Open for just over three months, Barbière may be one of the hottest spots in Bern.
From morning until late at night, the local brewery and bar located at Breitenrainplatz is full of people angling for elbow room at the bar (or looking to score an enviable seat on the sidewalk). Filling the vacancy left behind by Jura Pharmacy, Barbière has become the neighborhood's social focal point.
Barbière Appeals to many Lifestyles
Marcel Graf, one of the original developers and the director of marketing of Barbière:
"We want to be a place where people in the Breitenrain village can meet and have a coffee in the morning or a beer after work. Right now, we have a really diverse mix of people. We have a couple in their seventies who come every morning for coffee, and we have young professionals who stay until we close at 12:30 in the morning."
Indeed, beginning at 7 AM on weekday mornings, the lofty industrial space quickly fills up with patrons wishing to slowly peruse the newspaper over a cup of coffee, patiently waiting until a respectable time to switch to beer. For many, the wait is not long as the local offerings are too good to pass up.
Barbière features five taps cozily nestled in the corner of an extra-long, wooden L-shaped bar. Usually two or three taps are reserved for house brews and the others feature a regularly rotating list of favorites from small Swiss microbreweries. Graf says:
"We are inspired by American and Belgian brewing traditions and we want to create specials beers that are really of the moment. We want to serve beers that are not just for the beer fundamentalists, but for everyone."
In the brewery, cheekily labeled the "Garage" as homage to where the group originally started brewing beer, you will find pale ales, IPAs, double IPAs, coffee stouts, and even a Russian imperial stout.
This certainly does not read like a standard menu at bars and cafes across Switzerland!
These beer flavors are familiar to many of us who have experienced the rise of craft beer in America or who are fans of hoppy, flavorful Belgian beer. But they are a far departure from traditional lagers made by brewers such as Feldschlösschen and Cardinal.
The staff at Barbière is committed to experimenting, however.
One way in which they can economically and feasibly do this is by brewing in 300 liter tanks as opposed to traditional 1000 liter tanks. This way, they regularly try out new flavors and profiles without worrying about using up too much product if the beer is a flop. (Though this has yet to happen at the stunningly popular joint.)
Ingredients for the beer are as locally sourced as possible, and the new summer ale will feature Elderflower blooms picked right from the banks of the Aare River. In addition, Barbière serves dishes made in-house from local ingredients.
Each weekday, Barbière serves lunch consisting of three options: A meat dish, a pasta dish and a vegetarian dish. In the evenings, you can nibble on unleavened beer bread, cheese and dried meats as you sample the beers on tap.
Barbière works so well because there is nothing else like it in the city. Of course, there are bars and cafes dotting nearly every corner, but none so modern and contemporary as this one. Moreover, its unique beers and wide appeal make it a comfortable place for everyone in the neighborhood.