic Teutonic lights above, hanging above stacks of great companions to the Brothers Grimm. Stone heads watch you as you find your way through the stacks of books, shuffling dust and tottering piles, around suitably gruff looking customers and staff. Offering film nights, and talks, exhibitions, round tables, viewings, and music …. What can’t be found in this little grotto? After your coffee and read, or perhaps with a takeaway and a purchase...
Café Kranzler

19) Café Kranzler

Any guide of cafes in Berlin must at least have a look at Kranzler. Today, unfortunately there is little left of the original Kranzler, opened in 1834 by the Austiran Johann Georg Kranzler on Unter den Linden. This original Kranzler offered a sun-terrace, ice-cream parlour and a smokers' room, therefore built up the reputation of being one of the finest cafes in Berlin. A second Café Kranzler was then opening in its present location, in the space of the old infamous Café des Westens,...

20) Vivo

An ersatz entry to this list, but a worthy one nonetheless. Vivo is a small little hut of a café in Wittenburgerplatz, sat right in front of the grand doorway to the great KaDeWe shopping centre, one of the most awe-inspiring and iconic buildings of Berlin. The ‘Kaufhaus des Westerns’ – the Department Store of the West – was originally founded in 1905 by Adolf Jandorf, opening two years later and today is the largest department store in Europe, save for Harrods in London, and attracts...


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