Yorckschlösschen, Berlin


Berlin’s Jazz Bar par excellence…

Address: Yorckstraße 15, 10965 Berlin, Germany
Nearest U-Bahn stop: Mehringdamm
Opening Hours: 6pm-11pm Sun-Tues, 6pm-Midnight Wed-Thu, 6pm-1am Fri-Sat (Due to Coronavirus restrictions this may change, so check with the bar directly for any latest info)

Yorckschlösschen, a name not easily tripping off an English tongue, references a district named after the van Wartenburgs, with ‘Schlösschen’ referring to a castle. However grandiose its name, disregard images of aristocrats and palaces from your mind. Here is situated a pub, and a quite brilliant one at that.

At the entrance you will be met by a huge curved sign above the door in the style of a theatre or ballroom, advertising Jazz and Blues performances. It is a flamboyant welcome that demands attention from any passer by. This is clever use of the corner of the building which juts back beyond 90 degrees in a wedge. For whatever reason, there a lot of good pubs in wedge shaped buildings.

Upon entering you will notice how this determines the layout. To your right, a small stage with a piano, to your left, a chunky table in front of some thick red curtains. This is the prized seat in the house if you are hear to enjoy a performance.

One can’t help notice the large chandelier which adds to its decadent, slightly sleazy bohemian feel. For Yorckschlösschen, above anything else, seeks to transport you to the peak of Berlin’s Jazz scene a hundred years earlier. While regular performances only begun around 30 years ago, you can quite easily believe they had been going on longer. Part of this is that the building has served as a pub under the very same name for 120 years, so there is an authentic and tangible history, which lays the platform for the more recent musical addition. To be fair, 30 years is reasonably good going, all by itself. Every Wednesday, Friday + Saturday from 9pm performances begin, with Thursday added during the winter months.

Moving forward now in the aim of getting a drink, you’ll notice its bar area is slightly occluded by a pillar and the comings and goings of the staff, but offers plenty to look at, indeed, as you swirl around you will be engulfed by historic posters, ephemera, styling and decorations that have come in and out of fashion more often than most of us have had hot dinners. As the band play, the waiter takes your order and you are ensconced at the heart of the pub, you cannot help but declare, silently or otherwise: This is it, this is where I want to be.

But what about the food and drink?!

For those souls who are more focused on Product, I am pleased to report good things about the local Kreuzberger Tag und Nacht beers available on tap alongside a reasonable stock of more common German offerings and a fairly comprehensive array of spirits, mixers and cocktails to choose from. Additionally, you’ll find reliable pub grub served from a small kitchen. Service is pretty efficient and friendly if you are being waited on, though there are a few spiciers characters around if you go nearer the bar.

The backroom is more of a hangout and socialising spot in the pub, where raised voices won’t upset those enjoying the music. This part itself we found cosy, distinctive and worth exploring. You could turn the place into your local very easily, play cards, board games, read a book – as long as you lived somewhere near it. Nowhere in the pub feels unloved, or cavernous. It’s all compact and cosy.

The final, and not insignificant string to its bow is a beer garden which regardless of the situation near a busy road feels nicely calm, verdant and – to a degree – private. It doesn’t feel like you’ve been stuck out far from the pub, you still feel part of its anatomy, which for me is crucial, as so many beer gardens are so anonymous that there is no special reason to comment on them.

This all builds a picture of a fabulous all-rounder, with no obvious weaknesses to report. Sure, everyone could think of one or two tweaks here and there which would add to the quality of the place even further, but on a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc, visit, such considerations will be far from your mind.

We travel far and wide in the hope of discovering pubs and bars like this one that don’t just settle for mediocrity but want to be a piece of living art, a cosy home for locals, an interesting place for visitors and a dazzling contribution to pub culture. Visit as soon as you can.