After stumbling around in the snow on our first night in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, we soon realized that there is a bewildering number of inviting bars in the neighbourhood.
While we tried to sample as many as we could, we decided to cut to the chase and accept an offer from the owners of our apartment, Lenna, a music journalist, and Dietrich, a musician, to sample their favourite bars.
In true Berlin style we met up with them just before 11pm. “It’s a little early for some of the bars,” said Lenna, “But it’s good to get an early start.”
We asked Lenna to sum up what make each bar special for them. Besides, by the time we arrived home we couldn’t read our notes. Or really remember…
1. Fleischmöbel AKA Möbel
Oderberger Straße 2
Why: because I can easily stumble back home afterwards
Vibe: “Prenzlauer Berg”. Says it all, really. It’s typical of the neighbourhood, with a relaxed atmosphere, second-hand furniture, and purposefully ‘neglected’ décor, ie. too cool to be bothered.
Music: mostly low-key electronic music.
Crowd: mid-20s to mid-40s, from the neighborhood, Prenzlauer Berg visitors, and just about everybody who’s stayed at my apartment.
Best night: it’s always full, makes no difference whatsoever what night you go.
Drink: I always have a White Russian (with milk, naturally) because the barman mixes a real mean one.
2. Klub der Republik
Why: although its vibe has changed a lot during the past decade (like pretty much everything else in Berlin) it still feels like an odd specimen from those times.
Vibe: old-school Berlin (ie. from the 90s and 2000s), ‘hidden’ entrance/no sign, DDR-chic, and chilled-out atmosphere.
Music: varies from electronic to soul/funk and 60s groove depending on the DJ and night.
Crowd: students, perennial students, Prenzlauer Berg enthusiasts, Berlin visitors.
Best night: depends on the DJ really.
Drink: the Long Island Ice Tea is kind of legendary here – for those who survive to tell the tale.
Schönhauser Allee 177b
Why: for the music, what else?!
Vibe: the Berlin equivalent of a New York dive bar – dark, bare, sexy (for those who equate dark and bare with sexy). No décor other than the film that’s being projected on the wall.
Music: mostly indie/alternative music.
Crowd: hipsters, indie kids, rock’n’roll veterans, touring bands, and travellers.
Best night: never on Saturday!
Drink: not much of a choice, really; most people will go for beer, I’d order a gin and tonic.