Johann Courgibet wanted to create a little corner of Paris in Berlin when he opened his Bar Saint Jean, named after the owner’s home town in the Lorraine valley. While the space might be little, the personality is big, thanks to Johann himself, who wants to introduce the Germans to the ethos of French socialising as much as the wine list.
The atmosphere has been helped in no small part by young architect Thilo Reich. Driven by spatial and budgetary constraints, he has centred the action around Johann, with a large bar made from reclaimed boat planks stacked in an imaginatively contoured console from which the owner can hold court. Stripped back, muted and unfussy, Bar Saint Jean has a conspiratorial air thanks to the dim lighting; the inside of the shades are corroded to create a rusty quality to the light. We also love the twisted twisted ladder, mounted behind the bar and beautifully lit from below, seemingly by the large selection of spirits which are the bar’s speciality.