Soma’s a new indie rock bar just off Simon Dach Strasse. Don’t tell the tourists.
Rock bars in Britain are very different to those in Berlin. There, they’re stylish-looking people listening (and dancing) to indie rock classics, getting drunk and singing Oasis. Here, they’re fierce-looking people in black band t-shirts listening to thrash metal or obscure punk, getting drunk and singing Oasis.
Soma on Krossener Strasse has bucked the trend of its ‘rock bar’ neighbours, bringing some northern indie charm along with it (plus some excellent drinks to boot).
As ‘Processed Beats’ by Kasabian stomps around the brickwork arches of the bar, and neon light illuminates original artwork by The Underground Youth’s Olya Dyer through a haze of smoke, you realise that indie rock is something that Berlin’s been missing.
I was at the launch party of their new cocktail menu. I came, I saw, I heard indie music, I got smashed. All for you. Here are the highlights:
The U Wot M8! Margarita
First up was The U Wot M8! Margarita. Owner Ben Mason’s previous experience running Santa Maria Eastside means he can make a mean margarita, and Soma’s version is a strong, sour, swaggering drunk of a drink.
Playlist: Ian Brown, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys, The Vaccines.
Bourbon/Fresh Lime/Bitters/Fevertree Smoked Ginger Beer. Served in a copper pot, this initially refreshing drink is tainted by the corrosive burn of a full-bodied bourbon and becomes something else. It features one of the best and spiciest ginger beers I’ve ever tried.
Playlist: Interpol, Wolf Alice, Babyshambles, Jet.
“The grandfather of all cocktails.” Soma’s Old Fashioned is the least sweet of the drinks I tried, definitely the choice for those who enjoy the taste of unfettered straight alcohol. It’s classic, balanced and burly, and there’s a high risk you’ll drink it far too quickly.
Playlist: Richard Ashcroft, The Zutons, James, Pete Doherty.
Gin/One Part Vermouth Rosso/One Part Campari. The Negroni is a rebel on Soma’s cocktail menu, supplanting sweet and smokiness with pure bitterness. It’s a zesty civilised drink at first, that glows red in the candle light and imparts a lasting bitterness on your lips.
Playlist: Pulp, Supergrass, Stone Roses, Doves.
If you’re missing tapping your Beatle-boots along to something other than techno, get down to Soma Bar for a Guinness or two.
Krossener Str. 18,