Bar hopping in Berlin
The Rum Trader - for ardent cocktail lovers
This is a hidden gem for rum lovers. Cosy and comfortable for 15 to 20 people, the impeccably-dressed staff are cautious about who they let in. Get the bartender to whip you a nice rum cocktail (a Mai Tai), and all you have to do is choose the level at which you want to set the buzz. Level one is like drinking a mixer, and level four is time to cut loose. While you can mix your own drink, it's best to get the experts to do it for you. It is like German engineering, precise and to the point. If there's a green flag on the door, then you know the bar is open, else keep walking!
CNT Tip: Suit up to get in here.
Rum Trader, Fasanenstraße 40 (+49 30 881 1428) Open 8 PM onwards. Rs 655 upwards for a drink.
Green Door - for a lovely cocktail
The Green Door is one of the best cocktail bars in town, and the ideal go-to place for a few hours of casual tipple. The cocktail list is sorted by alcohol varieties, so the only time you need to be methodical is when you are choosing your first drink. Named after a 1950s Jim Lowe song, Green Door has an interesting decor of bookshelves, high bar stools and multicoloured chequered wallpaper, and a dog mascot that sits by the bar. The owner set it up to promote the power of positive drinking, and the conversations do tend to stir up after one of these heady mixes. The bar's signature drink is called Green Door, a mix of champagne, lemon, sugar, and mint.
CNT Tip: Dress like you read a lot, and binge on their Mai Tai.
Green Door, Winterfeldtstraße 50, Schöneberg, (+49 30 215 2515, greendoor.de). Open Sun-Thurs 6pm-3am, Fri-Sat 6pm-4am. They have a happy hour from 6pm-9pm, else drinks start at Rs 851.
Bar Tausend - a well-known secret
With nothing but an iron door beneath the Paris-Moskau railway, Bar Tausend would be easy to miss were it not for its reputation as one of the city's best high-end nightspots. Located beneath the railway tracks at Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse, the iron door safely conceals any signs of the opulence you're about to enter. Apart from wealthy company, don't be surprised if you bump into a movie star at the table next door. While the DJs are the best in business, the live acts are what you should walk up for.
CNT Tip: Dress your best! The bouncers are picky.
Bar Tausend, Schiffbauerdamm 11, Mitte (+49 30 275 82 070, tausendberlin.com)Open Tuesday - Saturday 7.30pm onwards. Rs 655 admission charges over the weekend
Doors - where the locals rock
Fancy an old jukebox and a dose of local Berlin? This is your place to be, besides all the cocktail bars and trendy lounges in Prenzlauer Berg. The Doors is a real rock pub. The beer is good and not too expensive; the music ranges from Hendrix to AC/DC and the walls are full of music posters of that era.
CNT Tip: Not recommended for the non-smoker.
Doors, Knaackstraße 94, Prenzlauer Berg (+49 30 442 7847, www.doors-berlin.de) Open 8pm onwards
CSA Bar - more than the relic of an airline headquarters
CSA sits where the former Berlin headquarters of the Czech national airline once was. The name comes from the earlier inhabitant CSA, and the minimalistic style from the Soviet era. The broad windows look over onto East Germany's historical avenues. A tad pricey, this is the place to go if you want to hang out with the swish set of Berlin.
CNT Tip: Smart casuals for you. It's a little out of the way, so take a cab.
CSA Bar, Karl-Marx-Allee 96 (+49 30 290 44 471, www.csa-bar.de) Open 7 PM onwards. Starts from Rs 786 for a drink.
For more on Berlin, pick up the February 2012 - March 2012 issue of Condé Nast Traveller.