The Au Trappiste beer café is the beer-lovers’ mecca in Bern’s Old Town. From IPA and Lambic to stout, craft beer connoisseurs can choose from over 100 outstanding beers from microbreweries all over the world. Beer sommeliers Oliver Vurchio and Eliane Münger are constantly changing up the selection in order to introduce Bern’s beer fans to all the best barley brews. A generous side note: A founding principle of the Trappists, a Roman Catholic monastic order from the 17th century, is still followed today by the café. In addition to prayer and study, the monks brewed their own beer behind the monastery’s walls and used the majority of their revenues to support social welfare works. The proprietors of Au Trappiste also donate a portion of their earnings to people and animals in need. A magnificent gesture, in our opinion!
Off to Rathausgasse 68
With its creative, always reinvented menu, Die Taube fulfills even the wildest of cocktail dreams. But what does one of the best cocktail bars in Bern have to do with beer, you might ask? A heck of a lot. At Rathausgasse 50, you can enjoy an authentic beer cocktail (its ingredients include Junker beer from the Felsenau brewery and Aperol), and Die Taube is also one of the rare spots where the dark Felsenau specialty brew “Bärni” is on tap. There is also an intoxicating selection of other craft beers available. Our tip: Order your drink from Lorenz Ernst. He’s both a barkeeper and beer sommelier and knows how to please all types of drinkers – from beer lovers to cocktail aficionados.
Off to Rathausgasse 50
More than just a beery idea. Ten years ago, a couple of thirty-year-olds were experimenting in their garage on their first self-brewed beer brand. It was so popular that they decided to pick up a hammer and chisel without further ado and to transform an old chemist in the heart of “Breitsch”, one of Bern’s most popular districts, into a cool pub. On the opening night of Barbière – microbrewery, scene restaurant and neighborhood bar all in one – a whopping total of 1,000 liters of beer were served. And the beer is still flowing there today. In the brewery at the back, called the “Garage” as a tribute to its origins, the two master brewers Matthias and Christoph work on their own brews, which are really outside of the box. Inspired by Belgian, English and American brewing cultures, they have now created over 50 beers. The effervescent house beers surprise again and again with new ingredients and characteristics. If you want to know which beer creations are currently flowing from the tap, you’d best drop by Barbière yourself.
Off to Breitenrainplatz 40
Anyone who has never had a craft beer has never really had a beer. This is the motto that infuses everything at OnTap, just like hops infuse the beer wort. There are always 12 beers on tap in the vaulted cellar at Rathausgasse 53, and as soon as one keg is empty, a new one is ready to be tapped. From Belgian blondes and an IPA with lactose and vanilla extract to sour ale with mango and passion fruit, beer fantasies know no limits here. And if your favorite brew is not on tap at the moment, you can definitely find it among the 60 bottled beers. By the way, the impressive assortment from the craft gallery is available here for take away.
Off to Rathausgasse 53
It’s very likely that one or two songs will be started up here at some point during the evening. After all, the Krone Bar is also known for its “singing students”. Although it is the regular hangout of the musical student fraternity, it’s also open to everyone who likes to enjoy their beer in good company. This comfy bar has a somewhat hidden location at the beginning of Postgasse and can also be reached via Restaurant Krone in the front part of the building (entrance on Gerechtigkeitsgasse). Traditional artisan brewing from the canton of Bern is still honored in this historic structure in the Old Town. The 16 beers on offer include Simmental beer from Lenk, Reist beer from Bäriswil and “Mein Emmental” beer from Zollbrück. If you’re starving or just want a snack, there are tempting creations to be had from the Krone kitchen, ensuring that not just guests but also the pale ales, porters and Märzen beer are in the right company.
Off to Gerechtigkeitsgasse 66
Although the name of this café-bar means “waiting room” in German, luckily it doesn’t live up to its moniker and no one has to wait very long for a cold beer around here. The cozy spot in the Lorraine district is not shy about broadcasting its unbounded love for Swiss craft beer. The Wartsaal team orders one or two crates each from various small, local breweries – and they all contain IPAs, stouts, porters or sour beers. This means there are always six or seven types of beer in the fridge that are of the “get them while they last” variety. After they’re gone, their spots are taken over by new specialties. The fixed selection of beers on tap at Wartsaal includes the classic “Galopper” from Egger Bier in Worb and the regulars’ favorite: the fruity-fresh “La Fraîcheur” from the Trois Dames brewery in Vaud’s Sainte-Croix. Wanna wait around and drink beer? Then head on over to Wartsaal!
