The Bird has perched atop the Berlin burger tree for a long time now. Like Berghain is to clubbing, The Bird is to Berlin’s burger scene – cherished by its regulars and spoken about in reverent, hushed tones by those who’ve yet to eat there. Also like Berghain, The Bird has gained a level of infamy; Berghain for its outlandish door policy and The Bird for the sheer fact that it’s always fully-booked.
To many, the exclusivity, authenticity, and humble charm of The Bird has elevated it to religious heights. These people are The Birdites. And on the 6th day, God created Da Birdhouse burger. On the 7th day, he rested and digested.
This quasi-religious fervor is often taken to the extreme. When last there, we met a girl who’d received a portion of The Bird’s blue cheese sauce as a Christmas gift. We met a girl who took two portions of their fries on holiday with her so she had something to eat on the aeroplane. Long live The Birdites.
But by elevating The Bird onto a pedestal you lose sight of something – that it’s just a bustling medium-sized dive bar/restaurant that serves really, really, really good burgers. In fact, its home-grown American charm draws in many of Berlin’s American ex-pats for an authentic taste and feel of home whenever homesickness rears its ugly head. Behind the hype and misconceptions of its grandeur, The Bird’s the real deal.
Alright, let’s get off our knees and talk about the effing burgers.
These guys love beef. Their steaks are top quality Black Angus beef and come shipped over from America with a price tag that puts them way out of the reach of a humble blogger. Their burgers use German-sourced beef about which their website boasts “the quality is high enough that other places would serve it as steak, but here it goes through our grinder every day to become the best burger this side of the Atlantic” and we’re not arguing.
Suspended on an English muffin bun, their burgers are built high. Big balls of meat that, once bitten into, reveal a still deeply pink centre once the juices start running down your arm. The small circumference of the muffin bun and the height of the burger makes it feel heavy in your hands. Un-burgerlike. You squeeze down to keep traction. The muffin’s a spark of genius. It absorbs the meat juices without falling apart and the burger stays together well in your hands. When you bite into it, there’s always a certain pull left in the bun, and you get a delicious almost chewy texture in your mouth.
You choose the burgers off the griddle menu or the flame-grilled menu. Both are good options – whilst the grill menu boasts a wide range of flavours and toppings, the eponymous house burger, Da Birdhouse, from the griddle menu is an instant classic, loaded with smoky bacon and cheese. Each burger is accompanied by an unhealthy portion of well-seasoned hand-cut fries, salad, and a homemade pickle. Due to the small muffin bun, the burger may not look like the biggest thing in the world when it’s first placed in front of you but you’ll very soon realise that this is a plate of food you’ll have trouble clearing, no matter how much you want to.
The largely American staff set the atmosphere of the restaurant and, along with their beef, they’ve imported a slice of American hospitality. Service is relaxed yet attentive and comes with a smile. Unless, of course, you order your burger ‘well done’ and proceed to eat it with a knife and fork.
BLY’s top tips for eating at The Bird
- Book in advance. Although if you’re in the Prenzlauer Berg area on a Saturday or Sunday they open from noon, so there’s a reasonable chance of grabbing a table straight off the street without booking.
- Try the spicy chicken wings with an order of their amazing blue cheese dip. If there’s a group of you, just order a large portion and put them in the centre of the table for everyone to share.
- Try the cheesecake. Again, try the cheesecake.
- You will eat and drink too much at The Bird, so take a shot of Blutwurz schnapps after your meal to help with your digestion before you attempt a difficult walk home.
The Bird deserves the hype. Aside from being just “good for Berlin”, The Bird has some of the best burgers we have ever tasted (including many from the other side of the Atlantic). Don’t be put off by having to reserve in advance, just do it.
Berlin Loves You Rating: 9/10
This review is part of our series on Berlin’s best burger joints. Read our opinion on what makes a good burger.
With a second The Bird opening on Kottbusser Damm some time in April, we’re hoping it’ll retain the magic of its predecessor.
Am Falkplatz 5
+49(0)30 510 53283
The Bird West
Kottbusser Damm 95