If you have previously joined us on one of our tours at Alternative Berlin one of our knowledgeable tour guides may have shared with you the story of Osman Kalin and his tree house that he constructed on a piece of East German land that sat on the West side of the Wall. Osman took advantage of this bizarre land situation, but strangely enough, he wasn’t the only one in the city to do so.

 

During the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 a triangle piece of East German land near to Potsdamer Platz got cut by the Wall itself. As neither the West nor the East could make practical use of the land, it sat empty for years until May of 1988 when a group of around 40 people occupied the land and dubbed it the Norbert-Kubat-Dreieck named after Norbert Kubat who had committed suicide one year earlier in his jail cell after being imprisoned for his involvement in the famous 87′ May 1st riots.

 

Kubat Dreieck

The land of Kubat-Dreieck, as well as various other East German land enclaves in West Berlin, had actually been sold to the West in March of 88′ for a price of 76 million Deutsch Marks. However the hand over day of the land was not due until July of the same year. The West Berlin government plans for the land were clear. A city highway with tunnel was to be built on the land, which angered many environmentalists and other locals. Protests then ensued, which was then followed by the occupation of the land itself.

Flucht ueber die Mauer, in den Osten. Lenne-Dreieck Auf der Mauerkrone

The tent and hut community village that was created at Kubat-Dreieck was home to an urban garden, a little farm, group cooking nights and other events. The location became a popular hangout for both locals and tourists alike, but unfortunately for the squatters it also drew attention and annoyance from the political powers on either side of the Wall.

 

 

Kubat Dreieck Map

Within the space of a couple of months, Kubat-Dreieck had turned from an alternative utopia into a straight out war zone. Cat and mouse games between the squatters, with the help of other Leftists who had jumped on board, and the West Berlin police escalated into a stone and Molotov cocktail throwing attack from one side and a water canon blasting and tear gas assault from the other. As the battle took place on the streets on the West side of the Wall, East German gas mask wearing border guards peered over the Wall and even helped the squatters and Leftists by telling the West Berlin police to stop drowning East Germany in tear gas. But this wasn’t the only kind gesture that was made by the border guards.

 

Flucht ueber die Mauer, in den Osten. Lenne-Dreieck Eskalation an der Mauer

On the morning of July 1st 1988, the day of the official land handover, one of the strangest events of the Cold War took place. As the police encircled them, around 200 remaining squatters and Leftists, with animals and bikes in hand, climbed the Berlin Wall jumping into the Death Strip where East German border guards had trucks waiting to take them away to ‘freedom’. The protesters were taken into East Berlin, albeit for only a short time. Later that day they were taken back to the West Berlin and apparently even given free transport tickets from the East as a parting gift.

 

 

Flucht ueber die Mauer, in den Osten. Lenne-Dreieck Mit Hab und Gut

Flucht ueber die Mauer, in den Osten. Lenne-Dreieck Helfer in der DDR

Kubat-Dreieck today is in the middle of the modern Potsdamer Platz area where towering skyscrapers have been built in the area where the Berlin Wall once stood. The story of Kubat-Dreieck is certainly a bizarre one, but it also not too different to other stories of protest and occupation in Berlin. This tradition runs deep in the history of modern Berlin and is something you can find out more about by joining one of our tours.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OC8wSltRGQ

 

Written by Liam Gook 

Photo´s by Metin Yilmaz

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Top 5 May

For Berlin, May is a month of partying, protesting and enjoyment of the sun that has finally brought some warmth to the city. But if you’re looking for events other than your famous May Day celebrations and Karneval der Kulturen, here are our alternative event tips for the month of May.

too drunk to watch

Too Drunk To Watch: Punk Film Festival (https://www.facebook.com/events/1498393833737499/)

 

From a feminist film festival to nation specific film festivals to even a porn film festival, plus everything in between, Berlin seemingly has a film festival for all tastes. Starting on May 6th and running until May 10th the Too Drunk To Watch: Punk Film Festival will be screening PUNK related films from around the world.

Tag des Sieges

Tag des Sieges (http://neuntermai.vvn-bda.de/2014/12/31/information-fur-unsere-besucherinnen-und-besucher/)

 

This coming May marks 70 years since the end of the European side of World War II. As we are in Germany, there are no official celebrations, for obvious reasons, but if you want to experience one of the stranger and messier parties celebrating the defeat of the Nazi’s, we recommend joining the Russians, punks, leftists and others at the Soviet Memorial in Treptower Park this May 9th.

braufest

Braufest Berlin 2015 (https://www.facebook.com/events/295231683948498/)

 

Berlin’s craft beer scene has exploded in recent years, but it isn’t all about the new brands and bars, there are also new and wonderful beer festivals! One such festival is Braufest Berlin that will see local, German and international beers being poured between May 14th and 17th in the RAW area.

