Bartenders, Dancehalls & Cocktails. This is Berlin.

Bartenders, Dancehalls & Cocktails. This is Berlin.

OUR JOB IS TO EXPERIENCE THE BEST THE WORLD HAS TO OFFER AND BRING IT HOME. THIS IS WHAT WE FOUND IN BERLIN.

Jesse Sahlin, Director of Bar at JOEY Restaurant Group, joined the Diageo Reserve World Class Bar Competition in Berlin this year to celebrate bartending talent, innovation and education from around the globe and ultimately, to crown the world’s best bartender. Berlin is austere and hip, nostalgic yet modern. With both the past and present worlds blending into each other and a strong creative class energy, it was the perfect backdrop for this event.

Berlin has an infamous cocktail scene that rivals all other European cities. Well known for “living room” bars, many of the most exclusive spots in the city are places you wouldn’t look twice at during the day but come alive at night and stay open until the sun rises.

JESSE'S TOP PICKS

Buck and Breck

This recently made the list of Top 50 Bars in the World, and like a true speakeasy—the entry is somewhat hidden next to a police station. The space is refined, artistic, and intimate with a communal setting (but no phones or cameras allowed). With a small cocktail list and only 2 or 3 staff, they operate with precision and efficiency— delivering cocktails inspired by the past, that are potent yet delicious. If you go, you have to try their signature cocktail—The Buck & Breck.

Cärchens Ballhaus

Everything Jesse was hoping for in a German disco and more. This historic nightlife landmark dates back to 1913—surviving both world wars, and several regime changes. The history and electric energy of this institution is a truly unique experience. Jesse even met one of the oldest regulars (who is well over 80-years old). The crowd is diverse and the room is packed—so expect to dance.

The Curtain Club

Located in the Ritz Carlton, the space represents refined luxury with elements of an old gentleman’s club. Low lighting and modern music creates the quintessential ambiance to imbibe. Each cocktail is uniquely presented with its own story and personality. Every detail of your experience is carefully considered leaving each patron impressed and wanting more.

"WHAT BERLIN DID BEST IS MAKE OLD COCKTAILS IN IMPRESSIVE NEW WAYS."

JESSE SAHLIN

Sitting with other bartenders, we agreed, the Berlin scene is a stoic mix of creative design and iron-clad tradition. There’s nowhere like it, and we each had surprising ideas about how it all translates into a drink. This inspiration is what makes up our globally-inspired bar program.

THE BERLIN SCENE REPRESENTS REACHING FOR THE FUTURE WHILE PRESERVING THE TRADITIONS OF THE PAST. IT’S A CEMENT WALL OF HISTORY, SPRAY PAINTED WITH REINVENTION. THEIR COCKTAIL SCENE REFLECTS THEIR SIGNATURE STYLE OF UNDERSTATED, BUT UNDENIABLE CREATIVITY.