Sometimes you may not want to eat, but just sit down in a nice, warm place and have a cosy cup of coffee or another warm and comforting drink. Autumn is definitely one of the most breathtaking, pretty and cosy times in a city like Berlin. What better way to spend an afternoon break in the warm arms of a bowl of broth? So, Good Food in Berlin goes caffeine: read our top 10 on the best coffee joints and day bars in town!
1. Balzac (Prenzlauer Berg a.o.) Schönhauser Allee 116, 10439 Berlin Prenzlauer-Berg
Right opposite of the Schönhauser Allee S- and U-Bahn stop and therefore always nice and lively filled up with coffee drinkers, paper readers and studiously surfing people. Perfect for a brief stop while browsing through the city or very appropriate for a much needed reading-that-book moment – and also very suitable for academics doing some necessary out-of-the-house reading and writing. With a nice view of the Schönhauser Allee and many people continuously coming in and out of the station, you will feel like you are in the middle of Berlin’s real busy city life.
- Coffee: anything from a simply filter coffee to ice-d caramel macchiattos.
- Prices: take at least 3 euros for a coffee.
- Food: yummy bananabread and hearty lunch bread products.
- Working: yes. W-lan present.
- Atmosphere: think Starbucks, only different.
2. Manolo (Prenzlauer Berg) Schönhauser Allee 45, 10437 Berlin Prenzlauer-Berg
This is one of my personal favourite coffee places. One day last winter, when all the roads were filled with icy snow that made it almost impossible to get around, I slowly walked from my house to this coffee joint, to sit down with a book and drink hot chocolate with rum. It is a mixture of a coffee place à la Starbucks combined with a diner-meets-restaurant feel. Manolo is directly opposite of the U-Bahn Station Eberswalder Straße and right on the Schönhauser Allee. And I think this is a place that does the absolute best hot chocolate with rum that I have ever had (only excluding my own home-made version with extra rum). It is a great place to meet up with friends or to bring your laptop with for some work that needs doing.
- Coffee: elaborate, varied offer with coffees, teas, chocolates and other creations.
- Price: you will need at least 3 euros for your coffee here.
- Food: salads, breads and sweet pieces of pie.
- Working: yes. W-lan available, 30 minutes per purchased drink.
- Atmosphere: cosy. Many couples/ friends chatting as well as people reading a paper.
3. Starbucks (Mitte a.o.) Rosenthaler Strasse 40/41, 10178 Berlin-Mitte
I won’t say I love Starbucks because I don’t. I hate big, American chains and I would always try to steer away from them. Why would anyone go to a Starbucks when you can go to a real, cute and fab coffeeplace in a city like Berlin? Well, yes. Why? Because, even I have to admit, sometimes I do not want to think, contemplate or be difficult about a sit down and a cup of coffee. Sometimes, a Starbucks is all that you want and need. They do have the most comfortable chairs for snuggling up in and it is regarded as plain normal to be working or reading on your own in a Starbucks. Sometimes I go here for lunch and I just sit down for an hour, writing or reading a book while drinking some caramelised hot chocolate or a cup of coffee with caramel. It is a very soothing place, even for a location in the middle of Mitte, right on the Hackescher Markt. Always filled with tourists or working people (as Mitte is the brimming business center of Berlin).
- Coffee: Starbucks-style, all possible combinations of coffee, hot chocolates and stuff to put in and on top of them.
- Prices: 3 to 4 euros for the hot drink of your desire.
- Food: a couple of sweet muffins, nibbles and lunch bagels. Nothing too fab.
- Working: yes. W-lan present.
- Atmosphere: cosy, relaxed and with 2 floors more than enough space for a sit down.
4. Dachkammer (Friedrichshain) Simon-Dach-Straße 39, 10245 Berlin-Friedrichshain
Your typical Friedrichshain alternative yet fabulous atmosphere in the Dachkammer (Attic room) on the popular Simon Dach Straße. In winter you can snuggle up in the smoker’s room and drink yummy Glühwein, or go for warm cups of coffee. The Dachkammer is also perfect for alcoholic drinks and lounging with friends. Upstairs – which opens on the more busy nights – you can browse through different rooms that kind of make you feel like you are actually in a secretive old-fashioned boudoir. If you drink wine here, though, do not expect the good stuff. A budget place with budget alcoholic drinks. Cosy enough though and perfect for a read or a casual chat. Your typical young-people kind of Friedrichshain place.
- Coffee: nothing amazingly special, but they cover all basics.
- Prices: budget proof.
- Food: your average nibbly units.
- Working: yes, but no internet.
- Atmosphere: bar/lounge atmosphere.
5. Pony Bar (Mitte) Alte Schönhauser Strasse 44, 10119 Berlin-Mitte
The Pony bar is a very popular, young and trendy bar in the middle of Berlin Mitte on the Alte Schönhauser Allee (next to Monsieur Vuong). It is always filled up, cosy, lively and warm. The déco is casual, but the atmosphere is always comfortable. Especially for a chilly day or a wintery evening, this is the perfect place for a low-key drink. When you step into the Pony Bar, you may feel like you have stepped into someone’s house. A big, relaxed space awaits you, in which different seating arrangements and comfortable couches lure you from the one corner to the other. Pony Bar is perfect for a shopping spree break or an after work meeting.