 

Displaced Thoughts by Herakut (http://www.herakut.de/2015/05/01/displaced-thoughts/)

 

This coming May 16th one of our favourite street art duos Herakut will open their new Berlin exhibition entitled Displaced Thoughts. The exhibition will include paintings, photographs and installations highlighting the work of individuals and organizations from across the Middle East, Europe and Africa., with a strong focus on issues associated with global movement.

The vinyl and breakfast market

The Vinyl and Breakfast Market (https://www.facebook.com/events/727786464013911/)

 

If Sunday to you means a good breakfast followed by a flea market visit to scrounge through piles of records, The Vinyl and Breakfast Market is making things easier for you by providing both in the same location. The breakfast side of things will be provided by many of the regular Markthalle Neun street food vendors and the vinyl side of this will be provided by some of Berlin’s most popular record stores and labels. Check it out on Sunday May 17th.

 

 

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Our list of Top fives for the month of April which traditionally is the month Berlin´s begin to open their hearts, minds and wallets and get set to party as the weather improves and summer madness is within reach.

Korean Roller Disco

Korean Roller Disco (https://www.facebook.com/events/1649848308572497/)

Start your Easter long weekend with a twist at the Korean Roller Disco that will take place Easter Friday at Prince Charles. This event will give you the opportunity to dong on a pair of skates, wheel-dance until your red in the face and devour some amazing Korean food provided by some of Berlin’s favourite Korean street food vendors.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 19.57.30

Easter Fires (http://www.berlin.de/kultur-und-tickets/tipps/ostern/3408045-2404530-osterfeuer-im-britzer-garten.html)

 

If you are looking for a special German tradition this Easter that doesn’t involve Easter markets, egg hunting or egg painting, we recommend to check out one of the Easter Fire burning events. One of our favourite places to watch wood piles go up in flames, is the very tranquil Britzer Garten. Check it out on Easter Saturday evening.

droneberg

Droneberg Fest (https://www.facebook.com/events/754295834620847/)

 

Later in the month on April 16th, Hamburg’s D.I.Y doom festival ‘Droneberg Fest’ spreads its dark wings and lands in Berlin’s famous punk venue SO36. If you’re sick of electronic music and want to hear some dark noisy tunes, we highly recommend this one day festival that features 2 stages of live music, art installations, a poster exhibition and more.

persons of interest

Persons of Interest (https://www.facebook.com/events/918640218187013/)

 

For the street art lovers, Berlin’s premier street art gallery Urban Nation is currently hosting an exhibition that features the work of 12 important Brooklyn street artists. Included in the line up are some of our favourite street artists like Swoon, Gaia and Cake. The exhibition runs until June 15.

curious fox books

Curious Fox Books (http://www.curiousfoxbooks.com/)

 

If you are looking for more of a quiet month this April, maybe you should drop by Curious Fox Books in Neukoelln and pick yourself up a new or secondhand English language book. This Irish owned book shop features a large selection of books for both adults and children. They also offer tea, coffee and snacks as well as host a variety of literature related events.

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Top 5 March

Posted by admin on Sunday Mar 15, 2015 Under clubs, eco, events, fashion, graffiti, Restaurants, Street Food, streetart

The sun has been shining bright in Berlin of late and thanks to this, our tours at Alternative Berlin have been very busy. If you have taken a tour with us, you would know that our guides are always full of great tips, but our Blog and Facebook Page are also both worth keeping an eye on. The following are our Top 5 event tips for March.

 

Berlin X Reykjavik Festival https://www.facebook.com/events/375013215957331/

 

For the second year running, the multi-city jazz fusion festival of Berlin X Reykjavik will see an exchange of artists between the aforementioned cities. From March 5th – 7th, Neue Heimat will host the Berlin segment of the festival, which sees a variety of talent from Reykjavik performing before a Berlin audience. The festival is headlined by the amazing Icelandic artist Emiliana Torrini.

Reyjan

 

Exhibtion: Houses by Vidam https://www.facebook.com/events/925041667528362/

 

This month, one of our favourite street artists Vidam, of the street art crews Peach Beach and The Weird, will display a new solo exhibition entitled ‘Houses’ at Retramp gallery. The exhibition will include illustrations of houses with mural paintings that are inspired by houses in the artists own neighbourhood. The exhibition will run from March 6 – April 10.

vidam

St. Patrick’s Day Festival https://www.facebook.com/events/1615236468708938/

 

As most of you are well aware, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations certainly are not limited to Ireland. Various cities and towns around the world throw massive parties with green sausages to green rivers being a thing at these parties. Since 2011, Berlin has had its very own St. Patrick’s Day festival inclusive of a parade and concert! If you want to get your green on, this years festival is taking place on March 15th, just a couple of days before the actual St. Patrick’s Day.

