Beer Blog

Bierbar Alkopole, Alexanderplatz Bahnhof, Berlin

Bierbar Alkopole ran out and out as my favourite bar in Berlin. The nearest thing I found to an English pub. Was it real Berlin? Or was it a gimmicky tourist trap underneath the Alexandeplatz Bahnhof? It’s hard to tell in a city which over the last hundred years has been devastated from within and without, and had more faces than Europe’s biggest Town hall clock

Looking at the same, changing, faces who were in there day in day out, speaking Berlin and drinking the local tipple, I reckon this was a little part of real Berlin. In case you’re wondering, roughly half (0.3L) of beer and a near double (40ml) Nordhäuser Doppelkorn, a traditional distilled German grain spirit, that isn’t Vodka, €5.50. The Doppelkorn is 38% ABV.

I think you could choose which beer you wanted on the pint and chaser deal, they had six on draught; Radeberger Pilsener, Märkischer Landmann, Gessner Dunkles Bock, Allgäuer Büble Edelweißbier, Berliner Kindl Jubiläums Pilsner and Duckstein. Prices were either €4.5 50 or €5 per 0.5L. For those still buying petrol in gallons that’s a little bit more than a pint. Everything came in brand appropriate glassware too.

I could have drank the Radeberger Pislner all day and for ever. The crisp taste, balanced malt and subtle dry bitterness did it for me. Almost addictive. And yes! You can drink all day, opening hours, dependant on day of the week from 1000 till 0100hrs.

Par for the Berlin course, standing up to drink was not an option, you sat at the bar or you sat at a table and they served you. The lovely staff wouldn’t even pass a drink over the heads of those at the bar and professionally delivered it to your table. Not that there were many tables, like half a dozen at most. Not that you could have stood up without obstructing everyone else neither. I reckon they could only seat 30 inside, at best, and every inch of the bar counter had been engineered to maximise the number of people seated around it, even down to seats in the corner where someone had to get up to let you out.

Beyond the smart embroidered shirts formally proclaiming you were being served by Mrs ‘So and so’, I’ve no idea what the servers were called and they hadn’t a clue what my name was. Thing was, every time you popped in they knew instantly who you were and you knew them. They knew everyone else too, especially their regulars who never even asked, their drink just got placed in front of them.

I’d been dying to try a Berlinner Weise in Berlin. The esteemed Michael Jackson reckoned it was the eponymous dogs’, stating Woodruff (sweet scented bedstraw) was the syrup of choice to mix with this low ABV, sourish Wheatbeer. Although the staff, being more mature, were not as fluent in English as in the trendier places, we were strictly warned off the Waldmeister with a grimace and shake of the head. Black Currant is the preferred option these days it seems, closely followed by Elderflower. The Berliner Kindl bottled beer comes in it’s own chalice with a glass stirrer cum drinking straw.

You knew you were in a local place for local people with all the ‘quirky’ bits, hackneyed comments on the beer menu and the images on the bog doors, and above the urinals. Which door would you go through, Ladies and Gents?

The spotless toilets had a twist before you even got there. You could enter the bar, which is essentially in a German railway arch (actually a useful cuboid space), from the very busy Alexanderplatz Bahnhof (Regional & local trains, U & S-Bahn) side or from the street outside (tram interchange) so to prevent casual use there was a fancy locked wrought iron gate leading downstairs to the toilets.

At first it seems locked and then it opens by magic. Three Radebergers in, you don’t realise someone’s pressing a button behind the bar. After a while one of the locals, recognising a fellow drinker, points to the lowly positioned latch and nods. Hey Presto! Privileged access. Only non-drinker I saw let through was a lady with a little kiddie, who politely asked first.

I’ve no idea what Alkopole means, but there’s lots of words that sum this place up; warm, welcoming, cosy, intimate, friendly, characterful, unpretentious, decent German beer. I liked it, I liked it a lot. Radeberger bitte, nicely bitter. Sie finden uns direkt im Bahnhof Alexanderplatz.

14 replies »

  1. Richard,
    You tend to seek out an interesting beer range in large bars on main streets.
    Did you find any dodgy alleyway bars that might be more the “real Berlin”?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I focussed on the more interesting places and there are loads more to come, and yes, we did go to some dodgy backstreets, although I never felt threatened anywhere I went in Berlin. What I didn’t find was anywhere more ‘pubby’ or more ‘real’ than this place, in so far as there were genuine Berlinners enjoying a drink, often after work . The backstreet residential Berlin drinking experience is the Getrancke, off licence where people grab a can or bottle out of the fridge and drink it stood or sat at bench style tables outside. There was an odd one with a bench and a table inside, but I drew the line at drinking outside, it wasn’t it was much colder than the UK, it was just a very dry penetrating cold. You certainly didn’t want to be stood outside. Just for reference Alexanderplatz, although busy, is the old East German city centre and not the more commercial West German centre that is the equivalent of the West End around Ku’ Damm (think I spelled it right) about 2 – 3km away.

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      • Richard,
        Thanks. That’s interesting.
        My wife and daughter have spent quite a while in Berlin and liked it – but I stayed at home looking after our pets.

        Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a post to come about a really good Brewpub where people were openly smoking in the back room. I tweeted about it, saying it was disgusting. I was shot down in flames by the Twitter followers of the ‘pub smokers disciple’ that is Pubcurmudgeon 😜. Genuinely, the room stank and was horrible. I can’t ever envisage going back to that in any public space. Strangely, smoking seems to be de riguer, especially amongst the younger cohorts of the population in Germany (Italy, Spain, Malta, anywhere in Europe really). Although in Berlin there seemed to be a wide group of younger multi nationals who would smear dog mess on their faces if someone said it was the latest grungy thing to do.

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    • No standing at the bar! It’s a bit like crossing the road at a place other than a designated pedestrian crossing and not when the green man is flashing – seriously you’d think you’d committed murder. God knows what Berlin would think of Mr Paul Mudge esq. and his ‘go for it’ anywhere anytime without actually looking method of crossing the road.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was just thinking that the “eight lanes of traffic, separated by a wide central reservation and two tram tracks count[ing] as a simple road” could be a bit of a challenge !

        Liked by 1 person

      • Soon as I saw it – there’s a five lane ends four tramway junction about 100yds away. I said to Cheryl, not even Paul is brave enough to do that one without waiting for the green man – they have their own distinctive green man in Berlin, quite natty actually.

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