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A true survivor. Few places in Berlin have endured so many historical events during the 20th century as Clärchens Ballhaus: two World Wars, the division of the city, the fall of the Wall and the following gentrification of Mitte (neighborhood). This Berliner institution, currently a dance hall/restaurant/biergarten combo, is certainly a must-go when visiting Berlin!
Photo from Clärchens Facebook Feed.
Clärchens Ballhaus is impossible to go unnoticed when walking along Augustraße in Mitte. Its abandoned-looking building is located on a trendy corner, an area full of art galleries and design shops. Today, the decaying structure has a green front garden (in the summer), where the street-front building once stood. The front part was destroyed by the allied bombing during the Second World War. The back part, nonetheless, is one of the most iconic buildings in Mitte. Anyone who gets inside this place, is fascinated by its atmosphere. It immediately takes us back in time to the early 20th century. (For more on Berlin’s Golden 20’s, check out this other article we wrote).
Opened as a ballroom in 1913, right before the beginning of the First World War, in a Wilhelminian era building constructed in the late 1800’s, the habitués soon started calling it “Little Claire Ballroom”, referring to Claire, the wife of its founder, Fritz Bühler. She was better known by her diminutive nickname “Clärchen”. From that time, you can still admire the front sign, designed by the New Objectivity master Otto Dix.
Photo from Clärchen’s Facebook Feed.
The upstairs Spiegelsaal (Mirrored Ballroom) is surely the main attraction of Clärchens. Its high baroque ceilings and chandeliers, the huge cracked mirrors and the scratched paint walls, that were wisely left unchanged, expose all the bustle from the past. It remained closed for more than 50 years as the building was badly damaged during the Second World War.
Photo from Clärchens Facebook Feed.
Even though the dance hall was located in East Berlin, the place was also known by West Germans and became a meeting point between East and West Germans in Cold War times. Since 2005, when the Spiegelsaal was repaired and reopened to the public, Clärchens is a venue for dancing soirées, live music performances, food and drinks.
Open daily, it definitely figures in every Berlin tourist guide, but you will also find native Berliners there, of all ages! So forget about the sometimes rough door-policy of certain bars and clubs in the city: everyone is welcome at Clärchens, which makes it one of the most inclusive places in Berlin!
The 100 (and counting!) years old ballroom survived all the 20th century turmoils and recently served as location for the Quentin Tarantino movie Inglorious Basterds and hosted a party promoted by the royal British couple William and Kate.
Besides the Spiegelsaal, the ground floor of the building houses the Ballsaal (Ballroom), where the dance events happen as well as the restaurant. The Ballsaal offers dancing lessons before the balls, that take place on the dance floor, surrounded by the tables, concerts and other live performances. It is the ideal place for meeting new people, since strangers ask each other to have a dance, induced by some alcohol consumption (hopefully!). Tango, swing and salsa are the main thematic evenings from Monday to Wednesday, when the entrance is free! On the weekends, you will find live bands performing on the stage and the very popular matinée Dancing Tea on Sundays.
Photo from Clärchen’s Facebook Feed.
The kitchen is open from 12:30 am until 10:30 pm. Food is also served in the very green Biergarten, at the entrance of the building, decorated with charming lightbulbs, which is simply perfect for hot summer evenings. The menu, served by old-style waiters, centers around German cuisine staples like Schnitzel, sausages and quite honest Neapolitan pizzas.
When passing by the hip Auguststrasse, add a touch of nostalgia on your stroll and don’t miss this Berliner nightlife icon. Make sure you get inside (there’s even a hidden biergarten in the back and a fun little bar area once you walk across the Spiegelsaal on the first floor!!). You will be delighted by its timeless and decadent charm!
The secret backyard biergarten area. Photo from Clärchen’s Facebook Feed.
*This Article was written by Domingos Lepores and edited by Tulio Edreira.
Located just in front of the pleasant Böhmischer Platz in Neukölln, the cheerful Australian-German duo Katie and Flo was already serving breakfast and selling coffee from their vintage food truck at Markthalle Neun and at Bite Club. We are excited to have their mouthwatering menus in a permanent address!
Photo by Domingos Lepores.
The yummie vegetarian daily menu consists of five dishes that changes frequently. It includes breakfast/brunch classics such as eggs Benedict and pancakes. Their idea is to serve breakfast dishes with an Australian touch, comprising traditional meals with global culinary influences. Having had the pleasure of eating their food from their food truck days we have to say, not only are the dishes great in concept but they also deliver in flavor. Makes us happy every time!
