Behind Bars: Stairs Bar, Berlin

10 Questions to Konstantin Hennrich

One of the most exciting new bars in Germany’s capital 2017 is undoubtedly the Stairs Bar in Wilmersdorf: Here, Konstantin Hennrich, who previously worked in Friedrichshain’s “Chapel”, has made his dream of having a bar of his own come true. What is the idea of ​​his bar? What should one consider when starting a bar business? And of course: what should you try when at “Stairs”? Thomas Henry goes behind bars.

1. Konstantin, “Stairs” is your onw bar. Was the transition from being an employee to being self-employed a difficult one?
It actually was not that difficult, what comes along with it is the real challenge. You need to be well informed about the procedures, who you need to talk to at the local council for example. Or if there are certain conditions at the location you need to take care of. Soundproofing is a good example.

2. What did you learn during that process?
I would never again apply for a new license. Your only concern is to comply with all sorts of regulations. Better to take over an existing lease, which is licensed already. This makes everything much easier.

3. Your bar is located on the ground floor, yet it is called Stairs Bar.
The name came up while designing the space. We talked to our architect about the individual elements in the bar. I did not want our guests to be standing right in front of the counter after ringing the bell. Therefore you climb a few stairs first (one enters, goes up a small staircase on the left, sees the bar and then goes down again). That’s how the name came about. I thought about the name for quite some time, whether it fits or not. But with the logo and the idea to also have a gradation of the drinks on the menu, I was convinced.

4. Desribe your bar in three words.
Cozy, elegant, different.

5. From your perspecitve: What makes a bar not just good, but excellent?
When the people behind the counter actually know what they are doing. I don’t need them to explain new infusions, but rather keeping track of everything and deal with guests properly. How is the light and the music? For me, the atmosphere and the people who work there are more important than the drinks.

6. How do you inspire yourself?
I talk a lot to colleagues, read about topics that interest me, go to workshops and visit other bars to see what is going on there.

7. Which drink with Thomas Henry do you currently recommend?
Definitely our new “Lemon Milkpunch“, topped with a shot of Thomas Henry Coffee Tonic.

8. For some drinks you use a very special ingredient, namely chickpea water. Why?
We were looking for alternatives to protein and came across it. Chickpea water, aqua faba, has long been used in the kitchen to make foams. It is much more efficient and makes a better foam. Also, it is slightly salty, which additionally supports the drinks.

8. The most absurd bar experience you can remember?
Difficult question … a guest starting a fight with a bartender and loses. And guests who take the elevator up to the rooftop bar on the sixth floor and then walk down to the third floor to queue up.

Thank you, Konstantin.

Stairs Bar
Uhlandstrasse 133
10717 Berlin