Caffè Bar Riva, Schosshalde-Obstberg
A glass of natural wine and Italian piazza feeling, or a good coffee in the company of a family of swans and with a lake view – sounds tempting, but in the middle of the city? Seems impossible. Not so for Caffè Bar Riva! All day, the idyllically located café serves food that’s good for your belly and your soul – and your conscience, as it’s important to them to work closely with small local businesses: the coffee beans for the espresso are roasted in the Emmental, the sourdough piadine are prepared in the “Breitsch” (Breitenrain neighbourhood), and the selection of wines is from the Wyssloch vineyard around the corner. In addition to the culinary treats, there are also different activities at the Riva – how about a little concert or a yoga lesson by the lake, for example?
noy Bar Caffè, Breitenrain
Enthusiasm, creativity and high-quality products – the noy in the “Breitsch” (Breitenrain neighbourhood) has so much more to offer than coffee (although the coffee is excellent). “Apéro” culture (enjoying an aperitif and little snacks) is taken seriously at the café – in addition to a considerable selection of aperitif drinks, delicious snack platters (including vegetarian options) are also on the menu, and every first Friday of the month, the “Apericena” combines aperitif and dinner (cena). Speaking of events: there’s a monthly pub quiz – have a drink and test your knowledge! Another noy event revolves around coffee: the barista workshop gives you the opportunity to learn latte art from the pros. By the way, the stylish clay cups that the coffee is served in are available for purchase – treat yourself and enjoy the noy feeling at home.
The trendy Lorraine neighbourhood is now home to the inclusive restaurant Lorraine22 – unassuming on the outside, stylish, charming and elegant on the inside. Every evening from Monday to Thursday, you can lean back and lose track of time while sharing delicious tapas until the midnight hours. Caramelized goat cheese, baba ganoush in a mason jar, marinated organic trout with kimchi – there is something for every taste. And on Fridays and Saturdays, the restaurant takes you on a trip to Provence with its moules marinières with “Chnoblibrot” (garlic bread) or French fries. The food is accompanied by in-house lemonades, cocktails prepared with local ingredients, and exquisite wines. The patient staff also contributes to the relaxed atmosphere. Slow down and take it easy!
Zar-Bar is quite possibly the city’s smallest bar, and definitely one of the coziest. It is located in the Mattenhof neighbourhood, right by the tram stop Cäcilienstrasse. So, there is no excuse why you shouldn’t head southeast from the centre in the direction of the Fischermätteli neighbourhood and stop by at the Zar’s. But who needs excuses when they can go for the best “White Russian” around? There you go! We know the Dude from The Big Lebowski would love it. Just as he would love the delicious regional cheese and meat on the aperitif platter or the brunch buffet on Saturdays. Small as it may be, Zar-Bar is still an important event location: be it for Jass (Switzerland’s national card game) tournaments, speed dating, elections of Federal Councilors, concerts, tastings – there’s room for everything.
Altes Pfarrhaus, Muri
What used to be a vicarage has been turned into a relaxed bistro, offering treats such as organic coffee, a selection of local beers and wines, and different snacks and nibbles, some of which are grown in its own garden. A particular focus lies on the most important meal of the day: “Zmorge” (breakfast), which isn’t just available on weekends, but every day of the week. There’s a terrace which is perfect for “sünnele” (sunbathing) in the summer, and an outdoor fire pit for guests to gather and swap stories on long summer nights. When temperatures start to drop, the fireplace inside is lit and you can get cozy and enjoy your favourite book and a cup of tea by the flickering fire.
Go for a long walk in the enchanting Elfenau neighbourhood before you stop by the Altes Pfarrhaus – it is said that the treetops there are home to fairies and elves (“Elfen”).