Off to Lorrainestrasse 15
If you’re looking for a beer before heading to the theater, during dinner or after work, you’ll find the right brew for any occasion at Le Beizli, located in the VIDMARhallen in the Liebefeld district. It just happens to be run by the same folks who operate Restaurant Du Nord (Lorraine district) and Marzer (Matte district). Local gems from the Felsenau brewery are never lacking, nor is a lovely selection of specialty beers from regional microbreweries. Beers from Schuum in Bümpliz and those from the Bierwerkstatt Eberhard in Münsingen have almost become institutions at Le Beizli – and every so often a seasonal beer from Burgdorf’s Blackwell Brewery makes it onto the menu. Regulars know and love the regional selection and don’t mind hopping on bus number 17 in the direction of “Köniz Weiermatt” to sample it. Brewed happiness awaits just a few steps away from the “Hardegg Vidmar” bus stop.
Off to Könizstrasse 161
Who likes British beer? Then hurry on over to Marta’s place on Kramgasse! The café-bar offers an enchanting selection from the UK (including sparkling ciders). Marta has tasted and approved local and regional beer specialties as well, such as a Simmental red ale or the “Aare Bier” from Bargen in the Bernese Seeland. Whether you sit at one of the little blue tables under the arcades or inside in the vaulted cellar, at Marta’s everything always feels more relaxed, cozier and happier than anywhere else. The café-bar is also famously infamous for its pub quiz, during which conundrum fans regularly exercise their gray matter with lots of laughter. Who wants to bet that one or two beers really help your guessing skills? The answer can be found, of course, at Marta’s.
Off to Kramgasse 8
Bern, bears and beer – they go together like hops and malt. From the famous BearPark, where Bern’s resident brown bears, Finn, Björk and their daughter Ursina, live in a 6,000-m2 natural enclosure, it’s just a few steps to the Altes Tramdepot, a restaurant and brewery all in one. While papa bear Finn takes his daily bath outside in the Aare river, inside 3,100 hectoliters of beer are brewed every year. Two giant, gleaming copper kettles stand in the middle of the restaurant, and even a trip to the john is a memorable experience thanks to the brewing room in the basement. By the way, If you have to look up the difference between top-fermented and bottom-fermented in a dictionary (sorry, on Google), then master brewer Christian Stoiber and his colleagues can assist you. Every Saturday, beer buffs will take you on a 45-minute journey through the world of beer during the brewery tour.
Off to Grosser Muristalden 6
The Old City Irish Pub
What would a pub be without beer? Exactly. And the Old City Irish Pub has oodles of the stuff on hand. It tempts guests with various cult-status beers from Ireland, Great Britain and other countries (including Switzerland) at Kramgasse 28. Of course, there’s also Guinness on tap here, as befits any upstanding pub – and its price, the cheapest in all of Switzerland, will thrill thirsty souls. The Old City Irish Pub really does deliver everything its name promises. Its authentic pub atmosphere breathes a breath of Irish air into Bern’s Old Town.
Off to Kramgasse 28
At Café Kairo, organic quality is not just a culinary statement on a plate but also naturally cloudy in your glass. The beer selection is small but immortal. Since opening in 1998, this culture hotspot with cult status has always included in its lineup offerings from small Swiss breweries that were hardly given the time of day way back before the craft boom of recent years. These include, for example, creations from the Brasserie BFM from Jura’s Saignelégier. BFM has been producing at Kairo-Start for just one year and was one of the first small specialty breweries in the country. By the way, when visiting this restaurant in the Lorraine district, you may notice an extra tap at the bar. Now and then there’s an “extra beer” on tap, recommended by the Kairo crew personally because they like it so much themselves.
Off to Dammweg 43
Lorrainestrasse 69 is where Bilal Erdogan and his friends fulfilled a long-held dream. The founder of the iconic “Bierexpress” beverage delivery service operates the small but stupendous Zoo Bar on the site of the former Soon Gallery. The fixed assortment offers an average of 12 types of beer, complemented by carefully selected local and regional specialty beers that are rotated regularly. The Zoo program also features events, including the well-known and popular “Quizzy Thursday” pub quiz. In summer, the Zoo Bar is a superb spot to stop by for a drink. Its location is ideal for a second refreshing break on your way home from the Lorraine riverside pool. It’s never too soon for another refreshment!
Off to Lorrainestrasse 69
Hotel The Bristol
Things tend to be very British at the Bristol. It starts with the name, continues with the humor, is cultivated by the hotel team, and simply keeps on going from there. The cordial English enclave at Schauplatzgasse 10 also serves a genuine English breakfast with baked beans and porridge, afternoon tea in proper style with scrumptious scones, or a fresh meat pie for supper. And the most suitable beers to wash it all down are essential, of course. Our tip: Enjoy a beer flight in the lounge, where adventurous souls can fully quench their thirst. Suitable appetizers are served while guests sip on various ales and stouts from Britannia and Swiss beer specialties are sampled. Very relaxing!
Off to Schauplatzgasse 10