On June 6, the European Cup final will kick off in the German Capital for the first time ever, and for those who were not lucky enough to get tickets in the ballot, we’ve scoured our city to find the best alternative places to watch the Champions League Final in Berlin.
It is fitting that the occasion is marked by the meeting of two of European football’s great sides as Juventus take on FC Barcelona. The German capital will welcome an influx of football fans to the city and for those visiting the city without tickets, finding the best bar in Berlin to watch the game will be essential. Although the official UEFA Champions Festival will take place at the Brandenburg Gate in the week leading up to the game – where photographs can be taken with the trophy and fans can mingle – the game itself will not be broadcast there. This poses ticketless supporters a dilemma; Which bars will be showing the final? Which outdoor venues are screening the match? Where will I be able to watch the game with real fans? – we’ve put together a list of some of our favourites to help you decide.
The Frannz Club is in the well-heeled, northern Berlin neighbourhood of Prenzlauer Berg. It is a venue tucked into the Kulturbrauerei, which originally operated as a brewery but today is both a protected monument and home to theatres, cinemas, clubs and function rooms. As the City of Berlin will not be hosting the ‘fan-mile’ screening at the Brandenburg Gate as they did during the World Cup, the Frannz Club will be the closest thing to a typical Berlin ‘public-viewing’. The club will be broadcasting the match live in their summer garden on a huge screen but they have also made plans to move it inside in case of bad weather. As during the World Cup, the atmosphere is sure to be exciting, even if neither team is German.
Address: Frannz Club, Schönhauser Allee 36, 10435 Berlin
Nearest U-Bahn: U Eberswalder Str
Pros: Beautiful venue in a prime location
Cons: Can be expensive
The football culture magazine 11 Freunde has teamed up with several Berlin venues to offer ‘Football Week’ in the lead up to the Champions League final. Beginning tonight, it will include the DFB Cup final, a pub quiz and follow preparations for the Champions League final. The big match will be screened in Lido, an indie rock venue in the busy Kreuzberg district of Schlesisches Tor. Formerly a cinema, the interior has a crumbling retro feel, is spacious and has a huge screen on the stage. Outside is even better, with more screens and plenty of seating, all arranged around a sort of catwalk for easy access to the well stocked bar. 11 Freunde have also organised an after-party at The Hungry House in Mitte but if you would rather stay in Kreuzberg it will be easy to find another venue in this late-night party district at which to celebrate or commiserate.
Address: Lido, Cuvrystraße 7, 10997 Berlin
Nearest U-Bahn: Schlesisches Tor
Pros: A very ‘Berlin’ venue.
Cons: On a busy night service can be a little slow.
Blarney Irish Pub
Blarney Irish Pub is modelled on a spit-and-sawdust British pub, but with an important twist. Jean Clarke – an endearing, ruthlessly efficient landlord – would never let his establishment bow to a lack of hygiene and has created a pub with all the authenticity of a local boozer, but with none of the dirt. Located just across the street from the famous Bergmannstrasse, the pub can be reached via a three minute walk from either U-Bahn Mehringdamm or Platz der Luftbrücke. Jean Clark offers table service and you pay the bill when you leave. His ability to keep track of everybody’s drinks, while also identifying which team you support and offering either conciliatory eyebrow shrugs or warm thumbs up depending on how a match progresses is touching. The recently installed smoking room at the back, fine Guinness, and perennially welcoming atmosphere make this one of the best venues in the city for watching the beautiful game.
Address: Blarney Irish Pub, Methfesselstrasse 4, 10965 Berlin
Nearest U-Bahn: U-Bahn Mehringdamm or Platz der Luftbrucke
Pros: Intimate atmosphere
Cons: Difficult to get seats
Belushi’s is an Australian-style sports bar in Mitte. This one is not for the traditionalist – the interior feels a bit like a Student Union. However the bar has one of the longest Happy Hours in Berlin (5-10pm, daily) and that coupled with a boozy expat crowd, makes the atmosphere on match days electric.
Address: Belushi’s, Rosa Luxemburg Straße 39-41, 10178 Berlin
Nearest U-Bahn: U Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz
Pros: Raucous atmosphere can be infectious
Cons: It can go the other way!
Hops and Barley
Arriving off the back of Europe’s craft beer revolution, Hops and Barley in Friedrichshrain is a small microbrewery that attracts an ever-expanding number of craft beer lovers in Berlin. Set in a former neighbourbood pub, the interior still holds the familiar tiled-walls of a Berlin local, but with none of the usual mullet-haired regulars. Instead, a mixed-crowd sip from the three home-brewed draughts on offer (Pilsner, Wheat Beer, Dark), cider or hoppy seasonal guest ales. The popularity of the place makes finding a seat difficult, but once settled, you will find it increasingly hard to leave.
Address: Hops and Barley, Wühlischstr. 22/23, 10245 Berlin
Nearest U-Bahn: U-Samariterstrasse
Pros: Cracking beer on tap.
Cons: A bit more upmarket than your usual football pub.
FC Magnet Bar
FC Magnet Bar is a small but lively sports bar situated in the popular area of Rosenthaler Platz. The bar offers a good mix of locals and visitors and packs out for all big European games. Featuring many ‘Kicker Tables’ (table football) and a large screen, the bar is a great place to build up to the final.
Address: Veteranenstraße 26, 10119 Berlin
Nearest U-Bahn: Rosenthaler Platz
Pros: Good atmosphere. Central.
Cons: Quite small. Seats are a premium
Located on one of Berlin’s prettiest streets in the heart of Kreuzkoelln (where Kreuzberg and Neukoelln) collide – Sofa Bar is a Berlin staple. Decked out with mismatched furniture, Sofa Bar showcases Berlin’s famed shabby-chic bar style. The fantastic backroom with an HD projector, draught beer and cocktails, plus a lively local crowd creates a boisterous atmosphere at this neighbourhood favourite. The friendly bar staff complete the atmosphere.
Address: Sofa Bar, Ohlauer Straße 42, 10999 Berlin
Nearest U-Bahn: Schonleinstrasse
Pros: Great screen
Cons: Service can be slow
Despite being tucked away off Kroner Park in the southern reaches of Neukolln, Flaschenzug is a notable new addition to the Berlin beer scene. A stripped down minimalist interior with intimate lighting and a laid-back atmosphere, Flaschenzug is the perfect neighbourhood bar. Table service on the haus pilsner from Bavaria, perfect Mexicanas, and a welcoming host all add to the attraction of the place. Each of the pub’s three rooms are fitted with big screens and show Bundesliga and Champions League games throughout the season.
Address: Flaschenzug, Emserstrasse 16, 12051 Berlin
Nearest U-Bahn: Neukoelln
Pros: Great table service
Cons: Can get a little smokey
Header picture cropped from original by IK’s World Trip/ Flickr CC