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Buck & Breck

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177 Brunnenstrasse, Berlin, Germany

By Forest Collins

While the latest bars are desperately trying to differentiate themselves, Buck & Breck sticks fast to the speakeasy style in which it opened. Here, patrons still ring for entry at the discreet door to a small windowless bar that displays no branding. And something’s gotta be said for a bar that can stick with a tried and true (and sometimes tired) concept but still hit the list four years running.

It kicks off its sixth year of business with a sixth menu that also continues in a typical craft cocktail style from a classic French 75 to the Soul Food Tommy made with mezcal, French vermouth orange China-China, maraschino and Angostura. The cocktails are top-notch and the attitude discourages the whole mobile and camera thing. Instead, low lights and an intimate ambience make for hushed and engaging conversation with your drinking companions.

And, really, why would they want to change? As is, no self-respecting cocktail connoisseur comes to town without a stop here. And the growing number of regulars meant the one change made this year was an expansion. The capacity has been upped in this busy, 14-seat bar with a small lounge in addition to the usual communal table.

The bar also serves up some really nice cult champagne series, such as Jacquesson. A glass of these bubbles gives you a sense of sophisticated maturity with just a dash of healthy self-satisfaction over your tastefully in-the-know choice. Which is much like the feeling the bar itself leaves.