Böhmisches Brauhaus: World's saddest 'bohemian' brewery

Filed 3/6/2014 | Updated 15/9/2015
The saddest brewery in the world was right here in Berlin. At one stage, the Böhmisches Brauhaus in Friedrichshain just wanted to be put out of its misery. It was burned, trashed and pillaged almost beyond recognition. Time and countless Berlin winters provided little sympathy. It was having the hangover from hell.
The party ended long before and now almost all traces of it are gone. The Böhmisches Brauhaus has been reduced to rubble, several piles of it piled up into pyramids to be bulldozed out of the way so construction on the ubiquitous luxury apartments can start.
I’m not sure if it had Denkmalschutz or not but it appears irrelevant in any case. If you wait long enough demolition becomes the cure, the past its victim. The vandals. History is written by the investors.
The Böhmisches Brauhaus was “one of the most famous, innovative and popular of Berlin’s breweries,” according to the Hans Kohlhase history club in Friedrichshain.
It was founded in 1868 by Armand Knoblauch to brew beer in the Bohemian style. Hence its Böhmisches name. Knoblauch came from a distinguished Berlin family of politicians and architects, which was no doubt helpful when he was trying to get his brewery off the ground. It pays to know the right people, or to know the right people to pay. Nothing has changed.
Before it was knocked down, it was the second oldest surviving brewery building in Berlin after Prenzlauer Berg’s Pfefferberg Brauerei, which dates back to 1842. The Böhmisches Brauhaus was the oldest industrial building in Friedrichshain altogether.
Of course the locals didn’t care about such historical footnotes, all they cared about was their booze, and they gulped it down with gusto and with musto. “You must have another beer!”
The brewery was ideally situated between Landsberger Allee and Friedenstraße where a height difference of up to 10 meters between the streets allowed the construction of three multistoried beer cellars. It expanded quicker than the customers’ bellies and output was increased to 136,000 hectoliters by 1874. That’s a heck of a lot of beer. It made it one of Berlin's biggest breweries at the time.
There was also a restaurant called “Elysium” with halls and a beer garden for around 2,000 guests. An ice machine constructed by Linde arrived in 1883 and a Daimler vehicle became Berlin’s first beer truck in 1898. Construction of the “New Malthouse” designed by architect Arthur Rohmer began that same year.
The beer kept flowing amid all the expansion and development of the 3,000-square meter site. The “Pilsator” brand, still available to this day, was introduced in 1908. I’ve never tried it. I heard it was awful stuff. But I’ll give it a try now. (These days it’s brewed by Germany’s most eastern brewery in Frankfurt-Oder. Reviews don’t bode well.)
The Böhmisches Brauhaus became a public limited company in 1910 and merged with the Löwenbrauerei from Hohenschönhausen after the First World War. Production rose to 420,000 hectoliters by 1938. Happy days.
Unfortunately though, they were cut short pretty quickly with the outbreak of the Second World War. The war fucked up everything, including the brewery, which was mostly destroyed. It never brewed another beer again. No wonder it was depressed.
Its cellars were used by the state-run VEB Weingroßkellerei from 1952 to 1992, where wines, Sekt and spirits were stored and bottled. It was the DDR’s biggest wine depot, handling up to 10,000 bottles a day, from Crimean Sekt to Miramar vermouth to the renowned Rosenthaler Kadarka.
Legend had it that Honecker and his SED pals had a wine cellar here in which they use to engage in Sekt orgies. You'd have to listen carefully if you were ever invited to one of those, just so there are no awkward misunderstandings.
I guess the wine, booze and (unconfirmed) Sekt orgies were some consolation for the beleaguered brewery. But the rest of it was used as warehouses for shoes and other boring shite. There was also an electrical substation on the site in 1970s.
The original brewery building served as a sports center from 1951 to 2001. The BSG Empor Brandenburger Tor sports club was established in 1952. They boasted two bowling alleys, an athletics hall, a gym, table tennis, billiards and a sauna (of course).
Part of the complex was turned into a hotel in the late 1990s, while the “New Malthouse” was converted into luxury apartments (of course!) and a conference center by a Hamburg developer between 1999 and 2001. That’s when the sports in the adjacent building came to an end. I’m not sure if one has anything to do with the other.
All that remains of the rest now is the shell of the “Old Malthouse” building. Apparently its façade has to be kept. No doubt the B&L Gruppe will find a way to turn it to its advantage for its “Friedrichshain Höfe” Wohnquartier, a block of around 400 luxury apartments. Because that’s what Berlin needs, more fucking luxury apartments.
All in all, an incongruous end to the unfortunate Böhmisches Brauhaus, though hardly a surprising one. Its neglected inhabitants – an eclectic mix of characters adorning the walls – were cowering in fear of what was coming next. They knew, they knew. Development was taking place at a furious rate around them. It was only a matter of time before it took their place too.