From the Future Breakfast’s Website
The Future Breakfast also offers vegan options like the cocoa-buckwheat granola with rhubarb compote and coconut yoghurt or the banana bread, the vanilla shortbread and the nuts and seeds gluten-free biscuits.
Café staples like espresso, flat white and iced latte are made with coffee roasted by the rockstars of The Barn. For the hot summer days, the homemade and organic Apfelschorle (apple juice with sparkling water) or the fresh lemonade are cooling good pick-me-up options.
As if the delicious menu and the well executed drinks were not enough, the café is set up with cozy minimalistic interiors, with wooden tables and chairs, leafy greens plants and a pastel touch on the walls. An overall charming experience. So don’t skip your breakfast: The future is now! Or something like that…
Photo by Domingos Lepores.
This article was written by Domingos Lepores and edited by Tulio Edreira.
It feels like summer has arrived and Berlin does summer vibes like no other! Do not listen to the grumpies…it does get sunny and warm! We love soaking up the sun, drinking a few cocktails, people watching and feeling the great city vibes. And we are happy that we can pick and choose from quite a few great rooftop bar options (depending on our mood and company). We love them all. Whether you like it fancy, hipstery, cheesy or cool, we have an option for you.
The best rooftop bars in Berlin have one thing in common, though. They all provide great views over Berlin. And nothing beats that!
Good to know:
Most bars can be visited in the afternoon and in the evening. For chill vibes go in the afternoon and during the week. For party vibes, go in the evening and on weekends. Soundowners tend to be busy!
Some bars do charge $$ after a certain time of day, so check their websites for details.
And here are our favorites (in no particular order):
Located on top of a cool hotel in the heart of Mitte, Amano Rooftop Bar is a magnet for the Berlin Mitte hip crowd. The rooftop area is stylish and comfortable and the space has an overall loungy vibe. Great views over Mitte rooftops.
Klunkerkranich used to be a secret a few years back. It is located on top of a mall’s parking lot in Neukölln. This rooftop bar has some of the most iconic views over Berlin. Vibes are casual and fun. It can get overrun with a younger hipster-toursim crowd at times. Come here during the week and before sunset for more of a “local” and chill experience.
Overlooking Bebelplatz in Mitte, this fancy rooftop bar has stunning views of some of the most engimatic Berlin landmarks. The crowd is mixed and tends to dress up a little more than the other options. This is a perfect rooftop bar for a special occasion or to bring that 30-year-old+ friend from out of town.
Deck5 is the Prenzlauerberg version of Klunkerkranich in many ways. It occupies the rooftop of a small shopping mall’s parking lot. This one, however, along Schönhauser Allee. Unlike Klunkerkranich, Deck5’s crowd is quite mixed and less hipster. Parts of it feel a little beachy (with sand on the floor). Take your shoes off, grab a drink and enjoy the sunset with a view!
Overlooking Ku’damm, Berlin’s main shopping artery, Café Kanzler was taken over by one of Berlin’s most respected coffee roasteries. That’s right, this is not a typical “bar”…it’s a “coffee bar”. Get it? Grab a coffee and a delicious pastry and hang out at their very atmospheric outdoor seeting area.
Overlooking Tiergarten and the Berlin Zoo (hence the name), Monkey Bar has, by now, become a West Berlin must-stop. The space is beautifully designed. The crowd is a mix of tourists, hotel guests (the bar is located on top of Hotel 25), and occasional locals of all ages. Come here on “off peak” hours for a better overall experience.
Best German Food (savory) and the Berliner restaurants to try them.
On this article about traditional German Food and restaurants in Berlin, we will cover some of the most iconic “German/Austrian dishes” and the best restaurants to get them. Mind you, “German food” has evolved and changed over time. Berlin’s multi-cultural makeup ads a complete new twist to it. In this article we will only focus on what is regarded as “old school” and traditional Germanic food items. We also wrote an article about typical Berliner foods, in case you are interested.
Let’s start by explaining what the dishes are. Below each dish you will find at least one suggestion of a good restaurant to get them. We hope you enjoy them and as always, please feel free to write us with your favorites. We promise to try them!
Schnitzel – The most famous version (and our favorite) is the Wiener Schnitzel
Wiener Schnitzel is a dish consisting of a thin slice of veal (or sometimes pork) that is breaded, fried, and garnished.
Need to know: There are 3 main groups of sausage types that can be differentiated by the way they are cooked. They can be scalded, smoked or cooked/grilled. For more on German sausages, check our this article on the 6 most famous German sausage varieties.
