Sunday 6th October 2013
This is a well-known restaurant and bar that is right outside Savignyplatz S-Bahn station, which itself is not very far from Zoologischer Garten station, once the main station of West Berlin. It is also just a few minutes from Kurfürstendamm, the main source of retail therapy in Berlin.
It has been around for over a hundred years and is named after Heinrich Zille (1858-1929) who was an illustrator in many newspapers and magazines. He work was popular and often humorous or satirical, sometimes both. He drew in a rather folksy style and his subject was often the ordinary working man. He lived in Charlottenburg so I guess that's where the inspiration for the pub's name came from.
There is some outside seating and on entering you are greeted with a long traditional bar on the left side of the room and a raised area of seating on the right opposite it.
There are plenty of barstools and small tall tables and this is where I settled. The restaurant gets much wider beyond the bar area and there is a lot of room. At this point there is a British telephone box painted in the wrong shade of red. Beyond the large room at the back is a pleasant-looking garden area. I admired the lovely wooden bar-back but, sadly it is not an original fixture, being acquired from an old pharmacist's shop.
I asked the waiter what house beers were available and he said they had Dunkel, unfiltered light and filtered light.
I ordered the first two and had the dark beer first. I thought it was very good and had a nice dark malt flavour that seemed just right. The unfiltered Pils was just a little too sweet and it was only slightly cloudy. It was acceptable without being outstanding in any way.
I also asked where the beers were brewed and the waiter pointed to the floor and said they were from the cellar. I have no doubt that is where they come from, but I'm sure that is not where they were brewed!
There is no substantiation for this, but I believe they may come from the Uckermärker Brauerei of Chorin near Golzow, around 60 kms north of Berlin.
The pub has some nice old paintings on the walls and there is a stained-glass ceiling that lets in a lot of light. It is in the Art Deco style. The food menu is very extensive and has a lot of Berlin specialities.
The pub promotes itself as family-friendly and regrettably that day I saw the downside of this. Let me say that I have no problem with kids being in the pub for a meal, it was just that these were so ill-disciplined. A small boy was allowed to run continuously around the pub and when he nearly tripped up a waitress the father did absolutely nothing. I could see that they were what, 25 years ago, would have been called "yuppies". They emanated an arrogance that indicated they thought they were the centre of the universe and that everything revolved around them.
That apart, the pub is attractive and you can't get the beers anywhere else in Berlin, as far as I know. So, it is well worth visiting, but try to avoid Sunday afternoons and school holidays.
Zillemarkt, Bleibtreustrasse 49a, Berlin-Charlottenburg. Tel: 30 881 7040
Open: Monday-Friday 12.00-24.00; Saturday-Sunday / Holidays 10.00-24.00
Food is said to be available to 24.00 but I would doubt your chance of getting any at 23.50 on a Sunday night!
As mentioned the pub is by Savignyplatz S-Bahn station which is served by lines S5 and S7.
If you come out of the main exit, turn left and then left again into Bleibtreustrasse. Go under the railway bridge and you'll find the pub on the left.
The crafty way is to exit via the lift half-way along the platform. This goes directly to Bleibtreustrasse. From the lift, turn right and the pub is on the other side of the road.