Böhmisches Brauhaus, or “Bohemian Brewery,” which hadn’t brewed a beer since the war. It was named for the type of beer it emulated from Bohemia, not because of its lifestyle. Now deceased unfortunately, killed by mercenaries
for money. It was the second oldest surviving brewery building in Berlin. Used to be a great spot for sunsets on the roof, while its walls were home to a colorful cast of characters.

Friedenstraße 89-93/Pufendorfstraße, 10249 Berlin, Germany.

How to get there
If you want to see the remains, the rubble, the best way to get anywhere in this city is by bike. For lazy people, Platz der Vereinten Nationen is the nearest tram stop (M5, M6 and M8) and Strausberger Platz is the nearest U-Bahnhof (U5 two stops from Alex). Here’s a map so alles klar ist.

Getting in
Just walk up the steps from Friedenstraße or past the hotel from Landsberger Allee, find the fence, and hop over if you want to see destruction workers at work.

When to go
Some time in the past would have been good.

Difficulty rating
10/10. Hard to see something if it's no longer there.

Who to bring
An undertaker. A priest if you believe in that sort of thing.

What to bring
BEER! The brewery's gone so you'll have bring your own. You might want to bring something stronger to help you get over the sight. It ain't pretty.

Demolition workers, nosy passers-by, new neighbors who don't take kindly to parties or anything that made Berlin great in the first place. It's all going downhill. Honecker must be turning in his grave.
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hey guys what do u think , To central for a party?? i mean the sound could disturb?

There's another easier way of getting inside the actual building although Spudnik's recommendation of the fence on Landsberger Allee is the best option for getting onto the property. There's a large hole in the wall that you can just walk in through around the side. Just follow the building around until you find it

we spent nearly two hours trying to get in to this place today....how?!?! We got into one kind of cool room with some pipes and machinery in it, but didn't see any cool graffiti... the larger building seemed impossibly boarded up! Went to the main entrance but couldn't find the open door (or missing steps...) - were we just completely blind?

Did you walk past the hotel from Landsberger Allee and hop the fence there? If you do that you'll see construction work to your left, keep going, walk towards the brewery you should be able to find the open doorway on the right.
Unless it has since been boarded up. I'll check it out next time I'm passing and report back.
Even if it is, though, you should be able to find another way in. See Caleb's suggestion above.

i really dont recommend. neighbors and bulding too dangerous. go elsewhere.

Spudnik, do you have any updates or know if it's possible to get in now?

Been there last week. There are several holes in the walls. Just hop over the fence at NH Hotel.

Hi.I ve been there recently, there was no need to enter the fence from the hotel. moving some meters more in landsberger allee there is a dustroad leading to newly constructed houses. On the right hand the access is totally open to the brauhaus yard

Hey. Me and a friend just visited this place a week ago and we could not find the entry at first. We went into the back yard through the hole in the fence, but there were just lots of junk and no holes/open doors. But then we noticed it was possible to climb through the window just above the main door. There are buckets and planks to help you climb in. Photo: http://grab.by/zbvM
The building itself is kind of boring though :( Sadly it was the only abandoned building we could visit during our 3-day trip to Berlin.