Café Fleuri, Lorraine
How about enjoying some regional treats in idyllic Café Fleuri after a botanical journey around the world? Sit back and relax surrounded by succulents and native trees in Bern’s Botanical Garden. Its pretty café is open from April to October. Indulge on a Fleuri breakfast under the yellow parasols, unwind among the luscious greenery on your lunch break, or stop by for a sundowner and snack aperitif platter with friends. Everything that’s served here is organic, fresh, and made with love.
Botanischer Garten, Altenbergrain 21
Ten years ago, a few 30-year-olds started experimenting in their garage, trying to brew their first beer. Because it worked out so well, they got busy and turned an old pharmacy in the middle of the Breitenrain neighbourhood into a cool bistro. The brewery located in the back of the bistro is called “Garage” as an homage to the early days, and the brewers are still working on their own, non-mainstream creations. At the bar at the front end, they like to change up the beers they serve – if you want to know which ones are on tap at the moment, it’s best to just go by Barbière yourself. At lunchtime, there are two different meals plus pasta on the daily menu. In the evenings, you can snack on a salad bowl or an aperitif platter.
Luna Llena, Breitenrain
This full moon will definitely leave you moonstruck: Luna Llena is a popular meeting place in between the Breitenrain and Wyler neighbourhoods. Be it for a morning coffee, a tasty lunch menu or a beer (or two) after work – you can visit and relax at any time of the day. Concerts and exhibitions are held regularly and contribute to the open, creative charm of the local bistro at Scheibenstrasse. Luna Llena is also inextricably linked with ice cream – for over 20 years, they have been making Bern’s very first organic ice cream. It is known in all of Switzerland and has a huge fanbase. All of the ingredients used for the delicious creations are organic and, whenever possible, regional. And: the entire selection is fair-trade certified.
Not far from the small but lovely Kocherpark, you will notice the window front of this Danish restaurant. A wooden arch at the entrance displaying the restaurant’s name – similar to the decorations you would find at a festival – beckons you to enter. Inside you will find the Nordic style Hygge which translates to “comfortable conviviality” – perfectly fitting for the Bernese lifestyle. You can forget about time on the mismatched chairs and sofas, and simply enjoy the moment with a coffee and a cinnamon bun. You can also order a delicious Smørrebrød board to share or some of the other dishes that are served here. The Sunday brunch is also highly recommended – even vegan or gluten-free or even with musical entertainment, depending on the occasion.
Caffè Bar Sattler, Länggasse
The scent of leather is long gone: only the name, Sattler (saddler), reminds us of what this café at Mittelstrasse 15a used to be. Today, Caffè Bar Sattler smells of warm panini and fresh espresso. Their brunch is a huge hit on weekends, and their “Sattlerbrote” (saddler sandwiches) are legendary – so much better, crispier and more interesting than your average sandwich. Who will you meet at Sattler? Old and young, students and residents, families and friends – so basically everyone. You can either sit inside the tiny, cozy house, or outside on the terrace or the low wall. One thing is obvious: Sattler brings some charming italianità to the Länggasse neighbourhood. Even more so because it shares the address with Bern’s original “Gelateria di Berna”.
At this charming café, all that glitters is gold: The Apfelgold in Bern's Länggasse neighbourhood is heaven for anyone who loves a good slice of cake with their tea or coffee. And “good” is a huge understatement – the sweet treats, such as almond tarte with caramel cream and semi-sweet chocolate or lemon tartlets made using an original French recipe are positively mouthwatering and will have you coming back for more! To balance out the sweet temptations, the drinks menu contains over ten different ciders from different Swiss producers, including the cafés very own “Edition Apfelgold” from the apple varieties Boskoop, Surgrauech, Berner Rosen and Bohnapfel.
