Sometimes we don’t want a speciality cocktail or cool natural wine, but simply a great atmosphere with some tasty, affordable beers in a charming interior – and Zosse is exactly the place for that! Located in a former Blacksmith / Farrier’s workshop in Rixdorf and lovingly restored to keep its historic features, this bar will steal your heart with its real cosiness. We sent owner Paul Seifert some questions about how he restored it.
You have a wonderful location in a former Farrier’s workshop in Rixdorf, which we adore. Were you always keen to start a bar in a rare place with such character or was it pure chance?
The plan to become independent in the gastronomy sector was already there….but it was only with the discovery of this place gave the impulse to really try it.
The great atmosphere could already be felt when everything was still very dilapidated!
What was the place like when you got it?
The building was pretty run down. Ceiling, windows, floors, all the building services had to be repaired and renewed, toilets installed, garages rebuilt and the courtyard restored. It was a lot of work.
What parts of the character did you decide to keep as features?
The atmosphere of the former blacksmith’s shop was the main vision to be re-created. This includes the cobblestone floor that came to light under the concrete floor, as well as the fireplace behind the counter with extractor hoods and blow bellows.
In addition, the lamp, which can be seen on a photo of the blacksmith’s shop, should get its place again at the old place. A small lamp shop in Charlottenburg rebuilt the lamp from it’s old elements just for us, which we love.
And how did you transform the rest of it? For example, tell us about the cool smoking room?
I had the idea for the smoking room at night while watching the movie “Dead men don’t wear plaid” with Steve Martin. From then on I tried to collect furniture and decoration to make the room similar to the office of a private detective. But I’m not quite finished with it yet…
How do you feel the locals in Rixdorf differ from the rest of Neukölln?
The old-established Rixdorfer who live in the umpteenth generation in the old Bohemian houses make a great effort to look after their “village”, care for the community and take care of the preservation of the old farms.
Some of them are often our guests, which we see as confirmation that we are a good match for Rixdorf.
There are a lot of natural wine bars, speciality cocktail spots and craft beer bars popping up around the city now, and what we like a lot about Zosse is that whilst you offer nice beers and cocktails, the focus is more on the atmosphere than on the specialist drinks. Was this intentional, or just the sort of menu you like to see when you personally enter a bar?
We will further increase our competence in cocktails, wine and beer, but essentially it is important to me that both quality and price match. Our products are of high quality, but without being so expensive that people are excluded from a visit to Zosse. So I would say it was intentional to create such a place like that.
We hear you’ll be doing food soon too, what sort of things can customers expect?
For me personally a fine cheese or ham platter, good bread and two or three glasses of wine are enough to make the world seem fine! If you can then have a few antipasti, nothing stands in the way of a nice evening with friends. We’ll try to put that into practice soon.
What were the biggest challenges of launching Zosse?
Due to the construction boom in Berlin, craftsmen are in short supply and cost-intensive, so most of the work had to be done by them, slower than expected. This completely exceeded the scheduled schedule, but schedules are always a funny thing…
Where do you like to eat and drink when not working at Zosse?
I seldom find the time to enjoy good food elsewhere and if so, then mostly in the direct vicinity of Zosse.
Complete the following sentence: For me, Berlin is…
…the place to have ideas