If you are visiting Berlin, you are probably going straight to Berghain, and there is a big chance (let’s be honest) they won’t let you in. But hey, waiting in that line is also a story to tell your grandchildren. So there you are, with your friends eager to experience the famous Berlin party life with a stamp “loser” written across your soul. You need some cool and cheap Friedrichshain bars? That’s where you are if you didn’t know.
Berghain and RAW are situated in Friedrichshain. Not many tourists know this because it is impossible to pronounce, spell, or remember. It is a neighbourhood with a fascinating history, which I advise you to read before diving into my choice of the best cheap Friedrichshain bars to dance and have some affordable drinks.
Chances are you will follow the river of rejectés and end up in RAW, which is not a lousy choice. The clubs in this area, next to Warschauer Strasse S Bahn station, make it a great place to land as a tourist. But do you want to have fun as a tourist or as a Berliner?
But if you are really stranded in front of Berghain in the pouring rain, here are six spots with a relaxed atmosphere and no lines.
COOL FRIEDRICHSHAIN DANCE BARS?
Who says a bar can’t have a dance floor and a DJ?! For most Berliners, gentrification is the first thing that comes to mind when they think of this area. As a result, there is an excellent selection of hipster bars that offer craft beers and signature cocktails.
The only dancefloor with a DJ north of the Frankfurter Allee, this “elektrokneipe” or electro pub, is different, and relatively expensive in comparison with the rest of the punk bars in Rigaer Strasse. The entrance is free, but you need to pay two euros for the DJ with the first drink. A maze-like foreplan with several smaller rooms gives the impression of a bigger club.
The DJ is not playing the craziest dance music you will ever hear, but you can sway a bit to what can be called “progressive lounge” until 6 am. The biggest perk of the place is the room with table tennis and a never-ending round of circle ping-pong, which is basically a group of people running in a circle. Very popular with Germans, too much exercise for me.
Location: Rigaer Straße 31, 10247 Berlin
Entry fee: free
Opening hours: 7 PM – 6 AM
When you pass beneath the sign written in Cyrillic, belonging to one of many bars and restaurants on Simon Dach Strasse, you pass through a gateway to a 20s Russian burlesque club. Everything from the waiter’s bow ties to big velvet curtains helps us maintain the illusion that we went back in time. On the weekends, the back room is reserved for a DJ and rockabilly and soul sounds.
Every second Sunday, they organize a burlesque show. The prices are reasonable, considering it is placed in the heart of the tourist area. A couple of glasses of wine and beer will cost you 3 to 5 euros. They make a mean White Russian if you are ready to go all the way down the Russian rabbit hole.
An exciting bar with a relaxed atmosphere and affordable prices.
Location: Simon-Dach-Str. 28
Entry fee: No entry fee
Opening hours: 4pm till the end
SUß WAR GESTERN
Just around the corner from Boxhagener Platz finds its place a legendary bar, a borderline club always ready to take in lost souls in search of a good time any day of the week – for instance, during their Monday Mood events. Unlike previously mentioned spots, here, there is usually is an entrance fee in the range from 5 to 7 euros and a couple of friendly bouncers at the door.
You may wonder if it is worth the hassle. It is! The intimate dancefloor, 60s style furniture, good electronic music, and Nintendo Super Mario will chase away any regret you might be feeling. Finishing your night here will give you a sense of a successful night out, minus the hassle of the big clubs.
Location: Wühlischstraße 43,
Entry fee: 5-7 eurs
Opening hours: 7pm till the end
CHEAP BEERS AND THE REAL SPIRIT OF FRIEDRICHSHAIN
If you really want to go Berlin, don’t go techno go punk! And punk doesn’t like gentrification. Rigaer Strasse and Mainzer Strasse are home to many of the Berlin old squats, but you can find them all over the area. Read more about the squat culture in our article about the history of Friedrichshain.
It is fair to say that this bar enjoys legendary status and serves as a reminder of the times when Rigaer Strasse was the true Anarchic center of Berlin. First thing you will notice is the price. You can have a beer for 1 euro – less than price in a Späti, the beloved late-night convenience stores.
Don’t expect to order a cocktail, but do expect some great political conversation, a relaxed atmosphere, a billiard table, spontaneous dancing to punk or metal, and a movie night on Sundays. It is also one of the spots where you can get the chance to try Vokü, the community kitchen where you can eat a tasty cooked meal for only a few euros. It is the spirit of Berlin in a bottle, everything that many consider is at stake with the growing gentrification.
Location: Rigaer Straße 83, 10247 Berlin
Entry fee: big zero
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 16h until the end
A bit south from the old Stalin avenue, next to a beautiful park, you will find an institution. Located in one of the old occupied buildings, Supamolly is both a bar and a concert hall. The decoration and the atmosphere are very similar to those in Fischladen: rock, punk, and rebellion. In the last decade—looking at their concert hall repertoire—Supamolly has been a bit less on the anarchic side and has been more appealing to tourists.
Great concerts from different genres for a reasonable price make this place attractive to people outside your typical anarcho-punk crowd. The drinks selection doesn’t differ from the one in Fischladen: beer, wine, and shots. But once you’ve taken in the atmosphere, you won’t want to drink anything else.
Location: Jessner Straße 41
Entry fee: Depending on event
Opening hours: Every day from 15:30
Moving a bit further to the east towards Ostkreuz—the final frontier of Friedrichshain—you will come to the future: Zukunft, that is. This is not merely a bar. It is a cultural center made of two cinemas (one open-air), an exhibition space, three music clubs, and an open stage. They also brew their own beer. If this already isn’t enough to get you there, let me tell you about its history.
Before the Second World War, the building was part of the railway system. During the war, it was severely damaged and was rebuilt during DDR time to serve as a movie warehouse. After the reunification, it remained purposeless until it was turned into the cult nightclub Ministerium für Entspannung. Part of the club burned down in 2009, which caused its subsequent closure. Zukunft then opened its doors in 2011.
Location: Laskerstraße 5, 10245 Berlin
Entry fee: Depending on event
Opening hours: Depending on the event