Bar am Steinplatz - Sizzling Drinks at the Hotel Bar
I don't usually enter bars while the sun is still out. But had I not made an exeption this time, I would likely have missed Bar am Steinplatz' breathtaking turn-of-the-century facade. The building, designed by architect August Endell and built in 1907, was intended for residential purposes at first but turned into a hotel only six years after completion. During the 1950s, it hosted international celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot, Romy Schneider and Heinrich Böll.
As the building's aura faded with time, it was turned into a retirement home, followed by years of latent vacancy. However, in December of 2013, after three years of restorations, the heritage-protected house shone in new splendor. Fundamental changes were able to turn this historic building into a glamorous boutique hotel once more, this time around as a part of the Autograph Collection – luxury completed with a dash of 1920s sparkle.
The hotel bar's Blueberry Margarita has built a reputation well beyond Berlin's borders. And when chef de bar Christian Gentemann served it to me I knew why: instead of the usual salty rim, the glass is decorated with a sherbet powder that starts sizzling as soon as it touches your lips. I absolutely loved it!
Christian Gentemann's eagerness to experiment is easily readable with just a single look at the menu. Martini meets porcini, wodka clashes with currant vinegar and Black Forrest gin with pear syrup. Another customers' favorite is the Beetroot-Pineapple-Smash with gin and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
The drinks are divided into three categories: regional, seasonal and international concoctions that are all described and named with lots of wit. Classics are not listed, but are of course available on demand. Apart from 17 drinks and further spirits, wines and a wide assortment of gin, customers are not denied one bit of culinary bliss: veal rissole, venison bratwurst, pork knuckle croquettes and, instead of conventional club sandwiches, a typical Berlin variation of cold cuts and bread.
The Bar am Steinplatz has become a hotspot unusually quickly – 80% of the customers are Berlin residents at that, something you'll rarely find in a hotel bar. That is why I, too, returned in the evening to nestle in one of the big leather chairs, observe the hustle and bustle of the bar and listen to soft electronic tunes, mixed by Cookies executive Heinz Gindullis. All this while sipping on an Apple-Blackberry-Fizz – a busy day could not end any better. Oh, and btw: the beautiful facade is still visible, and just as impressive, during the night!