It's that time again. The heat is on and your constitution can handle more liquids than solids. And by liquids we mean beer. But that doesn't mean you'll starve either. Berlin's ubiquitous Biergarten have liquid and food on offer. Here's this summer's top five from the classics to a few switch-ups.
You like beer? You like Schnitzel and Flammkuchen? You like vintage 1950s mini-golf? Then welcome to your spiritual home. The "Marsh Bird" is stuck between the Landwehrkanal and some post-war West Berlin social housing projects in a slightly lost, untrendy bit of Kreuzberg, but that's its charm – you have to know it to find it. It's got plenty of space, lovely service, Schwarzbier on tap for €2.70/0.3L and excellent seasonal food – mostly German, but livened up with Turkish flavours. There's currently a Pffiferling menu; try the mushrooms in cream sauce with Schnitzel for €18.90. Add to that free no-bullshit wireless, and that cheap old-school concrete mini-golf, offering authentic state-owned recreation from the 1950s. Find out what it was like to be a German child in the olden days, when Europe was socialist. BK
Only slightly less jam-packed than that other Tiergarten-adjacent biergarten Café am Neuen See, Schleusenkrug nonetheless offers plentiful seating on dozens of outdoor picnic-style tables in a lovely pseudo-garden by the west end of the Landwehr Canal. The beer selection isn't stellar: just four options on tap, and that's including Alster. Nor is it cheap; your basic Kindl goes for €3/0.3L. But the food menu is just as varied as the groups of people dotted around the tables, including everything from gazpacho (€5) to couscous and merguez sausage (€8) to a pork chop roll (€5) to your more basic Flammkuchen (€9). There's even a full English breakfast on offer for €8.50, should you need some heavy artillery to soak up that alcohol. HS
3Berliner Straße 80-82, 13189 Berlin
It's just across the Ringbahn from Prenzlauer Berg, but this former Berliner Weiße brewery's Pankow address prevents it from becoming too much of a tourist trap. A relaxed crowd of twenty- and thirtysomethings, mostly from the surrounding neighbourhood, hang out at picnic tables or on beach chairs set up on a wide gravel pitch, watching football projected on two separate screens. The beer selection's just average – Berliner, Gambrinus and Büble for a reasonable €2.50/0.3L – but thanks to Italian-run pizzeria L'Antica Dogana, which operates a little counter next to the bar, the food's many notches above standard biergarten fare. A healthy-sized Margherita pizza will run you €5.50, but we'd recommend you spring for the garlicky Genovese (€7.50), topped with homemade pesto. JS
Right next to Viktoriapark, the sprawling Golgatha Gaststätten offers a snapshot of that other Kreuzberg – nothing punkish or overly hip here, just a mix of families and young locals hanging out in a friendly atmosphere. Five beers on tap include the house special Kreuzberger Klosterbier (€3/0.3L) – brewed in that other other Kreuzberg, near Frankfurt. There are plenty of places to watch the game – either in a sling-backed chair in front of the TV or on a wooden bench up on the roof. It's a friendly atmosphere where you'll be joined by families and young locals alike. Bar snacks include plenty of grilled meat, though the bratwurst (€3) is also available in a vegetarian varation. Try it with a tasty pasta salad (€3.50) and a Löwenbräu (0.5l for €2.90) and relax on the rooftop seating. It is known to get packed on nice days around 6pm – so be aware. JK
Tourists, hipsters, local families and old-school Ossis rub elbows at Berlin’s oldest biergarten. In a leafy Kastanienallee courtyard, Prater is maximized for outdoor drinking comfort: lots of shade, plentiful seating and no bathroom lines. Have a bratwurst (€3) while you sip a Prater Pils (€3.50/0.4L) or a colourful Berliner Weiße with a shot of syrup (€4/0.33L). or move to the restaurant for more copious traditional German grub. Dinner offerings are better-executed than you'd expect, if a little pricey. Alongside classic Berlin dishes like Königsberger Klopse (veal meatballs in cream sauce with capers, €13.90) and Senfeier (hard-cooked eggs in mustard sauce, €9.50) there's currently a seasonal Pfifferling mushroom menu (get them with Knödeln for €15.50).