When in doubt on whether to order Blutwurst (blood sausage), Frankfurter (Bockwurst), Knackwurst, Leberwurst, Leberkäse, Weisswurst (white sausage), etc…we advise trying them all (make sure to go in a group!).
*Also, not properly a restaurant, “The Sausage Man Never Sleeps” has been sourcing some of the best sausages in town. You can find their sausages at most of the restaurants on this list and at Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg. You can alaso order their sausages online.
Photo from Kumpel & Keule’s Facebook Feed.
Maultaschen – Swabian style “ravioli”
Pasta dough which encloses a filling traditionally made of minced meat, smoked meat, spinach, bread crumbs and onions and flavoured with various herbs and spices.
Spätzle – Traditional Egg Noodles (often Käsespätzle – with cheese)
The Italians aren’t the only pasta-lovers. The German answer to pasta is Spätzle. Compared to Italian pasta, the Spätzle dough is moister and softer. A crowd pleaser, these “German noodles” are often served with tons of cheese and various toppings.
It is basically the end of the pig’s leg, just above the ankle and below the ham portion. A variation of this dish is known in parts of Germany as Eisbein, in which the ham hock is pickled and usually slightly boiled. Don’t go for the Eisbein, get the Schweinshaxe!
Photo By Anagoria – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47261094
Goulash – Paprika spiced stew/soup of meat
Although Goulash originated from Hungary, it is quite popular in Germany. It is a stew/soup of meat and vegetables, seasoned with paprika and other spices. It is quite rich and comforting! We love it when it is served with Spätlze!
We all know that the coffee game is strong in Berlin. The third wave craft coffee scene doesn’t stop developing, with newcomers and established cafés opening second, third addresses – and even their own roasteries.
Coffee lovers are certainly delighted with the variety of good quality places they can find in Berlin. But what about tea lovers? Indeed, the tea scene is not as big, but there are some tea houses and tea shops that are definitely worth a visit if you are “a tea kind of person”.
It does not matter if you like the British tradition or the Japanese tea ceremony. There is always a pleasant tea house waiting for you in Berlin. We selected five of the best tea houses and shops in town. Enjoy!
It is definitely the paradise on Earth for herbal tea lovers! At this Greek tea house and shop, you will find a great selection of herbal and rare mountain tea options. We dare say that this is the best place to enjoy tea in Berlin!
The seating area is small, but the back room is really cozy. It is a perfect spot to spend an afternoon reading over tea – and enjoy yummy sweets.
If this was not enough, all the products, including honey and olive oil from the Peloponnese, are organic. Plus, the owner will give you precise advise about the ideal mix of herbs according to your taste. And, on top of that, the prices are bellow average for this hip area of Kreuzberg.
Forget about the hip Asian restaurants in Neukölln and don’t be fooled by the unattractive building façade: this little Korean tea house and restaurant is a hidden gem in the southern neighborhood of Friedenau.
The cozy wooden interiors, full of small details, are perfect to enjoy an afternoon green tea, solo, or after a Bibimbap or an Udon. Dabangg offers green tea from the Hadong region in South Korea, harvested according to the first rain showers in May. The leaves can be infused up to three times. Tip: the second time is considered the most tasteful. There are also floral teas, prepared with lotus, mulberry or kaki flower and the classic ginger-cinnamon-honey tea.
The green tea can be also served cold, which is an ideal pick for a hot summer day in their small outdoor terrace.
Located in a quiet courtyard on the busy Rosenthaler Strasse in Mitte, this Vietnamese tea house and restaurant serves great teas in cute clay pots. Among their specialties, you will find exotic flower tea options, like blue butterfly, lotus and chrysanthemums, that can be mixed with rice milk, and “Viet tea staples”, like ginger or jasmine tea.
The high ceilings, the vegetation and the hanging paper lamps create a romantic, yet fancy-ish atmosphere, which is perfect for a Bumble/Tinder date or a chill break after a shopping stroll around the neighboring Torstrasse.
Sencha, genmaicha, yamecha, matcha… If you are into Japanese green tea, Mamesha is your place! This Japanese café and shop in Mitte is open from 12h until 19h, except on Sundays, and also serves bento-style small dishes until 15h.
After picking a favorite green tea, we often go for a delicious Japanese pastry, like the matcha cheesecake, the rice balls or the mochi ice cream.
Their iced matcha latte is to die for and is a must when the weather asks for it!
Following the British tearoom tradition, the thatched cottage located in the beautiful English Garden in Tiergarten, close to the Victory Column, serves afternoon tea with a variety of small cakes, light snacks and meals.