Bottom cellar quite spooky and nice. Bring flashlight! Very damp. UE greetings from Norway.


I visited this place with a friend today, super easy fence entrance on the Pufendorfstraße, @Lachtos entrance is locked up, you'll have to climb 2 small walls. But no chance to get the same pictures as in this article, the place has been locked up in all directions. Bringing a handsaw would be a solution for the wooden panels. don't forget your flashlight, and climbing equipment (rope!) if you ant to visit everything. No top roof access found... a shame..

The diggers are there. Now the end is come. Bye bye old brewery.

Yes, indeed... There is digger at the entrance in Pufendorfstrasse and it looks as if they've started to remove the coppice. They brewery still is open, but you've got to take two entrances to see all of it as a connecting door inside has been bolted down. Many kids playing there this Sunday afternoon.

shredding of bushes and trees continues today

Is it still ok to go there? Say on a sunday like today?

I was there one week ago.
The view from the rooftop is absolutely amazing!

Now, it's an even sadder look then ever before. All trees and bushes around the buildings meanwhile are gone, leaving the naked structure clearly visible. Very nice sight indeed in Berlin grey winter days...

Went today to have a look. No way to get in as there is no hiding from the neighbours. There are appartment buidlings all around plus the big NH Hotel. So everybody can see what you are doing and getting yelled at though it is not even their business! Demolition started as it looks like - roofs collapsed etc.
I guess it is not worth it to go there to try to something. I wished I could have seen it before.

Any time I've been I hopped over the fence at the NH Hotel. They've better things to worry about, like money-paying guests, so I'd be surprised if anyone started yelling at you. You know, let them yell.
I'd be more concerned about the buildings themselves and the condition they're in. Be very very careful.

Between NH Hotel and these recently built appartment houses there is no fence at all. Nobody really cares if you walk on the area. It's a playground for the children of the neighbourhood. There now even is a big break in the brick wall at Landsberger Allee for building machines. And, as Sputnik wrote, the hotel staff never has said anything in nearly ten years I visit the brewery. It's just the huge beer cellars that you wont be able to access. These are used by Sartori Fitness studio in Friedenstraße. You may have noticed the stairs between Hotel and the old building of Neue Mälzerei (malthouse). The huge rounded door is the entrance. Once I found it open and the workers within didn't mind me walking in, but as soon as Mr. Sartori spotted me, I had to leave. These cellars had been used by VEB Weingroßkellerei Berlin (i. e. a winery, also producing drinks such as vermouth) in GDR times. There was a rustic bar inside the complex, one of the very few places open in night time in former East-Berlin (another one was the bar "Riviera", which in this blog here is summarised with "Gesellschaftshaus" in Grünau). So, the wine bar in former Böhmisches Brauhaus was a favourite place where East and West could meet and have hard liquors after long and dry business negotiations. Here, at the "source" of such drinks without any fear of the eastern hosts to run short of supply...

hey I'm living in the house on the other side of this ruin.
Just want to let you know to keep away from here.
I'm looking out of my window right now and see 5 police cars and police men searching for some guys in the builing.
maybe the hotel staff doesn't give a crap about you but the people in the houses do and they WILL call the police.
+ you're annoying as hell sitting on the roof, getting drunk and play loud music.

You mean YOU'LL call the police! Try joining the party next time. Sounds like you could do with letting your hair down a bit...

Hi you from January 30 post. It is so impolite to tell us that we are the crazy ones. How come that you did not catch the ones who did the damage inside and all the graffiti? Or did they? I dont think it is your building. Why interfering with people who like to take pics of ruins and not doing any harm? I do not play loud music nor do I get drunk. So please dont be an asshole. You must be german coz you guys dont have anything to do than interferring in other peoples life in looking through a damn window and bothering the police. They have better things to do like catching bad guys.
I do understand your point though if there are people playing loud music from there in the night or doing really bad things. That is then a good neighbour. But hey, I live in a neighbourhood where they get drunk and loud in their own appartments, and NO POLICE here. Let people have their fun if no harm is done.

