Our Top 10 Bars in Bern’s Old City
Whether you prefer a Negroni, a mocktail, or a craft beer: Bern’s bars offer a huge variety of classic, creative, and refreshing drinks. Here are our favourite places.
Asino il bar
Head to Asino il bar on Casinoplatz square for a touch of italianità. The name of this bar translates to “donkey” and is meant to reflect the Bernese character: a little stubborn and super easy-going. It serves up superb, unique signature cocktails developed by bartender Luca Milazzo, who likes to experiment with daring ingredients and delight his guests with tasty new cocktails. In addition to the surprising drinks made with ingredients such as beetroot, asparagus, or rhubarb, Asino il bar also serves excellent Italian coffee.
Take off into Bern’s lower Old City, a vaulted cellar, the world of award-winning cocktails: the bartenders at Abflugbar have won international prizes for their creations. And the atmosphere is world-class, too – enjoy a relaxed evening at the bar, in a comfy lounge chair, or on the soft cushions on the wooden platform. In addition to high-quality cocktails, the bar serves cold beer and select red and white wines, and olives and Parmesan shavings to nibble on. Our tip: order a Basil Smash, it’s said to be the best in town! For more information, we recommend you take a look at Google or go directly to the bar – there's no website at the moment.
Capitol Restaurant & Bar
The Capitol is a place where you can and should take your time. The cocktails are fantastic – bartender Silvan, who has already proven his skills in various bars in Bern (Asino il bar, for example), creates unique drinks from the most diverse ingredients. The sky is the limit! If you’re a bit overwhelmed by the extravagant creations: you can also get a great Espresso Martini, Negroni or other classic – just ask.
If you’re looking for a quiet spot near bustling Kornhausplatz square, the Kreissaal is the place for you. The cozy bar with its dimmed lights and jazz playing in the background is an insider’s tip. It’s located in a sandstone building that used to house Bern’s first women’s hospital (hence the name, which means delivery room) and has been serving some of the city’s best drinks since 1997. The bartenders love to experiment and incorporate different ingredients, regularly coming up with new, unique drinks with equally creative names – “The Return of the Honey Badger”, anyone?
A laid-back bar in a creative and unique setting: an old school gym in the heart of Bern. With its inviting courtyard, Café-Bar Turnhalle offers a place to unwind amid the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Its unique ambiance makes it a highly popular meeting place for the locals, a hub for cultural events such as regular concerts (PROGR), and a partner to numerous cultural institutions and festivals in Bern.
Lorenzini Bar and Enoteca
A visit to the elegant Enoteca at the back of Lorenzini’s ground floor will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a typical Florentine café and cocktail bar – but you’re in the heart of Bern, right next to the famous Zytglogge (Clock Tower). The front part of the ground floor is occupied by the Lorenzini Bar, a place steeped in tradition. It is the meeting place of the elegant “silver society”, which enjoys the tasteful setting for reading newspapers and drinking coffee in the mornings and sipping drinks in the late afternoons. In the evenings, the place transforms into a popular music bar.
There’s a true gem hidden on the 8th floor of the Hotel Bern: a rooftop bar, decorated in the style of the sixties and with a stunning view of Bern’s UNESCO-listed Old City. The friendly and chatty hotel staff serves classic cocktails, choice wines and a large selection of Whiskeys and Single Malts every day of the week. The place is worth a visit in the summer especially: if it’s warm enough, you can enjoy your drink on the terrace while watching the sun set over the city. Our tip: before you push the button for the elevator, ask the receptionist if there’s room for more guests – the bar is very popular.
If you’re yearning for the Italian dolce vita that you now from back home or from your holidays in the sun, you don’t have to go far to find it: just head over to Hodlerstrasse street by the Kunstmuseum Bern. Caffè Roma serves authentic Italian coffee and plays authentic – admittedly somewhat loud – Italian music. But its lively ambiance is what makes this bar so charming. If you’re there for drinks, we recommend ordering a classic Negroni – it’s said to be the best in town. But there are other cocktail creations as well and, to accompany them, tasty Italian aperitivi, salads and piadine.
Le Vigneron Weinbistro
The Le Vigneron focuses on sustainable and regional products, be it “BrauKunst” beer, the iconic Bernese ginger liqueur Ingwerer, Hanz Vodka, or Swiss wines. But this wine bistro’s trump is definitely its sustainably grown wine from the family-run winery in France. The best part? The wines that you try here are all available for purchase, so you can take your favourites home with you. A “très sympa” consultation comes free of charge. And the food menu leaves nothing to be desired either: there’s panini, soups, salads and charcuterie boards, all of which can also be made vegan. Another highlight: there’s a glass floor in the lavatory which allows you to see all the way down into Bern’s centuries-old sewage system.
Café des Pyrénées
Located right on busy Kornhausplatz square is the highly popular Café des Pyrénées, or “Pyri”, as the locals lovingly call it. All of Bern seems to meet up in this iconic café, which can sometimes make it hard to get a table. If you do manage to snatch one, you should definitely order a “Pyri-Plättli”, a charcuterie board with cheese, meats and antipasti. And if you’re a fan of G&Ts, this is the place for you: there are several different gins to choose from and you’ll find eight gin and tonic creations on the menu. The traditional café also offers a variety of beers, wines, and cocktails – whatever you’re in the mood for, the “Pyri” has got you covered!