Besides the indoor seating room, the large terraced area turns into a charming Biergarten during the summer. We highly recommend booking a table if you are in a group, since they host a lot of events. Unfortunately, the Teehaus is closed during the cold season, from November until beginning of March.
With two shops, in Charlottenburg and in Mitte, Paper & Tea is not only about beautifully packaged high quality tea presented in a minimalistic atmosphere. They offer a great selection of tea from all over the world, including rooibos, mate, matcha and chai blends. They also have a huge choice of tea accessories and fine stationary goods.
And to help you make the best choice, the teas are displayed with open samples, so you can see and smell them!
The tea assortment of this shop in Charlottenburg is for sure one of the biggest in Berlin. They offer all kinds of Asian tea, from Japan, China and India (check their impressive list here!), stored in beautiful metallic canisters, and also lovely tea accessories, like porcelain tea cups and kettles.
And, as the name implies, you can also enjoy one of their infinite options in one of the tables spread around the shop.
Following the motto “drink global, brew local”, this small shop, hidden in a courtyard at Paul-Lincke-Ufer in Kreuzberg, makes amazing cold, fresh and raw tea beverages, including kombucha in three different flavors.
They are only open from Thursday to Saturday, between 12h and 18h, but you can find their products in other shops, organic groceries and cafés throughout Berlin. Check their “Where to find” interactive map here.
First, a disclaimer: This is a list of my favorite restaurants in Berlin right now. I am sure there are a million other great restaurants that are worth a visit. My goal with this article is to give you a shortlist of where I like to eat these days. These restaurants have proven to deliver delicious food and satisfying experience, CONSISTENTLY. Yes, chefs and staff may have bad days, but I guarantee that these places have way more amazing days than otherwise.
You may be disappointed, as I am not going to tell you about the *newest* restaurants in Berlin. Most of the places I am recommending have been around for a while. I catch myself going back and that, I think, is a good sign.
I want to personally give you solid options that I truly love and are here to stay (I certainly hope so). Take it as a recommendation between friends. I have also mostly selected restaurants that are not going to break your bank. They range from my trusted Turkish joint, where you can eat for 10 bucks to my favorite mid-range restaurants, where you can get an amazing dinner for around 60-70 Euros.
If you are looking for fine dining options, check out this article I wrote just about that.
Over the past few months, I have revisited all of them to ensure their food and service are still great. And they are.
**With the exception of Doyum I recommend you make reservations to all of them. Make sure to visit their website for opening hours/dates.
My go-to place for real Turkish food on a hidden corner near scruffy Kottbusser Tor. NEVER DISAPPOINTS. I often go simple here with an Adana Kebab and a Kunefe for dessert. That’s all I will ever need to be happy.
Photo by our friends from Berlin Food Stories (www.berlinfoodstories.com)
Cool, amazing, cheap, creative, diverse, unforgettable… All these adjectives can certainly be used to qualify how vibrant and exciting a visit or a long stay in Berlin can be. The German capital has countless attractions, sights and landmarks to keep you busy any time of the year.
However, like in every big city, some places can be real money-greedy lures and worth skipping. Let’s be honest: they do not deserve even a peek!
So, if you want to take the best of your “Berlin experience”, we selected some of the touristic places you can avoid while visiting our lovely city. We also propose at least one trap-free alternative for each one of them. Here are Berlin’s tourist traps and how to avoid them!
Taking a selfie at Checkpoint Charlie.
Checkpoint Charlie takes the cake as the mother-of-all-tourist-traps! Today, everything about this historical site is fake: the guardhouse standing there is a replica, the soldiers wearing U.S. Army uniform are actors and even the picture of the so-called Charlie officer is a trickery. ALSO…for the record…the name of the checkpoint (the real one that no longer exists) used by foreigners and diplomats during the Cold War era, was taken from the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha for A, Bravo for B, Charlie for C…) and not from a soldier whose name was Charlie!
None of the original structures at Checkpoint Charlie remain. This Disneyland-ish place is just a selfie factory, surrounded by cheap street food vendors and souvenir stalls. In case you want to see the original guardhouse, it is exhibited at the Allied Museum, in the southwestern neighborhood of Dahlem. You will realize that the reality was way less charming than it looks today…
Buying fake pieces of the Berlin Wall and military Soviet caps.
Is it possible to believe that, nearly 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, small parts of it can be sold as a relic? No, the answer is definitely no! Don’t be bamboozled: the piece of concrete they try to sell you was probably taken from one of the many construction sites in Berlin!
And why buy a fake fur Soviet ushanka if you can take home a genuine article designed and made in Berlin? For more creative and original ideas, browse through our some cool Berlin souvenir ideas.