- Coffee: yes, and hot chocolate and with possible shots.
- Price: nice and budget.
- Food: nibbles, bread products.
- Working: during the day, yes. In the evening, more of a drink and meet friends place. No w-lan.
- Atmosphere: cosy living room meets bar.
6. Café Cinema (Mitte) Rosenthaler Straße 39, 10178 Berlin-Mitte
Supposedly the oldest café on the Hackescher Markt and a typical ‚brown‘ café for a very casual and low-key drink, break or coffee. I tend to meet here quite a lot, since it is practically located on the Hackescher Markt, but without the dominant tourist vibe to it. The perfect place for a short meeting, starting off an evening or doing a pre-dinner drink. It is perfectly suited for autumn-y days or evenings, as it has a very warm and snuggly feel to it. They have a larger smoker’s room, decorated with old cinema pics. It is also actually located next to an actual cinema in the Hackescher Höfe, so be sure to pop in after a romantic or exciting flick.
- Coffee: yes.
- Price: budget proof. (Great, considering it’s Mitte.)
- Food: no.
- Working: not really. Bring a paper: sure, but no laptop atmosphere.
- Atmosphere: old-fashioned bar.
7. Bar 103 (Prenzlauer Berg) Kastanienallee 49, 10119 Berlin Prenzlauer-Berg
On the corner of the Kastanienallee, just before you are inclined to go right and walk into the Zionskirchplatz, you find 103. In the spring and summer, this is the place for catching promising rays of sun and chilling outside on the terrace with a much-needed cup of caffeine. Bar 103 is a great breakfast, coffee and lunch location in the middle of the Kastanienallee, on a walking distance from the Rosenthaler Platz and Berlin Mitte. You can curl up inside on a comfortable couch on the less sunny days. It is a great place for some alone time, or a relaxed lunch with a friend. Next door you can nibble on some naan at the W-Imbiss.
- Coffee: yes, great espresso.
- Price: decent prices, 2 to 3 euros for coffee variaties.
- Food: yes, great breakfast/ brunch and lunch food.
- Working: yes.
- Atmosphere: casual, pretty, sleek bar/ restaurant.
8. Dante (Mitte) Am Zwirngraben 8-10, 10178 Berlin-Mitte
This is one of the most touristy places in town: in the middle of Hackescher Markt and right on the big square next to the S-Bahn station where hundreds of tourists spend their sunny afternoon. Actually, not without reason, as Hackescher Markt is one of the most classy and pretty areas in the middle of Berlin’s brimming city center. So, if you are looking for a bit of liveliness, suck it up and hit the Hackescher Markt. And then go and sit on the terrace (or inside) at the restaurant-cum-club Dante. At night this place is changed into a hip club, but during the day you can drink one of the best cups of hot chocolate with rum here. You will actually get cream covered in caramel covering your rum chocolate! If you have a sweet tooth, this is the place for you. They also offer some great day fresh pieces of pie.
- Coffee: good coffee, great hot chocolate.
- Price: quite pricey, tourist area.
- Food: yes, great pies and all other kinds of dishes.
- Working: not really.
- Atmosphere: posh, pricey but worth it.
9. Café Bilderbuch (Schöneberg) Akazienstraße 28, 10823 Berlin-Schöneberg
One of the most memorable cafés in Berlin: the ‚picture book‘ café is decorated in a beautiful, comfortable and homey style. You can cuddle up on a soft, velvety couch, trace the covers of the many books lining the walls and sip from your coffee cup while browsing through a book. They have great coffee, friendly staff and offer you a home-away-from-home. Perfect for writing, reading or doing any other type of work. This is really the kind of café that I like for spending my lazy (yet productive) Sunday afternoon.
- Coffee: good coffee.
- Price: decent prices for good food.
- Food: yes, great breakfasts/ brunches/ meals.
- Working: yes, W-Lan present.
- Atmosphere: academic, comfortable and homey.
I had to include this place. Many first time Berliners may have heard of it. I actually ended up in here on one of my first nights in town. It is called Wohnzimmer (living room) for a reason: the entire place is filled with living room furniture from the ol’fashioned DDR era. Berlin has a lot of these extra-casual bar places, where the déco has been forgotten and where most of the furniture seems to have been stolen from grandma’s house. People like this kind of extremely homey and super casual atmosphere, it is one of those very Berlin-ish things. But the mother of all those bars and restaurants must be Wohnzimmer on the often written about Helmholtzplatz, right across from Vis-a-Vis and Tres Tapas. A great place for a casual and budget get-together with friends. For drinking a cup of coffee, or starting it off with a beer. You are allowed to behave as you like in your own living room…
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