New York has its bodegas, Paris has its cafés, Berlin has its spätis – and what would Berlin be without the humble späti?
There’s no better place for a long summer night than a bench in front of your favourite späti, engrossed in deep conversation and having “just one more” drink. As they city keeps changing, the späti is something you can count on: resiliently carrying on for the thirsty, the hungry, the lonely, the drunk.
Here are 12 of the best (and most unusual) spätis in Berlin.
While most spätis focus on the night time (hence the name) this one is there to make you feel better the next morning. Kanki Shop specialises in freshly-squeezed juices. Owner Erol Yilmaz offers ten different mixed juices in three sizes. There’s orange-carrot-ginger, banana-strawberry, pomegranate-melon. Buy one from the window or take a peek inside and grab something from this remarkably well stocked shop.
- Kanki Shop Erkstraße 16, Neukölln, Mon–Sat 8:00-2:00, Sun 13:00-18:00, @kankishop
The pandemic hit Berlin’s small shops particularly hard. Imad Ghazi’s kompaktkauf was on the verge of closing permanently due to the pandemic – but he made it through. Imad isn’t just a späti owner, he also supports the neighbourhood’s homeless population with free meals and drinks. Recently, his späti began to host cultural events like parties and readings. Could we see more cultural spätis in the future? We’re all for more small-scale neighbourhood events. Plus, of course, it will still sell drinks.
- Kuki’s Kompaktkauf Schönhauser Allee 123, @esistniezuspaeti
This späti isn’t just one of the best in the neighbourhood, it’s one of the best in town
When tourists and Berliners think of Kreuzberg, many probably think of romantic summer nights on the Admiralbrücke, enjoying the charming waterfront views. That said, the view wouldn’t be the same without drinks – and the best place to get those is Admirals Kiosk. This späti isn’t just one of the best in the neighbourhood, it’s one of the best in town. People have been getting drinks and sweets here for more than 20 years. The soda selection is excellent, as is the beer.
- Admirals Kiosk, Grimmstrasse 29, Kreuzberg
E4 on Eberswalder Straße
This one might be dangerous – all beers for one euro? It seems too good to be true. One euro (plus a deposit) for any beer: Rothaus one euro; Gösser one euro; Berliner Pilsener one euro; Beck’s one euro. And so on. In addition to beer, the späti offers all the classic fare: chocolate, lighters and tobacco, chewing gum and chips.
- E4 Spätkauf, Eberswalder Strasse 4, Prenzlauer Berg
Seestraße 102 is one of Wedding‘s best late-night establishments. If you’re a smoker, there’s an added bonus: tobacco and rolling paper or a pack of cigarettes always comes with a free lighter. Sunside offers a small selection of household essentials and groceries as well as a large selection of drinks. In summer, you can also enjoy a drink on the table outside.
- Sunside Spätkauf Seestraße 102, Wedding, Mon-Sat open 24 hours, Sun closed
This späti goes above and beyond. The Sterk-Späti on Mecklenburgische Straße in Wilmersdorf is one of those late-night shops where the atmosphere is so good you just feel like hanging out.
How do they do it? Well, the shop usually plays reggae or South American music. But Sterk also sells homemade cakes, makes excellent coffee and offeres all kinds of breakfast specialties, from hummus to delicious shakes.
- Sterk Shop Mecklenburgische Straße 24a, Wilmersdorf, further information here
Liquor Shop opposite KitKat
Surrounded by some of Berlin’s most notorious clubs, this late-night shop probably has some stories to tell. How many people have stumbled into his shop after a night of dancing, dreaming of a perfect push-on? True to its name, the liquor shop has a great selection of drinks. But an inside tip in the Japanese biscuits.
- Liquor Shop Brückenstrasse 15, Mitte, Mon – Sat open 24 hours
What makes a späti great? Drink selection? Location? Seating (either in the shop or nearby)? Der Laden in Friedrichshain has all three. We suggest taking your drinks to the green strip directly opposite, which is a pleasant place to have a drink on a summer evening. Speaking of summer – Der Laden also stocks some above-average ice creams.
- Der Laden, Bänschstraße 51, Friedrichshain, open Mon–Sat 24 hours a day, closed on Sun
Spätkauf 178 – Techno-Späti
A real celebrity among Berlin’s Spätis: this “techno-späti” is known for its pumping bass, which plays all night long. What better place to stock up before a night of partying?
what better place to stock up before a night of partying?
Cashing in on the shop’s fame, owner Güney Aksünger also sells DJ merch. Don’t let the music fool you, though. This place isn’t just a gimmick. They have a good selection of drinks, and they even do special orders. “If someone wants to drink a certain beer, we order it and two or three days later it’s there,” says Aksünger.
- Spätkauf 178, Hermannstraße 178, Neukölln, @spaeti178
“What do you drink when you’re not drinking?'” asks Isabella Steiner, co-founder of Germany’s first alcohol-free späti. “We want people to know their alternatives.” Together with her business partner Katja Kauf, Steiner runs the website nuechtern.berlin. The selection here goes way beyond your boring lemonade – there are plenty of fun, upscale options, all sold alcohol-free.
- Null Prozent, Goebenstraße 22, Schöneberg, more information here
Ertan Sönmez has been running Café Tinto on Mehringdamm since 2010. Strictly speaking, Café Tinto has no place on this list. It is a café with an excellent selection of cakes, delicious salads to go and excellent coffee. But they also sell beer, tobacco, sweets and everything else that you expect to find in a späti. Regardless of whether you decide on coffee and cake or beer, in the afternoon, when the weather is nice, you can sit down at a table in front of Café Tinto, enjoy the sun and people watch in Kreuzberg.
- Café Tinto Mehringdamm 39, Kreuzberg, open 24 hours a day
Remember the times when video stores seemed to be on every street in Berlin? Streaming has put an end to that – but a few old-timers are finding creative ways to stay open.
The video store on Kastanianallee has done just that. At this spot, you can rent DVDs alongside drinks, tobacco and sweets, so grab some drinks and rent a video. As a bonus, they’ve got an entire fridge stocked with Ben & Jerry’s.
- Videoservice Kastanienallee 67, Prenzlauer Berg