Picture from Of Berlin’s Website (https://www.ofberlin.com/en)
Searching for the best skyline view atop the TV Tower.
The view from the top of the highest structure in the Berlin seems to be perfect place to have a panoramic view of the city, right? But it is not. If you are up top, you will miss one of the most emblematic constructions in Berlin, with its beloved retrofuturistic “disco ball”: The TV Tower itself!
To admire the skyline of Berlin and avoid waiting in the long queues to have access to the observation deck of the TV Tower, head up to the Panorama Terrace at the neighboring Park Inn hotel. Located on the 40th floor of the building, which is one of the highest skyscrapers in Berlin, the panorama terrace is the closest you can get to the TV Tower! Also, check out more options on places to see Berlin from above.
View from the Victory Column. Photo Credit: Flavio Edreira Photography
Browsing through the East Side Gallery.
Along the Spree river, the 1.3 Km stretch of the original Berlin Wall is the world’s longest open-air gallery. Even though the mix of art and history is still impressive, the more than 100 “freedom thematic” murals are far from what we would consider edgy street art. But if you do decide to visit it, make sure to explore “the back” of the Wall, facing the river. There are quite a few interesting open-air exhibits hapenning throughout the year.
For more interesting street art, go to the Revaler Strasse/Urban Spree area. It is just a 10 minute-walk from the East Side Gallery and you will also be able to enjoy a cool skyline view of the city center from the Warschauer Brücke on your way there! If you are into street art, check out the many articles we wrote covering the subject!
One of the only walls worth visiting at East Side Gallery.
Shopping for trinkets at the flea market at Mauerpark.
We love a Sunday stroll at Mauerpark, blending Berlin Wall monument, public hangout and karaoke shows. But the weekly flea market does not deserve your attention. All you will find are pricey furniture/trinkets and East Germany memorabilia offered along with counterfeit phone chargers…
Just skip it. And before or after your Mauerpark exploration, head to the flea market at Arkonaplatz. Located 1 Km away from Mauerpark, on the border of Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg, the sellers offer vintage furniture and artworks from local artists and designers, with more affordable prices. The market is open every Sunday from 10 to 16h.
Fleamarket at Arkonaplatz, a better alternative to the Mauerpark fair. Picture from Arkonaplatz Trödelmarkt’s website.
From the last weekend of November until end of December, Berlin offers more than 60 Christmas markets, spread all over the city. So there is no reason to visit the Christmas market at Alexanderplatz, with its crowded alleys, overpriced mulled wine and craftwork of doubtful taste.
If you want to enjoy a popular and authentic Christmas market atmosphere, pay a visit to the one located at Richardplatz in Neukölln (only during the first weekend of Advent) or venture out to the one in the old town in Spandau with its traditional small village vibe!
Spandau Christmas Market. Photo by Domingos Lepores.
We all agree that having a row of shops in a covered area makes shopping easier when the weather outside is “moody”. On the other hand, we also know that we cannot experience real life inside a shopping mall.
All the high street fashion brands present on the two main shopping malls in Berlin also have shops at Ku’damm, the City West shopping mile, which is, in our opinion, a more pleasant shopping alternative. And if you really like a shopping mall ambiance, next to Ku’damm, the “concept mall” Bikini Berlin will provide you with a more “Berliner shopping experience”.
Photo from Bikini’s Website.
Taking one of the City bus tours.
The hop on, hop off tour buses are very convenient and let you easily discover the most famous landmarks of any city. But in Berlin they are unnecessary: regular bus lines, like the 100 and the 200 pass through the most famous sights of the German capital. On the double-decker public buses – without taped or live guides – you will admire Unter den Linden, the Museum Island, the Brandenburger Tor, the borders of Tiergarten, Ku’damm, the Zoo and City West.
Plus, you will save money, since the regular bus ticket is five times cheaper than a ride on a city bus tour!
At first sight, you may find that a museum dedicated to the most famous Berliner street food is an amazing idea. But think twice: why would you go to a museum if you can have an authentic Currywurst tasting experience in one of the most emblematic luncheonettes in Berlin, the Konnopke’s Imbiss.
The location, beneath the rail tracks of the U-Bahn station Eberswalder Strasse, in Prenzlauer Berg, is the perfect spot to enjoy the cult snack: a curry-flavored sausage, served with French fries and a bread roll. And don’t forget to put mayo on your fries if you want to look like a local!
Konnopke’s is a Berlin institution. Photo from Konnopke’s website.
