The best of Berlin’s 24-hour bars

Despite Berlin’s reputed round-the-clock nightlife, all of the capital’s bars close at some point, right? Well, not quite. Exberliner magazine’s Jacob Heinze discovered four real 24-hour drinking joints.

The best of Berlin's 24-hour bars
Photo: Exberliner

Bei Schlawinchen

Schönleinstr. 34, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Schönleinstr.

Hidden away in the rapidly gentrifying Graefekiez, the iconic 24-hour dive bar Bei Schlawinchen is a place where tweaked out Asoziale and hardened day-drinkers rub shoulders with post-party ravers, lapsed anarchists, football fanatics and would-be artists. Looming above the bar is a veritable freak show of antiquarian kitsch – shop window mannequins, a rocking horse, a gramophone, model ships, a creepy painting of two babies drinking pints of beer and even a motorcycle. Schlawinchen opened on July 7 1979, meaning it’s been serving up glass mugs of cheap Kindl continuously for about 365 months, almost without rest (it closed once for three months). But if you want to catch some of the all-hours madness, hurry: the 24/7 concept may well be in its dying moments, as the Ordnungsamt is determined to once again combat noise in the area.

Rote Rose

Adalbertstr. 90, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Kottbusser Tor

Just off Kotti on Adalbertstraße, Rote Rose might be Schlawinchen’s even trashier little sister. The pub is housed in a former brothel, a past that informs the name and decor. The only items on the menu are Kindl (€2.20 for a 33cl, €2.70 for a 50cl), wheat beer, schnapps, wine, a few long drinks and coffee. The smoke-filled Raucherkneipe is inhabited by slot-machine-playing regulars, who make up an extremely diverse group, from professors to Pfandpiraten, but largely seem to have one thing in common: advanced-stage alcoholism. At night, the bar is also popular with hip tourists looking for the essence of Alt-Berlin, leading to varying degrees of confrontation. The current owners say Rote Rose has been open “since the fall of the Wall, maybe a little earlier”, but during the reign of former owner Ali, it was frequently shut down by the tax office, making any calculation of days difficult.

Ohne Ende

Dieffenbachstr. 36, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Schönleinstr.

Only a couple blocks from Schlawinchen, Ohne Ende has actually only been open continuously since the last change of management in December 2009. The dark bodega-style interior is adorned with classic film posters and oddities like a large doll motorcycle. Make sure to try a Czech Bruno beer, a rarity in Berlin, or one of Ohne Ende’s strong original cocktails like the Superman (a vodka-juice mix). Darts, billiards and foosball are popular with the crowd, which runs the gamut age-wise and consists of the prerequisite drunkards, as well as assorted locals and students from several nearby language schools. Ohne Ende’s biggest selling point? Tuesday happy hour: between 4 and 10pm, all beers are only €1.

Musikcafe Beauty

Hohenstaufenstr. 33, Schöneberg, U-Bhf Viktoria-Luise-Platz

Musikcafé Beauty, the one and lonely Kneipe in this quiet corner of Schöneberg, is on the tamer end of the 24-hour bar spectrum. It’s a tranquil little world that expats hardly ever see, where middle-aged German regulars – from lawyers to Hartzers – grab an after-work beer and an evening game of darts. Operational since January 1978, it has only closed once a year at most, meaning it’s near-constantly been open for some 396 months. An official “Hertha BSC Fantreff” – replete with a framed Marko Pantelic jersey on the wall – the Beauty is big on football culture. The drink of choice is a big 40cl Kindl, only €2.20. Also pleasantly affordable: a 50cl Paulaner wheat beer for €2.80 or a Sex on the Beach for €3.90. Beauty also has its very own Frauenquote: On Saturday, there’s unlimited free sekt all night for the ladies! Just don’t be stupid and try to order food: Das hier is’ ‘ne Raucherkneipe, Schätzchen!

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EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.