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“1 hour.. and no drinks”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of Berlin Bar

Berlin Bar
Ranked #829 of 4,060 Restaurants in Melbourne
Cuisines: Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene
Dining options: Dinner, Drinks, Full Bar, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Neighborhood: Chinatown
Melbourne, Australia
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“1 hour.. and no drinks”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 22, 2014

Our experience started positively enough as we reached the top of the stairs and rang the green door bell. We were quickly met by a staff member who welcomed us and also curiously asked if there were more of us to come. We said no and our party of five were let in and seated in the West Berlin wing.

Soon we were handed menus and delivered glasses of water. We proceeded to enjoy the atmosphere and original decor. Deeee-lightful.

Unfortunately, this is where the service became a little more difficult to enjoy (and I'm only saying this because we didn't get any more service).

With each of us trying to make eye contact with the staff member so we could place our drinks order, it soon became apparent that he was sole host for all of the tables, and it would be very difficult to get his attention. On closer inspection we realised it was just himself and the bar women running the entire venue. It was a Saturday night so with around 25 people in the venue we were left scratching our heads... but hey they must know what they're doing right?

This situation lasted for about 20 mins. In an effort to circumvent the system, my sister attempted to place our order directly with the bar woman. Sadly, she was told it was table service only and therefore... well she came back to our table, deflated. So, we waited some more and reverted back to our original strategy of trying making eye contact.

After an unfruitful 10 mins my sister decided to walk the room, with all of our orders written down, and find the host so we could place our order. Pleasingly she found him, and the strategy appeared to do the trick. Drinks were on the way... or so it had appeared.

Another 10 mins passed, and we started to notice something... not been a single beverage had been delivered to any of the parties within the room. In fact, many of the patrons exuded a similar expression to that of ours - an amusing combination of disbelief and confusion, overlaid with the type of desperation invoked by raw thirst. Indeed I spotted just one used glass in the whole room, although the drink appeared to have been consumed some time earlier.

After another 20 mins, and nothing to evidence the $90 order of cocktails we had ordered earlier in the evening, we decided to leave. As we walked out I informed the host of our intentions. He seemed annoyed with us, adding that this was not the type of bar you can expect drinks to be delivered quickly (I'm paraphrasing) and that the bar women would begin making our drinks within minutes. Furthermore, he expressed his dismay as to how he would reconcile within his system that a $90 order had been raised, yet not paid for. In an instant, we collectively decided that we were too thirsty to contemplate this latest issue and proceeded to leave the bar.

Then we went to New Gold Mountain around the corner... what a great little bar!!!

Visited April 2014
2 Thank ReluctantReviewer491
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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86 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Gent, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Level Contributor
21 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Ring the bell”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 3, 2014

Berlin bar is worth its mysterious name. First you've got to ring the bell and your personal waiter will come and seat you. We've had the pleasure of being seated in West Berlin, with some very good and nicely presented cocktails. Loved the experience!

Visited February 2014
Thank Elien L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
18 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“has the potential to be a fantastic bar!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 11, 2013

loved the "exclusive" entrance that only opens after you wander up a dark stairway and ring the doorbell.
very relieved to read that the offensive cocktail name (mentioned in a previous review) has been removed

suggestions for improvements...
- sounds obvious but PLEASE hire staff who know basic German at least, both the cheerful Spanish man at the door and smiley, polite blonde girl admitting to knowing no German.
- suggestion to label prices of drinks in the old scool Deutschmark
Liked the decor but agree with a previous reviewer in that it is starting to look a little tired
Certainly worth a visit.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
1 Thank shellshockt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
44 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 28, 2013

The cocktails tasted like pure alcohol and were very expensive. My partner felt that the decor was a little tired.

East Berlin was closed (Tues night so not unexpected) but staff were kind enough to let us look around. It seemed more characteristic of the Melbourne tradition of re-purposing items for artistic/atmospheric purposes than of the austerity of East Berlin.

We liked the idea but were not impressed by how it was done. That being said it might have a much better atmosphere on the weekend.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
1 Thank Gianna P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
31 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“themed cocktails in a faux-exclusive real-chic atmosphere”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 22, 2013

The Berlin Bar is easy to miss when you're hunting for it. In a lane in Chinatown, you simply see its emblematic Berlin bear above a doorway. The doorway leads to a staircase. At the top of the stairs, you knock on a heavy door, and someone behind pretends to scrutinise your suitability for entrance while checking if you have reservations. Of course, it's all part of the game in a bar that has been divided into East and West Berlin. In West Berlin, 50s-chic decor of red booths and sparkling chandeliers welcomes youl the 'fun', American-run part of town. In Communist East Berlin, you might be positioned over an antique radio or perched atop a bunk bed, as you duck your head under the camo and barbed wire.

It's great fun for many, but for those more connected to the history of Berlin itself, the irreverent gimmickery of the Berlin bar may offend. Down in Australia, for many the horrors of WWII are far removed, and chances are strong that the young, hip crowd don't even realise what the Sachsenhausen (tanqueray infused with lemongrass, lemon, and vanilla sugar syrup) is named for - one of Germany's horrific concentration camps, the site of the murder of countless innocents. But it's all too easy to be distracted instead with a tasty Love Parade (Absolut vanilla, St Germain, lemon, and strawberry compote), the candy-pink cocktail topped with a heart-shaped lollipop.

History-conscious patrons may not appreciate the way that the bar makes light of the historically violent and disturbing serration of the city of Berlin. Yet the allure of the tasty drinks, the uniqueness of the idea, the two very different atmospheres inside, and the exclusive feel of this bar all ensure that it is is packed every Friday and Saturday night. I happily take all my out-of-town friends here.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank riventree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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