Another legendary Berliner creation, the Döner Kepab is a Turkish bread filled with grilled meat and salad. It is certainly the food to have after a fun night out. Almost every busy corner in Berlin has a Döner stand, but Mustafa’s got the reputation of being the best one for reasons nobody can explain!
At any time of the day, there is always a queue of tourists in front of this ultra-famous stall, facing the U-Bahn station Mehringdamm, in Kreuzberg. For a late night snack, head to Doyum (at Kottbusser Tor) and avoid excessive waiting time. The restaurant and the take away parlor are open late.
Photo from BerlinFoodStories.com
Going for a beer on Simon-Dach-Strasse.
Friedrichshain is one of the most bohemian neighborhoods in Berlin and Simon-Dach-Strasse gathers hordes of tourists looking for fun and cheap beer. We have nothing against people willing to have fun and spending little money (we also do it!), but the establishments on Simon-Dach-Strasse are often overrated and overpriced.
For a more local experience check out our selection of cool spots around the nearby Boxhagenerplatz and avoid paying more for less!
Any time of the day, you will find people waiting for a free spot in one of the banquettes at this Vietnamese restaurant in Mitte. It seems that its main attraction is tourist people watching (locals don’t go there!), since the food itself is just okay and the prices are above average, even for this hip area of Mitte, on Alte Schönhauser Strasse.
Right around the corner, we prefer Qua Phe, for more authentic and inspired Vietnamese dishes. And if you are really into people watching, walk towards Rosenthaler Platz and queue for a table at the Thai/Indonesian bar and restaurant Transit. The tapas-style dishes are good – and cheap at least!
Queue in front of Monsieur Vuong in Mitte. Photo by Domingos Lepores.
Your night highlight at Watergate will certainly be the view of the Spree river from the dance floor. But is that why you are going out? The nightlife options in Berlin are infinite, so there is no reason to queue – on purpose – for hours to get into Watergate, pay for expensive cocktails and dance to tacky tech-house if you can have a techno blast at the legendary Tresor or at the world renowned Berghain.
Photo from Tresor’s Website.
Article written by Domingos Lepores and edited by Tulio Edreira.
We love Berlin’s unique neighbourhoods – there are so many interesting streets to explore across the city. One of our favourites is Rykestraße, a wide, tree-lined street in Berlin’s Prenzlauer district. Not only is this street FULL of things to keep you busy should you find yourself hungry or wanting to do a bit of shopping, it also has two very notable sights: the Wasserturm Prenzlauer Berg, and the Rykestraße Synagogue.
Photo by Natalie Lunt.
Rykestraße runs from the Wasserturm on the corner of Knaackstraße to Danziger Straße. It’s not a particularly long street for Berlin, but there’s more than enough to see and do.
The synagogue is Germany’s largest and the second biggest Jewish place of worship in Europe. The building has been around since 1904, surviving the Second World War relatively undamaged. Today it can hold up to 2000 worshippers inside. It’s worth taking a look at its beautiful interior and tours are available during the week in both English and German.
Photo from Jüdische Gemeinde zu Berlin’s Website.
The Wasserturm is Berlin’s oldest water tower, and was in use until 1952. An adjacent machine hall was actually the first concentration camp in Nazi Germany, though this building was demolished in 1935. Nowadays it is full of very sought-after apartments and is surrounded by a very pretty park area.
Now let’s talk about what else is available on Rykestraße:
Café’s & Restaurants
There are quite a few places to eat on this street. Some are quite small (and popular) which means seating can sometimes be tricky, of course it’s easier in the summer when there are more options to sit outside, but in the colder months you might have to wait for a table. Some of our favourite spots are No Fire No Glory, which serves really great coffee & cake, ABC (Allans Breakfast Club) who do a very tasty avocado toast and general yummy brunches, there’s also Si An specialising in very tasty Vietnamese cuisine, and set in a beautifully-designed space. There are also a couple of ice cream shops on the street, one in particular we like is Tribeca Ice Cream, serving delicious vegan ice cream in some amazing flavours.
Photo by Natalie Lunt.
The shops are mostly small, independent stores selling unique items and cool designs. We really like ting, a shop selling everything from jewellery to stationery – you can pick up some one-of-a-kind pieces here. Go to Funi Shop for bright, colourfully-designed products such as wrapping paper and cards. And when you want to spruce up your apartment (or your wardrobe) head to Schones aus Skandinavien whose pretty patterns cover scarves, mugs and handbags.
Photo by Natalie Lunt.
