Neukölln bars you won't want to miss
Find a well-worn space, throw in a few thrift-store finds and plonk a candle on every table. Neukölln's standard recipe for hip drinking dens might seem routine, but still makes for some of the capital's cosiest, coolest bars.
And in recent years the upcycling has crept upscale, with a new wave of destination hotspots curating their drinks as carefully as their appearance. Raise a glass to Berlin's hippest 'hood.
Just as the name implies, this pocket-sized bar was once a ladies' hair salon. In a previous previous life it was also a butcher's shop, and has plenty of gorgeous antique tiling to prove it.
A perfect setting, then, for Neukölln's recycling vibe, there's also a cosier space at the back complete with battered sofas and table football. Damensalon's vintage walls aren't the only thing to love.
Damensalon: Reuterstraße 39, 12047 Berlin
Almost swanky compared to its wilfully bedraggled neighbours, TiER takes Neukölln's nightlife up a notch with plush seating, acclaimed cocktails and an interior that somehow fuses '70s design with hotel lobby chic.
Behind the bar, a small screen loops Bond villain Blofeld stroking his Persian cat, and if 007 had to hit Neukölln, this is the place he'd probably choose.
TiER: Weserstraße 42, 12045
More restaurant than dedicated drinking den, Beuster Bar rides an increasingly upscale Neukölln wave with its combo of gastro-goodies and carefully crafted cocktails.
Berliners rave about the steak tartare, but other superlative staples include schnitzel and French onion soup. Wash it all down with a Green Bloody Mary or post-prandial Espresso Martini.
Beuster Bar: Weserstraße 32, 12045 Berlin
Nathanja & Heinrich
An unusually spacious cafe by day and rammed bar by night, Nathanja & Heinrich's reputation as one of Neukölln's hottest hangouts is perhaps surprising given its adherence to a well-worn (in every way) vintage vibe.
But there's a real sense of style to the artfully arranged interiors, and the dual cafe/bar identity is handled with aplomb: great coffee during daylight hours, and for evenings, classic cocktails including an acclaimed Gin Basil Smash.
Nathanja & Heinrich: Weichselstraße 44, 12045 Berlin
Riffing on memories of famed nightclub Dschungel (Jungle) - a favourite hangout for Bowie in his Berlin years - this small, foliage-filled bar is one of Neukölln's quirkier nightspots.
Bag a table beneath the 'trees', or head to the back room where salamanders frolic in an aquarium.
Kitschy yet cool, this makeshift taste of the tropics brings a touch of adventure to Neukölln's nightlife: perfect for every Berlin explorer.
Dschungel: Friedelstraße 12, 12047 Berlin
Geist im Glas
Garlic chili vodka, Earl Grey gin. The array of house-made infusions at Geist im Glas add extra oomph to top-quality cocktails (and look particularly pretty in their apothecary-like bottles).
The cosy, candlelit bar is an established Neukölln favourite, and at weekends, doubles as a destination for American style brunch. Just the thing to raise your spirits.
Geist im Glas: Lenaustraße 27, 12047 Berlin
Slightly off the well-beaten bar track, Sameheads is nonetheless worth a visit for its distinctly oddball, lo-fi vibe - especially since it doubles as a retail outlet for some of Berlin's quirkier fashion and design.
The jumbled storefront looks like a sprawling installation (and basically is) while the tiny basement hosts a regular roster of arty events and parties.
Trash with panache, and, despite its name, a bar that's just a little bit different.
Sameheads: Richardstraße 10, 12043 Berlin
A second home for 'kings, queens and criminal queers,' Neukölln's funkiest gay bar beckons with twinkling party lights and a lively, mixed crowd.
Factor in an eclectic programme of live events and screenings, and the (silver)future's looking especially good.
Silverfuture: Weserstraße 206, 12047 Berlin
Step inside to find (yet) another of Neukölln's cosily kitsch drinking holes; no real surprises, then, until you pass through a doorway into a hidden hall that's certainly roomy enough to merit the name 'villa'.
Variously used as lounge, stage or dance floor, a regular roster of events adds to the laid-back appeal. Check out the weekly Swing sessions that help keep the hip crowd on their toes.
Villa Neukölln: Hermannstraße 233, 12049 Berlin
Even those with minimal German know that Vater means 'father', but this cosy drinking hole is more reminiscent of granny's living room - albeit with added tinsel and abundant flea market flotsam.
The Russian owner adds eastern European edge in the form of rare vodkas and killer cocktails such as 'Open Cosmos' - guaranteed to send anyone skyward. Daddy might not approve, but you will.
Vater bar: Reuterstraße 27, 12047Scroll