Who owns that building now? It seems they will tear it down more and more.

good one. that neighbour should get a job instead of looking out of the window. Bored people getting annoying. If those are only photographers, just let them. No harm done and not their building.
Yikes. People in Germany can be really assholes. Berlin is so damn stupid. But letting homeless people staying in buildings or foreigners is okay. I dont understand that at all. Berlin is fucked up anyways. So why is this neighbour calling up the police whenever he sees something? Get a life man!

Well. I am only telling what I encountered. That guy from NH Hotel really yelled at us. So they do care and I dont know why. If kids playing there nobody yells? I dont understand those crazy people putting their nose where they should not.
And yes, if someone yells to get out of there, I would think that they will call police if I dont. And I dont need that. Ruins life :-)

Another of the abandoned buildings on our list due to this brilliant wee blog. We really didn't think we would get into this as the 5/10 rating, but it was close so we decided to visit anyway (after the zombie hospital). We went in though the back of the building beside the church, you could literally walk straight in as the fences are not connected properly, no climbing, nothing. We walked around to the other side, realised most of the wall from the entrance near the trams was totally knocked down, so you could literally walk straight in. There was kids playing football in the grounds, and kids on the roof throwing things. We also met an american couple before we went inside and they were here to explore and photograph. So we ventured in, we got here about half 4, and ended up at the roof at sunset which was beautiful, but we didn't get long to explore as the dark was coming in and we didn't want to get stuck in an abandoned brewery in the pitch black, when the stairs have no railings. So we came back the next day with more people (from our group) and with the light on our side, easy enough to walk on in again. We met another girl who was wanting to explore so we brought her with our group, (you need to go in with people and look after each other as a lot of floors are ready to fall though, and filled with damp) we ventured the whole way though the brewery this time with no issue and no nosey neighbours. The ease of access was 1/10 but keep a seriously eye out for holes and damp flooring, kids playing around in it has made it a serious hazard. Worth a trip for the artwork & view though!

Thanks for your report Sasha! With "zombie hospital" you mean the "waldhaus buch"? How's the actual situation there....did you manage to get in?

Zombie Hospital on this wee blog is 'Säuglings-Kinderkrankenhaus' the children hospital. We got up here and walked around the building first analysing how to get in, hiding our cameras because its on a busy road and I had read about people being funny about tourists, we walked down into a parked area, climbed over some bins over the small green fence and got in without being seen. All the doors are open in it and you can easily walk through, although the original building is in a really bad state. We a few rooms in and there was wooden planks scattered on the floor and we could just see big holes through it so decided not to go any further. Met loads of other people here taking photos too :)

they are taking it down right now. It's just a pile of rubble and in a few days or weeks, there will be nothing left.
Gladly I went there last year.

FUCK! I wanted to go these days!!!
Just read it :( ONLY the tower is still there..


Some news from this place

Damn :/
Tomorrow I gonna hit Berlin and was planning to visit is abandoned brewery...to late :(

Hallo, ich war bereits da letztes Jahr, danke für den Tipp. Da ich da wohne, werde ich mich morgen nochmal selbst davon überzeugen, aber laut meiner Mutter, die heute da war, ist wohl quasi alles in Schutt und Asche davon - außer die Keller. Ich mache mir aber selbst nochmal ein Bild davon.

Liebe aber traurige Grüße :(

Alles (fast Alles) ist schon wie deine Mutter gesagt hat, Schutt und Asche. Eine Schande.
Danke für den Kommentar. LG

I've been there last week, and this place doesn't exist anymore unfortunately... Instead, there are building some kind of housing project. RIP.

Thank you for this and the whole page. I grew up here and know many of those places.. to have your stories perpetuating with them is very touching. thank you

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