Bars & Pubs
After all that shopping, you’ll need to stop for a drink or two! And of course, Rykestraße has no shortage of bars, either. For delicious cocktails (and a smoke-free bar) head to BRYK – they even produce their own brand of gin. The bar has a very trendy industrial style and friendly staff. Haus Bar is a nice, small, cosy bar to relax in that plays good music and makes good drinks. There’s also a small terrace for when the weather is nice. Yard is your typical small pub/kneipe experience, that also has a pool table inside (which we don’t see many of these days). It’s dark, cosy, cheap and plays good rock music.
You’ll also find a spa, a wine shop, even a vet on Rykestraße – there’s just too many places to mention, so it’s best you go take a look yourself!
Find more ideas on what to do in Prenzlauer Berg HERE. You may also enjoy these other street guides we wrote: Torstrasse, Brunnenstrasse, Gräfestrasse. Do you have any favourite streets in Berlin? Let us know.
*Article written by Natalie Lunt and edited by Tulio Edreira.
Südblock is undoubtedly one of the most important queer spaces in Berlin. Right at Kottbusser Tor (Kotti for the locals), this café, bar and party venue is a real Kreuzberg experience, with all the diversity that makes this Berliner neighborhood so unique and exciting.
Quizz night at Südblock. Photo from Südblock’s Facebook Feed.
We dare say that the main attraction of Südblock is their public: everyone is welcome, excepted those who can not respect the cultural mix of Kotti. Thus, homophobes, transphobes, queerphobes and any other -phobe or heteronormative inclined people will not find their place there.
Together with the Gayhane party at S036, Möbel Olfe and Café Kotti, Südblock forms the Kreuzberg “queer quartet”. In the past 10 years, this “Kreuzberg institution” caters to the local community, including LGBTQ+ crowds and open-minded visitors. Südblock is a place where you are bound to share one of the communal tables with women wearing headscarves, an international drag queen and a young refugee trying to learn German!
Photo from Südblock’s Facebook Feed.
Anytime of the day, from 10 a.m., the venue opens for breakfast, lunch and afternoon cake and turns into a bar/party space in the evening, with a program as varied as its crowd.
Located in a small square, just on the southwestern corner of our beloved Kotti d’Azur, at the foot of a social housing complex, the outdoor seating area, in hot summer days, is converted into a Biergarten, with a view to one of U-Bahn station entrances.
On Sundays, the “pay what you want” brunch is a must. The open-buffet has vegetarian and vegan options, including German breakfast staples, like eggs in all its variations and pancakes. At the end of your meal, you decide to pay between € 7.50 and 14.50, excluded drinks, depending on how much you consider you had. It can be very busy on the peak hours, so it is highly recommended to book a table if you go in a group.
The alternative club nights include parties, concerts, karaoke, drag shows, readings, pub quizzes, art performances…
There are regular events, like the Salom Salam, on Mondays, from 6 to 9 p.m., offering haircuts and eyebrows plucking, spiced up with tarot readings, the Hartzer Roller, on Tuesdays, a social counseling service, the weekly Sprachklub aquarium, where everyone interested in learning German is invited to practice the language in an open public chat, and the successful brunch on Sundays.
The “trashy but happy” CherrYO!-kie, the karaoke dance party, happens 4 times a year and it is certainly one of the funniest nights you can have in Berlin! Another hilarious night is the always sparkling Pub Quiz, hosted by the DJs Tama Sumo, Prosumer and special guests.
Photo from Südblock’s Facebook Feed.
Südblock also promotes soli refugees parties and political discussions about discrimination faced by minorities. Be sure to check their extensive agenda, like their Facebook page or to subscribe to their newsletter to get updates about their special events.
And finally, a bonus for cig-free people: at Südblock, smoking is allowed only in a separate room!
*Article written by Domingos Lepores and edited by Tulio Edreira.
Boxhagener Platz (aka Boxi) is a fairly large square that has become the heart of Friedrichshain, due to the many shops, restaurants, and cafés around it. It also helps that it has a wonderful food market every Wednesday and Saturday, as well as a nice flea market every Sunday. Lots of people live in the area, so it can, at times, feel very busy for Berlin standards.
Photo from www.boxhagenerplatz.org
Due to the large number of people (including some “in-the-know” tourists), there are also many traps in the area. Yes, it is nice to stroll along Simon Dach Straße illuminated at night. That said, I am comfident that most of the places you’ll find along this strip are below average with above average prices. So I came up with this guide is to help you explore the area and avoid some traps by selecting the best in the Kiez.
