On hot and sticky Berlin summer days and nights I have three top tips for cooling down – eat ice cream, jump in a lake or head to a beer garden – and if you go for option three, I recommend Birgit & Bier.
If someone says Biergarten to you, I’m guessing you conjure up an image that looks a lot like PraterGarten, a traditional German beer garden with row after row of trestle tables under shady chestnut trees. Birgit & Bier though, has done things a little bit differently.
There are a few trestle tables but there are far more mis-matched armchairs and sofas. There’s also a merry-go-round, dodgems, a table tennis table and a Photoautomat (an old-school black and white photo booth).
When the sun goes down, rows of multi-coloured bulbs strung from the buildings and trees cast faces in greens, blues and reds.
The atmosphere is buzzy but at the same time very laid back.
You can’t have a beer garden without beer and Birgit & Bier serves a lovely drop – Pilsner Urquell tank beer, delivered direct from Plzen, unpasteurised and unfiltered, which means a fuller flavour and deeper taste. This is the original Pilsner and the recipe hasn’t changed since the first beer was brewed in 1842. A helpful sign even tells you how many days since the barrel was tapped so you know just how fresh it is.
That’s not all, there’s also a selection of bottled craft beers, wine and spirits. And if the booze gives you the munchies they serve the holy triumvirate of Bratwurst, burgers and pizza.
There’s more to Birgit & Bier than sitting in the beer garden drinking and eating. There are regular events, including club nights, film screenings and markets. They even put on a Christmas Market last year, though again it was far from traditional. Keep up to date with what’s coming up on the Events section of their Facebook page.
Birgit & Bier is down by the canal on the border of Kreuzberg and Treptow at Schleusenufer 3 and is open from 14:00 daily – take note: on the weekend it’s over 21s only and entry costs 5€ after 22:00 and 10€ after 23:00.