Wednesday, 18 February 2015


Oh how I love Berlin! It has this essence to it, colourful and alive. 
I like to walk around and feel the city, just walk, no direction or aim, no sightseeing or shopping, just following my feet and discovering things along the way. A few times this backfired, I found myself going round in circles and always ending up back in front of East Side Gallery. Another time I was hoping to get somewhere in the vicinity of Mauerpark but went in the complete wrong direction and got lost  near Treptower Park instead, not that this bothers me too much, I love parks.

I like to sit in parks, absorb the scenery, listen to music and read.

I will always hold of a soft spot for Mauerpark (in Prenzlauer Berg), this is probably because the first time I was there I was lucky enough to stumble upon a market day, these happen every Sunday. It's a very vast and dense market with lots of hidden gems, you'll need a good peruse to make sure you don't miss out on a deal!

In the summertime there's a few great food and drink stalls around  perfect for you to grab a pilsner and a  wurst. Go sit on the grass with your lunch and you can listen to music made by a man using plastic bottles and a loop pedal, whose amp is powered by members of the audience riding static bicycles. There's always sound and activity in this park, whether people are banging bongo's or juggling, your senses wont get bored.
Between 3pm and 6pm on a Sunday, if the sun is out and the people are smiling, make your way to the amphitheatre, even if it's just for a peak. You could be a boring old grumpy gills, but after watching three little girls sing Madonna to a few hundred strangers you're sure to turn that frown upside down. That's right - it's only the biggest karaoke session, like ever. Bearpit Karaoke (, is run by a man named Joe Hatchiban, and he really knows how to get the crowd going: helping the occasionally awkward performers loosen up, encouraging a mass sing along to "Hey Jude" and creating a generally warm atmosphere to be in. Even the shyest of people can't help but stop to get involved, and if you're really daring why not have a go at belting out Taylor Swift in the centre ring! Honestly, whether it's on a drunken walk home, on the X Factor stage or in the shower, who doesn't love a little sing song every once in a while?

Another park I like is Görlitzer in Kreuzberg, I thoroughly appreciate the layout of the grounds. In the centre of the rectangular strip is a large crater with just the right steepness to lean up against, it's very important to find attributes like this when you plan on sitting for a while. The general atmosphere in the bowl is jovial too, lots of groups chucking a frisbee, and it's quite entertainingly trippy to see grass opposite you, under you, behind you and around you.

Aside from the fishbowl effect there is another quality to the park: it's perfect if you're looking to pick up drugs. Less than 30 seconds after walking in you'll get approached left right and centre by dealers, last time I was there I counted 7 people trying to sell me weed from one end of the park to the other, that's about 1 every 2 minutes.

Obviously I don't go abroad just to sit in parks - I go to sit in bars too.

Yaam is, in my opinion, a combination of the two.

It's an open space on the riverside, behind East Side Gallery, filled with sand, deck chairs, market stalls, a volleyball court, a half pipe, multiple bars, food stalls, beach football, street football, ever changing graffiti and big carnival vibes; and that's just by day. By night it's a veritable reggae fest with live acts, DJs and lots of booty shaking going on.

I love sitting in the sand with a cold beer taking it all in, I personally think everyone should check it out, although you don't really get the impression you're in Germany. If you're after authenticity you should probably steer clear of this one, and maybe I should poke my nose into Jamaica at some point...

Another chilled spot to have a drink is Prater Garten ( declaring itself the city's oldest beer garden, serving since 1837! It is ideally located very close to Mauerpark on the near by Kastanienallee 7 – 9. It has the long yellow benches and the hearty food ("incredible saucisses!"), but most importantly it has good old German beer.
This über traditional beer garden is definitely worth a visit.

If you appreciate a good tipple like me, you'll need some places to skulk at night as well as during the day. 

One of my favourite nighttime spots is a bar called Primitiv, you'll find it on Simon-Dach-Staße around the corner from Warschauer Staße station. Its a small and cosy bar with dimmed lighting and heavy curtains, the kind of place you'd sip on a nice cocktail and talk about cabaret. They turn a blind eye to smoking indoors (so blind that they provide ash trays) which adds to the sense that through the smoke someone is going to pull out a crystal ball and tarot cards to predict your future.

It's not all eerie vibes and mystery in here though, they sure know how to show you a good time with some wild nights and their speciality - vodka shots chased with a gherkin.

I'm not much of a nightclub person, but every now and then I like to let loose on the dance floor.

Casseopeia is another one of those "combi-places" for me. Right in the club hub next to Warschauer Staße station is where you'll find this gem. It has a fantastically large outdoor area, equipped with a half pipe for some late night skating and a generously sized bar forever living by the bottle/badge system (clean up after yourself and get your euro back!). Of course it couldn't be classified a club without the obvious amenities, a room, floor space, a DJ booth and, most importantly, another bar. So whether you're looking to have a casual bevvy, throw some shapes or both, you can't go wrong here. With nights ranging from Drum & Bass to Dancehall it's the perfect place for a big group who can't make their mind up.

Now Chalet is an interesting one, it's basically a big fancy house free for you to play in. 
Located on Vor dem Schlesischen Tor, it boasts the most beautiful beer garden under the cover of an ivy roof, the "Little Old Fashioned Bar" sits at the back with its big old fashioned till and old rickety looking shelves.
Each room of the house is so intricately decorated it makes you feel as though you've stumbled into your friends great aunts very expensive manor house that you shouldn't even be in but definitely won't leave because you're having way too much fun!
Then you reach the gritty pity room, the one that makes you forget the other rooms and reminds you, you are very much in Berlin.

There's one last place I feel I can't not mention on my list, a place that really stood out to me for many reasons: Süß War Gestern, roughly translated as "sweet as yesterday", strays from the usual set up of all the 'super clubs' of Berlin. I went on a recommendation from one of the locals, and you can instantly tell this is not somewhere you will find many tourists.

It's a small venue, free from intimidating bouncers who turn you away if they don't like the look of you, the crowd was welcoming and friendly, I didn't feel like I was intruding somewhere I shouldn't be, even though I was very much the odd one out. Don't let it's modesty deter you though, this club still knows how to show you a good time without all the pretentiousness that inevitably comes with Berlin nightlife. 
Without ranting and raving too much about how much of a breath of fresh air this little hideaway is I'll just leave you with, please give it a chance, especially if you need a break from the norm. It's tucked away down Wühlischstraße (43) in Friedrichshain

That is all.