What to do
If the weather is nice, you are bound to find lots of people sitting on the grass, drinking beer and eating some takeaway burger in the middle of the square. The small playground, which is separate from the adult, beer-consumption area, will also be full of kids and chatty parents. It is a diverse area, with people of different backgrounds and styles. This is definitely a good place to hang out on a sunny day and, in summer, people stay there well beyond sunset. The food options around here are plentiful and diverse enough to make everyone happy – and you can still find a decent takeaway meal for less than 5€.
Photo from www.boxhagenerplatz.org
On market days, even though most of the stands are selling uncooked food, it is possible to try out artisanal sausages or Italian street food delicacies, as well as cakes, coffee and more. It is worth coming here, even if you are not planning on cooking. If homeccooking is your thing, though, this is a must! You’ll find very fresh vegetables, hand-made pasta and quite a few locally sourced food items to inspire you.
On flea market days you will find the the square in its most crowded state. Even when it is bitter cold and snowing. From vintage/old furniture to handmade cut-out greeting cards, one can find charming items here – and, let’s be honest, some not so extraordinary items as well. But it is easy to make a Sunday outing out of it. Stroll around the flea market, have brunch or lunch nearby, then enjoy the local coffee scene, which is very well represented here.
Here are some shops, cafés, restaurants and bars I recommend you try while exploring Boxhagener Platz in Friedrichshain.
Photo from Victoria met Albert’s Facebook Feed.
Victoria met Albert: a mix of clothes, household articles, shoes and funny random designerish articles makes this shop a dream for those who like pretty things. Watch out, as the prices can be quite hefty!
Lesen und lessen lassen: beautiful books, cards, and notebooks. A small, friendly bookshop delivers that neighborhood feel.
Schwesterherz: a bit farther away from the square, but totally worth the stroll. This shop offers design objects, be it for the kitchen, personal use, or decoration of the home. Very much in the similar direction as Victoria met Albert, but with a less hipster approach.
Boxi Kiosk: the best späti for beer lovers, end of story. With a very wide selection of local craft beers and international classics, there’s no better späti in this area. Very conveniently located on one of the square corners.
Cozys (Gabriel-Max-Straße 15A, 10245 Berlin): this newly renovated café offers a very friendly and cozy atmosphere without compromising in style. Delicious coffee, very friendly service, and no attitude! Breakfast and brunch are also highly recommended here, as well as their delicious smoothies.
Photo from Cozy’s Facebook Feed.
Neumanns Café (Gabriel-Max-Straße 18, 10245 Berlin): a relatively newcomer, it offers good coffee and a typically minimalistic space that, although not memorable, feels comfortable on a rainy day.
KuchenRausch (Simon-Dach-Straße 1, 10245 Berlin): the most Berliner of the cafés in the area, with a vast, daily-changing selection of homemade cakes, as well as a complete menu. Not the friendliest or fastest of services, but definitely a more local experience than the Scandinavian-inspired cafés above.
Mamman (Gabriel-Max-Straße 2, 10245 Berlin): Vietnamese quick and dirty, but also delicious and inexpensive.
Il Ritrovo (Gabriel-Max-Straße 2, 10245 Berlin): Pizza with an attitude.
Datscha (Gabriel-Max-Straße 1, 10245 Berlin): Russian dumplings and brunch buffet on Sundays.
Burgeramt (Krossener Str. 21-22, 10245 Berlin): Nice burgers, friendly service.
Photo by Helena Nacinovic.
Lisboa bar (Krossener Str. 20, 10245 Berlin): Delicious Portuguese tapas, and slow, but extremely friendly service.
Sanabel Imbiß (Gabriel-Max-Straße 16, 10245 Berlin): The best falafel plate in the area, just a tiny door with two outside tables.
priMaria (Gärtnerstraße 12, 10245 Berlin): Bulgarian goodness, very nice atmosphere, and a bit more upscale service.
Hot Dog Soup (Grünberger Str. 69, 10245 Berlin): hot dogs and soup, as the name says! Very nice for a quick meal near the square.
Dachkammer (Simon-Dach-Straße 39, 10245 Berlin): Skip the front of the shop, which looks more like a café, and go to the first floor for some nice cocktails and a cozy atmosphere, with several rooms full of comfy sofas.
Szimpla (Gärtnerstraße 15, 10245 Berlin): a Hungarian café which offers draft craft beers and a wider bottle selection. One of the few bars in the area to separate smokers from non-smokers, as they serve food as well.
Photo from Szimpla’s Facebook Feed.
Feuermelder (Krossener Str. 24, 10245 Berlin): a Berliner left-wing bar, with cheap drinks and a smoky atmosphere. Perfect and friendly!