May 11, 2018
Riva is a chic cocktail bar in ultra-hip Mitte, cordoned off with thick dark curtains and named, rather oddly, after the 1970s Italian football star Luigi Riva. (Maybe there just wasn’t call for a bar called Beckenbauer in Berlin.) Sporting that now familiar mix of modernist-retro that much of Berlin favours, it’s set under a railway arch, which accounts for its slightly odd, tunnel-like appearance, with a curved ceiling painted in bright red, yellow and purple squares and circles, and a low lit, slightly moody vibe (it’s probably not the best place to be if you get a little claustrophobic). The oval-shaped centrepiece bar is all designer glitz and perfect for perching yourself at since you get to check out the rest of the patrons, but leather benches run along the walls and give a good view too. There’s outdoor seating out back, where you can enjoy the warmer weather (or, if you’re as hardy as most Germans, the cooler weather, too). The bar staff are generally friendly and the place attracts a laid back, mixed clientele, though usually from the trendier set, attracted by the top quality cocktails. It’s fairly laid back through the week, it gets busier at weekends, when you may find it a bit of a crush. The place has been known to host cultural events, which attract an artier crowd, so worth seeing if there’s anything on the calendar. Riva’s picture hangs behind the bar meanwhile, begging the question: have the models in here come to gaze at the Italian Stallion or to sample the exotic selection of martinis and champagne cocktails? You decide.