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Photo by Astrid Warberg
An oasis of Gemütlichkeit on a side street off bustling Leopoldplatz, the Eschenbräu brewery has provided northern Berlin with quality microbrews for nearly 11 years. The no-nonsense beer selection consists of three basic, unpasteurised brews: a pilsner, a dark lager and a Hefeweizen, as well as a different seasonal beer every month.
Prices are more than reasonable: a standard half-litre of any beer runs for €2.80. Those who wish to partake in something a little stronger can enjoy a range of house-distilled fruit schnapps (€2.60-3.20 a shot), while the non- drinkers can savour several varieties of hand-pressed apple juice (€2.30 for a 40cl glass). Though there are some bar snacks on offer, including a tasty Flammkuchen (€4.80), guests are allowed to bring along their own food if they wish.
During the summer months, the small bier- garten set up under a majestic oak tree makes for a pleasant early-evening affair, while those wishing for cosier surroundings can head downstairs to the Braukeller, where more (non-smoking) tables are scattered among copper pipes, tanks and various other brewing contraptions.
Beware that the place can get quite crowded (with service often slowing to a crawl) as the evening progresses, so be prepared to ‘prost’ with your table mates, likely to be anyone from rowdy Bavarians, to party-ready Korean exchange students, to grizzled long-time locals. With such a diverse crowd, Eschenbräu manages to feel neither pretentious nor sleazy, and is clearly focused only on providing two things: good beer and good times.