Sharlie Cheen is building a cocktail empire along Torstrasse.
Pawn Dot Com. Hardly the classiest bar name in town (it’s actually a wordplay on its location – the former Königliches Leihamt, the emperor’s old personal pawnshop), it’s a new cocktail bar with classy aspirations. It’s part of Dustin Render’s invasion of Torstrasse. An unintentional invasion perhaps, but empire-building nonetheless.
Torstrasse’s new cocktail belt.
It started with Sharlie Cheen, the glittering, neon-lit bar on Rosenthaler Platz. Then it spread to Emi Wynehouse Bar, a one-year pop-up bar on Torstrasse 68 (you can already see Dustin’s love for silly wordplay, right?). Now, and rather serendipitously, Pawn Dot Com has arrived on Torstrasse 164. The reason was very simple: Dustin heard a great location was available and the deal was too good to miss. So he took it.
Now, Dustin owns a cocktail belt that spans Torstrasse. All three bars would be familiar to fans of Sharlie Cheen – clean and meticulously decorated lounge bars for Berlin’s clean-shaven set, serving high-end cocktails for an affordable price (10-12EUR).
New-Old Berlin aesthetic.
Pawn Dot Com is designed to look like the Berlin bars of yore – the ones which littered the city when I first moved here, the ones you rarely see these days. It’s dark, dirty and graffitied.
Ironically, it’s also one of the cleanest, smoke-freeist bars around, where you wait to be seated and enjoy table service.
Dustin wanted the charm without the grime.
Cocktails with accompanying shots.
Its bar features a much more stripped-down selection compared to Sharlie Cheen. Only a thousand types of gin instead of a million. And their concept is actually something rather great: all of their cocktails are served with a strong little chaser designed to amplify the flavours and experience of the main drink. It’s an upmarket Herrengedeck, and at the very worst a free extra drink.
Dustin’s the brains behind the concept and also designed the menu. He has a love of interesting, premium spirits and strong drinks – and a fantastic palate too. Dainty cocktails really aren’t my thing and Dustin’s cocktails have a robustness to them. They’re solid, harsh, not too sweet, yet perfectly balanced. And sipping between the cocktails and the shot certainly gets you drunk.
There was this blue cocktail on the menu, Montana Gold Bermuda, one I fell hard for and to had to order twice.
Whilst both cocktail and shot were perfectly pleasant separately, when drank in conjunction they unleashed a whole new flavour. It was all rich chocolate, orange liquer, deep alcohol. The textures of the two drinks played in your mouth, mixing melted chocolate with sharp citrus bursts.
Needless to say, we tried all 12 drinks. And whilst we were already pretty boozed-up, Dustin had one more trick up his sleeve. He produced a bottle of aged Jägermeister – something I’d never heard of before – and began to pour out shots. I’d love to comment on how the ageing process had improved the flavour of this schnaps, but no one in our party could remember.
Pawn Dot Com