Hilda Hoy likes a glass or two with dinner. If that’s you too, check out her favorite bars that also double as dining spots.
Good food and good drinks continue to go hand in hand.
Good food and good drink have always gone hand in hand. Still, the divide between bar and restaurant has long been a pretty distinct one and, until recently, bars seldom strayed beyond standard fingerfood snacks on their menus. These days, however, bars that venture into restaurant territory are a place where innovative restaurateurs and gastronomes are pushing the boundaries, capturing a demographic of dedicated foodies as a result.
Jaja wine bar ( Weichselstr. 7, www. jajaberlin.com) is focused purely on one of the coolest booze trends du jour: natural wines, which are produced with zero additives to allow the complex flavors of the grapes and the terroir they grew in speak for themselves. In addition to its laudable French wine selection, this cozy establishment in the heart of Neukölln’s bar district also features a changing menu of seasonal, experimental, and above all tasty dishes. From small bites to filling mains, the chef’s creations are representative of modern European cuisine, like octopus with cured Spanish sausage and pleasantly bitter fried radicchio leaves, or homemade ravioli filled with seasonal produce like butternut squash, kale, or wild mushrooms. Try it with a glass of unique orange wine, produced by handling white wine grapes using red-wine methods.
A predecessor to one-yearold Jaja was Cordobar (Große Hamburger Str. 32, www.cordobar.net), which shines the spotlight on German and Austrian wines. Though the wine collection at this Mitte hotspot is indeed impressive, equal attention is paid to the tantalizing menu of gourmet “bites” that can be combined to make a satisfying meal. The menu changes every month to reflect the flavors and ingredients of the season, like braised sweetbreads with red cabbage in the winter, and salmon carpaccio with peach in summer. A more traditional but equally tasty gastronomic approach is taken at Briefmarken Weine (Karl-Marx-Allee 99, www. briefmarkenweine.de). Housed in a former stamp collectors’ shop on East Berlin’s most architecturally striking boulevard, this Italian wine bar has charm to spare. Leaving the shop’s lustrous wooden cabinets and retro neon sign out front in place, the space was transformed into an inviting local wine bar, whose Italian owners highlight both the wines and food of their native country. The menu categorizes the wines by the four elements of fire, air, water, and earth, though the staff are also happy to advise. Whatever you try, it’s sure to go well with the bountiful platter of mixed antipasti or the daily pasta special.
Left: Jaja wine bar. Above, and inset, below: Cordobar. This photo: Briefmarken Weine.