Not every neighbourhood has a place with such a nice-“sounding” name – the Musigbistro (music bistro) plays an important instrument – er, role, in the Monbijou neighbourhood. When it opened in 1992, combining gastronomy and cultural events in a neighbourhood bistro was still a pretty new concept. But ever since, there have been concerts, readings and poetry slams on a regular basis. But Musigbistro also has a lot of gastronomical variety to offer: delicacies from all over the world delight the loyal fanbase. Indian samosas, Bosnian cevapcici, Thai chicken curry or Swiss Toblerone mousse are only e few of the delicious reasons why you should head to Musigbistro as soon as possible. And the best thing about it: for dessert, they’ll serve a wonderful concert.
Ô Capitaine, Breitenrain
Yearning for the south of France? A visit to Ô Capitaine in the Breitenrain neighbourhood will take care of that: The small restaurant on Herzogstrasse street exudes so much charm with its ambiance and menu that guests feel transported to a bistro in the beautiful old harbour of Marseille while sharing delicious tapas. The selection of fish and seafood specialities from ceviche to calamari has gourmands flocking to the “Breitsch” (Breitenrain) just as much as the French bistro classics ragout fin, Croustini de Chèvre and eggplant gratin. Every Wednesday, “Moules et frites” are on the menu, and on Sundays, brunch lovers from near and far meet at Ô Capitaine for the rich buffet of sweet and savoury specialities (quiche and cheeses – need we say more?).
Le Beizli, Liebefeld
Whether you’re heading to the theater afterwards, having some dinner or just hanging out and grabbing a drink: at Le Beizli in Vidmarhallen – run by the same people who also run the restaurant Du Nord and the Marzer, by the way – you will always find the perfect meal and drink for the occasion. The restaurant has a wonderful selection of specialty beers from regional microbreweries as well as a carefully curated selection of wines from the Weinerlei wine store. A fun idea for lunch: if you don’t feel like deciding on what to eat, you can order the “carte blanche” and be served a surprise menu immediately. It is, of course, also possible to look through and choose from the menu, which is what you do in the evening for dinner. If you’re up for it and you have enough time and an empty stomach, we recommend the tasting menu composed of five or six courses. Delicious!
Tingel Kringel, Länggasse
If we had to turn a whimsical smile into a café, the result would probably look a lot like Tingel Kringel in the Länggasse neighbourhood. The small café on Mittelstrasse is so cozy and lovingly decorated that you could stay there all day, looking around, relaxing and drinking coffee. To round off your perfect afternoon, indulge on one of the delicious desserts – there is everything from lemon pie to cheesecake. The cheesecake is so famous, that even SRF, the Swiss Radio and Television, stopped by for the receipe and a baking afternoon with owner Sabine Marti. You can also buy an entire cake for afternoon tea or dessert at home. By the way: there are also vegan and gluten-free options available.
Café Kairo, Lorraine
At Café Kairo, quality is not only found in the form of a culinary statement on the plate, but also in the glass. Don’t let the small selection of beers fool you – it’s always been exquisite: since its opening in 1998, the iconic venue has included the products of small Swiss breweries that were largely overlooked before the craft boom began a few years ago. The food is organic and made with ingredients and products from trusted local partners and distributors. The hamburger and falafel plates are highly popular – we couldn’t say which one tastes better … maybe you should just try both. Or, even better: try them several times. The same goes for the events: many musicians and bands kicked off their careers in the Kairo basement in the Lorraine neighbourhood – and enjoy popping in every once in a while.
Zoo Bar, Lorraine
There aren’t any boars at the zoo bar, but there are definitely beers! There are around twelve different beers on the menu, always complemented by a few carefully selected, local and regional specialty beers, as well as many different drinks. Events hosted at Zoo Bar include regular live concerts as well as the infamous and very popular pub quiz “Quizzy Thursday”. By the way, the small but cool bar on Lorrainestrasse is run by Bilal Erdogan and his friends. Bilal is also the founder of the iconic beverage delivery service “Bierexpress” and is now living his lifelong dream of owning his own bar. It’s great for us, too: after swimming at the Lorraine pool in the summer, we can make another refreshing stop at the ideally located bar on our way home!
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