Where to drink in Munich, from beer gardens to cocktail bars

Kate Mann
·5 min read
Menage Bar, Munich, Germany
Menage Bar, Munich, Germany

Beyond the comradery of the city’s beer gardens you’ll find an enticing diversity of establishments in which to spend your evening and, in some cases, some considerable local currency. You can choose between sophisticated wine bars, high-end cocktail lounges, lively student hangs and cosy pubs; sampling craft beers from a local brewer, learning more about the country’s growing gin movement or watching the city’s mixology masters do their thing. Munich also offers night owls and party animals a vibrant club scene, including a number of open-air venues that blossom once longer and warmer nights arrive. 

City centre 

Café Kosmos

Everyone knows Café Kosmos. Its central location close to the main station makes it a popular meeting place, while its laid-back vibe provides the appeal. Downstairs is normally pretty busy, with people continually shuffling back and forth, but upstairs has more seating and feels a bit like someone’s living room. A living room in a student flat share that is. The whole place has an unfinished look, from the unpainted walls to the non-matching array of furniture. Known for its bargain beer and cheap and cheerful cocktails, you’ll find a fun crowd here every night of the week.    

Contact: 00 49 89 5529 5867; cafe-kosmos.de
Nearest Metro: Hauptbahnhof
Prices: £

Weinbar Griabig 

To sample some of Germany’s finest wines, head to this attractive spot in the city centre for a journey through the country’s vineyards. Start with a glass of Riesling Sekt from the Mosel Valley before discovering some lesser-known local whites or even reds. The menu for bottles is far more extensive than the one for glasses, so if wine is your thing, make an evening of it and stay for dinner. “Griabig” is a Bavarian term for cosy – a description that fits, but doesn’t quite do to the striking combination of exposed concrete and traditional carpentry justice. 

Contact: 00 49 89 2323 9323; das-griabig.de 
Nearest Metro: Isartor; Marienplatz
Prices: £££
Getting in: Reservations recommended 

Weinbar Griabig, Munich, Germany
Weinbar Griabig, Munich, Germany

Garçon 

Swing by Garçon for a relaxed evening accompanied by disco and soul tracks spinning on an old record player. This effortlessly cool bar was designed by its architect owner, who collected, inherited and built everything in the small space. Perch on one of the stools that line the room (there are very few chairs) and enjoy a perfectly mixed old fashioned or a glass of wine. If you’re lucky, the built-in seat in the window might be free. On Saturday and Sunday, Garçon also hosts a pop-up cafe called Faber Breakfast (facebook.com/faberbreakfast) serving homemade granola, bagels and eggs benedict. 

Contact: Utzschneiderstraße 4; bar-garcon.de 
Nearest Metro: Marienplatz 
Prices: ££

Garcon, Munich, Germany
Garcon, Munich, Germany

Glockenbachviertel 

Ménage Bar

Shaking things up with redistilled peanut butter bourbon and sweet potato vodka, Ménage Bar is a cocktail joint above the rest. While the drinks are simple in appearance, the unfamiliar ingredients and attention to detail are anything but. Even the ice in your glass has been hand-chiselled from a large block behind the bar. The pink neon KB on the wall stands for Kinly Boys, the creative minds behind Ménage and the award-winning Kinly Bar in Frankfurt. Try the Louis Hardball with turmeric, cardamom rye whiskey and pear sherbet or the King Clear I with the peanut butter.  

Contact: 00 49 89 2323 2680; menage-bar.com 
Nearest Metro: Isartor
Prices: £££
Getting in: Reservations recommended 

Menage bar, Munich, Germany
Menage bar, Munich, Germany

Haidhausen

Barroom 

Tucked away in a house on a quiet residential street, Barroom is Munich’s smallest bar. With its dimmed lighting, dark wood and few tables, it can feel like you’re in a secret club. The barkeeper prepares cocktails to the beat of jazz and swing music; their repertoire includes  excellent pisco sours and a range of rum-based tipples made using their extensive collection from around the world. The reduced dimensions of this bar provide an intimate and distinct setting, but also create a slight space problem. Read: Not the best choice for groups. 

Contact: 00 49 89 4414 2762; barroom-muenchen.de 
Nearest Metro: Max-Weber-Platz 
Prices: ££
Getting in: Reservations recommended 

Barroom, Munich, Germany
Barroom, Munich, Germany

Schwabing 

Call Soul – Breaking Bar 

This basement bar in a beautiful city villa in Altschwabing may be miles away from New Mexico, but the inspiration from a certain hit TV series is clear. Many of the drinks fizz, bubble and steam their way to your table and are served in vessels that will take you back to your chemistry lessons at school. Just like Walter White, these guys know their science. When they’re not making cocktails, they can be found distilling a selection of spirits, including a gin infused with 7 herbs, that makes a great G&T. No frills needed.   

Contact: 00 49 89 4520 6655; callsoul-breakingbar.de 
Nearest Metro: Münchner Freiheit 
Prices: ££-£££
Getting in: Reservations recommended

Call Soul, Munich, Germany
Call Soul, Munich, Germany

Schlachthofviertel 

Frisches Bier

As the names suggests, this place is all about beer. But rather than the usual Bavarian big shots, you’ll find craft beers from Munich and beyond. Refreshing. The bar was opened by local brewer Tilman Ludwig and his business partner with the help of a crowdfunding campaign in 2018. The origin and brewer of each of the 14 beers on tap is detailed on a large blackboard on the wall and features a fair share of his own. Pull up a stool at the horseshoe-shaped bar and compare a Tilmans Brown Ale with a Heidenpeters Pale Ale. 

Contact: 00 49 176 8403 4005; frischesbier-muenchen.de 
Nearest Metro: Poccistraße 
Prices: ££

Frisches Bier, Munich, Germany
Frisches Bier, Munich, Germany

Bahnwärter Thiel

With abandoned train carriages, graffiti-covered shipping containers, an urban gardening project and a crane decorated with disco balls, this is easily one of the most creative and alternative spaces Munich has to offer – and a complete contrast to the grandeur of the old town. The project, run by the same crew behind Alte Utting and other similar “subculture” offerings, has a packed and hugely diverse programme including flea markets, readings, poetry slams, open-mic and film nights, along with concerts (classical music included) and club nights that go on till the early hours. 
 
Contact: 00 49 89 4521 5063; bahnwaerterthiel.de 
Nearest Metro: Poccistraße 
Prices: ££  
Getting in: No dress code 

Bahnwärter Thiel, Munich, Germany
Bahnwärter Thiel, Munich, Germany