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.

Au Daringman, Brussels

back to Belgium

Rue de Flandre 37, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
  • Quality and/or choice of drinks – 6/10
  • Style and Décor – 9/10
  • Character, Atmosphere and/or Local Life – 10/10
  • Amenities, Events & Community – 7/10
  • Value for Money – 6/10
  • The Pub-Going Factor –  9/10

Rue Des Flandres, in St. Catherine quarter is a great road for a bar crawl, host of several venues varying between good and great. In my view Au Daringman belongs to the great category, not only for the street but for Brussels more widely – I know, high praise in a city jam-packed with great bars.

The primary reason I reach this view is that despite the bar scene across Europe turning increasingly corporate, this brown café still feels like a personal venture. Despite being surrounded by crowds of people, passing trade of tourists and the daily grind, Au Daringman supplies an oasis of calm, moody contemplation during the day and an alternative-feeling cosy haunt at night.

Upon arrival you’ll note an attractive red exterior with old Stella hoarding, partly obscured by the greenery cascading down the front of the entrance, a look which is typical for a street with plenty of side-alleys and greenery.

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In the afternoon the bar is managed by the charismatic Martine (the pub known locally as Martine’s or Chez Martine), the managing in the quiet hours extending no further than being propped up on a stool reading a newspaper or a book, filing her nails, peering over the rim of her specs and drinking coffee.

On first appearances there doesn’t appear to be all that much maintenance required of Au Daringman other than a morning clean, watering of the plants and the odd keg change/clean of the lines, but it is clear the enterprise is a labour of love.

This café is so named because the original owner was a boxer and member of the Daring Club de Bruxelles in the 1950s and 1960s, a Molenbeek-based football club whose players were referring to as the Daringmen. Read further here.

Au Daringman also proves what a solid basis the ‘brown café’ is as a concept to work outwards from. Let’s compare other Brussels venues: Le Coq is the archetypal Belgian boozer, Monk is an elegant historical recreation, and Au Daringman is the off-beat jazz era cousin, with artistic leanings. Yet all of these still belong to the same pub family.

There are lots of interesting touches to the decor, from the cubist textured wood paneling, to a board with what appear to be scores from a local table football league. Apparently the bar has been going since 1942 – it looks like most of the bar hasn’t been significantly altered since the 1970s.

The simplicity extends to the beer choices on tap – it’s very standard stuff. Stella, Leffe, or Hoegaarden. In Belgium at least, all three of these are a reasonable standard.

While it may not be apparent – at least not during my visits – they also boast a host of bottled drinks, some of the well-known Trappist, Abbey and lambic Belgian ales along with some lesser-seen ones such as Gageleer.

On my last visit I spent two hours here quietly, with no book and no telephone function (imagine that in this day an age).  The beautiful simplicity of sitting among the wood paneling and minimalist jazz memorabilia, enjoying a beer and alone your thoughts sums up what Au Daringman is about during the day. Au Daringman wants to make you feel at home, but also quietly oozes cool.

While the bar becomes a lively place in the evening, almost transformed in doing so, some essence of the place goes missing when it is crowded. However, that goes with my impression, which may not be yours. As with Monk, I recommend visiting in the early evening when it begins calm then slowly starts to bubble up.

Despite Instagram cataloguing the world, you won’t find much online presence for Au Daringman, as presumably its location on Rue De Flandres makes advertising superfluous.

Yet another brilliant Brussels bar and an essential visit on the ‘brown café’ circuit in the city.

P.S – Sadly Martina does not own the building itself, so this is a bar that may be on borrowed time. All the more reason to visit while you still can!

Further reading:


Have you visited Au Daringman? Perhaps it is your local. Please get in touch with any feedback or comments regarding the above!