Berlin Travel Guide

Hotel Palace Berlin’s Talented Young Bar Manager Shares His Favorite Restaurants, Bars, Museums, Parks, And More
Sebastian Jaroljmek, bar manager at Hotel Palace Berlin's House of Gin.
Sebastian Jaroljmek
Bar Manager, Hotel Palace Berlin

"A lot of people tell the same story," says Sebastian Jaroljmek, who originally hails from a small town in Bavaria. "If you move to Berlin, you love it or hate it. I fell in love with the city and decided to stay." Prior to joining the Hotel Palace Berlin’s staff, Sebastian worked on a cruise ship and traveled to 54 countries all over the world, from the Caribbean to the North Sea.

When he returned to Germany, he decided to move to the capital for one year, but ended up falling in love with a Berliner, got married, and had two sons. He won’t be leaving any time soon.

Sebastian takes his cocktailing seriously.
The Palace Gin

Most evenings you can find Sebastian behind the bar at Hotel Palace Berlin's House of Gin where he works with the staff to develop new infusions, create bespoke cocktails, and guide guests through gin tastings. He has visited many distilleries and loves educating guests on the nuances of different types of gin. Located in the Europa Center on the west side, just off the main shopping avenue Kurfürstendamm, the hotel attracts a business crowd during the week and more leisure guests on the weekends. The bar on the other hand draws a more niche clientele: in-the-know locals who love the juniper-flavored spirit.

Local Recommendations

Explore Germany’s Capital With Hotel Palace Berlin’s Bar Manager, Sebastian Jaroljmek

Though he spends a lot of his free time with his wife and two young sons, Sebastian also loves to go out and try new bars and restaurants, explore Berlin’s parks and scenic viewpoints, and learn more about the city’s history. Here, the hotel’s friendly bar manager shares his favorite places in his adopted city.

Berlin's Best Bars

Immerse Yourself In Berlin’s Sophisticated Cocktail Culture

Of course Sebastian recommends the House of Gin as one of Berlin's best bars. Another of his favorites? Becketts Kopf, (64 Pappelallee; +49-30-4403-5880). “It’s a speakeasy in Prenzlauer Berg, not far from the hotel—maybe 15 minutes by cab—and they’re really focused on old-fashioned cocktails.” Considered one of the world’s best bars, this pint-sized boîte takes its name from the great Irish playwright and prints its cocktail menus on worn paperback copies of his books. It gets quite packed on the weekends, so come early in the week if you want to savor your drinks.
Sebastian is also partial to Buck & Breck (177 Brunnenstraße;, “A lovely little speakeasy,” adding that it’s “always busy, always crowded with a lively crowd.” Also on the World’s Best Bars list, the small, dark cocktail den can be accessed by ringing the doorbell of what appears to be a storage room.

The Becketts Kopf speakeasy in in Prenzlauer Berg, 15 minutes from Hotel Palace Berlin.

Where To Find Cake And Coffee In Berlin

Save Room For Dessert At This Historic Coffee Shop

Sebastian recommends Konditorei Buchwald (29 Bartningallee; +49-30-391-5931), a historic coffee shop famous for its cakes. “It’s near my home and near the hotel so I’m there once a week and they have a huge selection of cakes,” he remarks. He especially loves the German-style cheesecake and the Black Forest cake. The café has been around since 1852 and retains its quaint charm and excellent service. Sebastian suggests stopping by on a Sunday afternoon, but warns that it can get crowded so it’s a good idea to make a reservation. “Being there you’ll feel like you’re an actor in an old movie,” he says.

A selection of tempting cakes from Konditorei Buchwald.

Things To Do—And See

Take In The Views From These Lesser-Known Monuments

First time visitors and locals alike can enjoy fantastic views of Berlin from some of Sebastian’s favorite vantage points. For a 30-minute hike that ends with a fantastic view, he recommends climbing up to the Teufelsberg (10 Teufelsseechaussee;, an abandoned listening station used by the CIA during the Cold War. Now covered in graffiti, the five large geodomes allude to the city’s mysterious wartime past. A more central option is the Französischer Dom (5 Gendarmenmarkt; +49-30-229-1760), a.k.a. French Cathedral, on the Gendarmenmarkt, which was constructed in 1672 for the Huegenots driven out of France by Louis XIV. Located in the heart of Mitte near Museum Island, the church was restored after suffering damage during WWII. “From the cathedral you have a lovely view over Berlin and the historical sights in this area,” Sebastian says.

The Französischer Dom, or French Cathedral, constructed in 1672 for the Huegenots driven out of France by Louis XIV.

A Must-Visit Museum

Get A Glimpse At Soviet-Era Berlin

History buffs will find plenty to do in Berlin, from visiting major tourist attractions like Checkpoint Charlie to joining a guided Trabi safari, and taking in the East Side Gallery. After all, this is a city that has made major efforts to confront its dark past and educate visitors on it. For a fascinating look at Soviet-era Berlin, Sebastian recommends the DDR Museum (1 Karl Liebknechtstraße; +49-30-8471-2373) “It’s like a journey into the history of East Germany and everyone is very surprised by the stuff they had.” This small interactive museum displays artifacts from daily life under Socialism, when Berlin was divided in two and East Germans were completely cut off from the Western world. You can take a seat in a Soviet Trabi, the tiny cars available at the time. One of the most popular museums in Berlin, its interactive exhibits make it especially great for families.

The DDR Museum displays artifacts from daily life under Socialism when Berlin was divided in two.

Take A Walk In Tiergarten Park

Take A Break From Berlin’s Hectic Pace In The City's Largest Park

Berlin’s version of Central Park, the Tiergarten is the city’s largest and most popular urban park. Once the private hunting grounds of Friedrich Wilhelm, Elector of Brandenburg, and Duke of Prussia, it was used for royal sport in the 16th century and was opened to the public for the first time in 1740. Today, Berliners love to picnic and play sports here, visit the Berlin Zoo, and go jogging or cycling on the paths. Sebastian especially loves the English Garden (2 Altonaerstraße; +49-30-3948-0400), a restaurant and beer garden inside the park. “There are a few tables inside, but I would definitely recommend sitting outside on a nice sunny day,” he says. “If you’re a bit tired of the city and the noise, just go there and take a little break for two or three hours.”

The entrance to Tiergarten park.