Berlin After Dark

Just to prove I didn’t spend my whole time when in Berlin inside a museum, here’s my post about the famous Berliner nightlife.

You know one piece of advice I’ve heard and read several times is that to enhance your travel experience you should learn to say “yes” more often. With this adage in mind I consented to attend a “Poetry Slam” whilst in Berlin. This is basically a poetry competition held in a dimly lit bar where you’re crammed in with about 150 other people. I can imagine the kind of person who would enjoy an event like this. Unfortunately that person is not me. As if poetry is bad enough, all the poems were in German. So the thin sliver of enjoyment I may have experienced at listening to poetry for two hours whilst standing on my already aching feet and being endlessly jostled by people pushing past me to get to the toilet (or the exit more likely) soon disappeared. I wasn’t particularly amused by this series of events, and the friends I was with weren’t too sympathetic either as the poets were apparently pretty funny. I almost bailed and went home by myself, but mercifully there was an interval and I went with a couple of friends to get chicken in Kreuzberg instead. As nights out go, it wasn’t the most successful.

But the nightlife in Berlin is generally pretty awesome. It’s kind of what the place is famous for. Trendy, moody and unpretentious bars are plentiful, which sell cheap beers and are frequented by a youthful demographic. Recycled furniture, street art adorning the walls and live music, even in dance clubs. I checked out a few bars and went clubbing a couple of times; Berlin really comes into its element at night. If I hadn’t been so impecunious and exhausted all the time I would have happily gone out more.

One particularly cool bar I visited with Isabel was called Café Cinema. It was even featured on our Alternative Berlin walking tour as it’s so popular. Inconspicuously located in a graffiti covered alley in Mitte you’ll find a bunch of young hipsters drinking Club-Mate, Fritz-Kola and Mezzo Mix as well as local beers and white wine whilst smoking what definitely aren’t cigarettes. The crumbling facade of the building is actually preserved from when this area belonged to East Germany. And covering these walls is graffiti and street art, each telling a story or paying homage to someone or other. Was such a cool place to hang out!

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Café Cinema
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Some of the street art in the alley that led to another bar, an art gallery and a cinema… featured is Little Lucy, a girl you’ll come across repeatedly throughout Berlin. She is usually portrayed killing her pet cat…

The gay scene is pretty big in Berlin and an old friend of Isabel’s took us to a club he’d been invited to named Schwuz, a place reigned over by drag queens and awesome DJs. It’s difficult to find venues with good music in London in my opinion, but this place had a hip hop room, a pop room and my favourite, the house music room. And it was possibly one of the only times this year that I had to go home because I was tired before the club even closed. These Berliners sure know how to party…

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On the nights I didn’t go out drinking, I often stayed in drinking. The getränkemarkts are literally amazing. Buy a bottle of beer for about a euro, crack it open in store and drink it on the walk home. And they’re open till 3am. Whilst supermarkets close at like 10 (so the opposite to the UK… I know which country has their priorities right). In my opinion, German food was never anything to rave about, so unlike in Galicia my focus wasn’t on trying the regional delicacies. I did however have some great Italian, Japanese and Turkish food… yeah, that’s right. Who knew that the döner kebab was a Berlin favourite? I couldn’t stop buying them even though they game me food poisoning without exception. But they cost less than three euros and were HUGE so how can you blame me!?

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