Kupfer Bar – A Hidden Gem in Kreuzberg
To make it clear from the beginning, I have found a new favourite spot at a bar counter in Berlin, that I shamefully missed for far too long. This little gem is located opposite Görlitzer Park in Kreuzberg hidden on the first floor of the restaurant Nest. It is a loving mix of a gallery and a tiny copper shining bar room united in a typical Berlin old school apartment.
As soon as you climb the winding staircase you are greeted by a huge crocodile. Not really my taste, but it gives the corridor a magical and promising spirit. The light is dimmed and the whole place is bathed in candlelight. An exciting welcome, and my heart started to beat a bit faster when I entered the heart of the Kupfer Bar. Kupfer means copper in English, and copper plates cover the tiny room from the floor to the ceiling giving a warm and pleasant glow.
Industrial charm paired with extraordinary decor bathed in candlelight. I already knew I was in for a remarkable night.
Robert Schröter, the bar manager and an experienced bartender, very charmingly and humbly guided me through the rooms. The venue combines a private bar, a cosy living room, a nice balcony, an exhibition area and an inhouse lab, the so called witches’ kitchen. If you come from abroad this is a good opportunity to get a feel for the apartments in one of Berlin’s old historical buildings. There’s real flair in the mix of vintage furniture with a lot of attention to detail and homage to modern architecture. When I entered the cosy living room I noticed the ceiling structure that reminded me immediately of the recently visited Loos Bar in Vienna. The architect René Krüger created the Kupfer Bar in 2014 paying homage to one of his favourite architects, Adolf Loos. The place also serves as working space for Kunst 100, a gallery which offers art of young artist with prices under 100 Euros.
I took my first drink on the balcony and chatted with Robert about his experiences in the bar world. I had no idea that we have so many experienced bartenders in town. At this point I would like to share these “barstalking” findings with you. Some may already know him because Robert has been working as a writer for Mixology Magazine since 2009. His professional stations are very impressive and multinational.
He worked in Japan, Vietnam, at 28 Hongkong Street in Singapore, in Australia, in the Ukraine and at the Broken Shaker in Miami. Some of the bars he has worked in are listed amongst the World’s 50 Best Bars. His stations in Japan were Trench (Tokyo), The Peninsula Hotel (Tokyo) and The Ritz Carlton (Okinawa). The inevitable consequence if you work in Japan is that you will meet Charles Schumann someday. So, Robert has also worked in Munich at Les Fleurs du Mal.
I took a closer look at this very pleasant and humble young man. He had to open his own bar at the age of 21 because he looked so much younger than he was which is not advantageous in Germany. The reason he came back to Germany was the romantic part of our conversation.
“Describe yourself as a cocktail?” I asked Robert. “Rusty nail or Wet Martini,” he replied,
“both are characterised by their simplicity and that they can actually be made by everyone. The drinks are simple but very diverse. You can create many twists and plays on them with scotch, gin, vermouth and honey liqueur.”
Let’s have a look at the list of drinks. The menu changes on a regular basis or as long as stock is available. The venue hosts an inhouse lab, the witches kitchen, where homemade infusions and syrups are made, fruits are pickled and fermentation takes place. Seasonal ingredients and sustainability are two of the principles of the bar.
The bar is stocked with out-of-the ordinary spirits. They keep an eye on spirits that are regionally distinctive and not commercial products. No wonder, Robert has worked together with the founders of the Craft Spirits Festival and he is the organiser of the Craft Cocktails Kreuzkölln. Craft Cocktails Kreuzkölln is a combination of the most ambitious and innovative bars of Berlin’s Kreuzberg & Neukölln neighbourhoods. For four days the focus is on handmade regional products in selected bars. Next date September 12-15th and more details.
Last weekend the ever-changing menu listed some cool and refreshing Highballs in accordance with the summer heat. They are lighter in alcohol but certainly not in taste. I opted for the earthy and savoury Aztec Collins. A combo of Mezcal, chocolate liqueur, Aztec bitters filled with Guinness. I dislike hot summer days but Highballs are a perfect serve.
The Ethos of this bar is brilliant. High quality drinking paired with a sustainable approach in a relaxed and hospitable manner.
While my ears were treated well by unobtrusive and well selected vibes, I moved from the balcony to the intimate warmly copper lit drinking den with just a handful of bar chairs and nearer to the bartender where the magic happens. The vintage glassware, the selection of flasks and bottles, and the candlesticks attracted me like a moth to a flame. The Brazilian take on a Negroni with organic cachaça and red vermouth from Madrid was a fruity floral yet dry delight.
This Negroni wasn’t the last drink for that night and surely not the last one for the future. I like it when you come to a bar with super friendly bartenders, an unpretentious relaxed atmosphere, an interesting and beautiful interior, amazing drinks and good music. The bar opens on Fridays and Saturdays. Cash only and don’t mix it up with the place called Kupfer bar at Oranienburgerstrasse.
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