St Patricks

Max Rave: Westbam’s 50th Birthday Bash https://www.facebook.com/events/877646252267106/

 

Berlin techno legend Westbam will this month celebrate his 50th birthday, the only way a DJ knows how… with a massive techno party! Westbam himself headlines the party that will surely go to all hours of the morning. Check it out in Columbia Halle on March 14th.

Max Rave

Klunkerkranich Re-Opening https://www.facebook.com/klunkernderkranich

 

With the weather being surprisingly sunny and mild for this time of year, some of Berlin’s popular outdoor spaces have decided to open their doors a little earlier in the year than usual. One such venue is the very popular rooftop bar of Klunkerkranich. Take in the amazing view from the top level of the Neukoelln Arcaden carpark and listen to some tunes or stroll the regular weekend fleamarket at this amazing location.

Klunder
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Top 5: February

Posted by admin on Saturday Feb 7, 2015 Under Berlin, Berlin history, clubs, events

Top 5: February

 

Well, it is cold outside. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit inside all day and night bitching about it to friends on Facebook, because even in February Berlin has a lot on offer! To help point you in the right direction, here are our Top 5 suggestions for getting out and about this February.

wurst 7 bier

Wurst & Bier

What is more German than sausages and beer? Nothing! But this is Berlin, so don’t just expect to see your plain old Bratwurst and Becks at this months Wurst & Bier festival! A large variety of brewers and sausage makers from Berlin and Brandenburg, as well as special guests from Germany and Europe, will gather to show you how good a wurst & bier can actually be. Check it out on Sunday the 8th.

(Photo via Wurst & Bier)

Boddinale

Boddinale

Everybody knows Berlin’s international film festival Berlinale, but if you are looking for a more local underground film festival this month we highly recommend Boddinale. Now in its third year, Boddinale, at Loophole and Kaleidoskop on Boddinstr. Neukoelln, showcases a wide variety of independent films of which many are by local Berlin film makers. 5 – 15 February.

(Photo via Boddinale)

RAF

RAF exhibition

If you have taken a tour with us before, you may very well have been told about the Red Army Faction (RAF) aka Baader Meinhof Gang. This far left wing West German militant group, that existed from  1970 till 1998, was highly feared by many, but worshiped by others. Their fascinating history is one worth knowing more about and the current temporary exhibition at the German History Museum about the RAF is well worth a look. It runs until March 8th.

(Photo via German History Museum)

urban nation

Cut It Out

Berlin’s premier Street Art gallery Urban Nation will this month showcase work from an international line-up of stencil artists in their exhibition Cut It Out. The exhibition, that is curated by Ollystudio and Hendrik Haven, features big name stencil artists like C215, M-City, XooooX, Czarnobyl and many more. Check it out from now until February 27.

(Photo via Urban Nation)

Circus Hostel

Circus Hostel Brewing Co.

Over the last couple of years, micro breweries have been sprouting up all over the city. Last month Circus Hostel joined the trend by launching their very own micro brewery, Circus Hostel Brewing Co.  To try the beers of the newest micro brewery in town, head over to Circus Hostels bar Katz & Maus.

(Photo via Circus Hostel)

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Top Fives for January

Posted by admin on Monday Jan 26, 2015 Under Abandoned Berlin, art, Berlin, Berlin history, clubs, events, fashion, Street Food

If you have taken a tour with us at Alternative Berlin in the past few months, you would have been lucky enough to receive many cool recommendations for your stay in Berlin. We are always very willing to give you updated info on our favourite bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes, parks, tattoo parlours, vinyl shops and much moreto help our guests continue their good times in Berlin, even after their tour’s are finished. We don’t want to give all of our tips away here, you’ll have to come on a tour to get them all, but here are 5 of our favourites.

Badehaus Simpla

Badehaus Szimpla Musiksalon 

 

Without a doubt, the number one question us guides get asked is ‘where should I go out tonight’! As you may be aware, Berlin’s nightlife well and truly centres around electronic music, however there is also a vast selection of clubs and bars that cater for most tastes and desires. For those guests wanting to see some live music, we often recommend Badehaus Szimpla Musiksalon.

 

(Photo via Zitty Berlin)

 

With live music most nights of the week, Badehaus, as it is more simply known, is a great choice for jazz, gypsy, rock, hip hop and everything in between. If you are a budding musician, Badehaus’s regular schedule includes a variety of jam sessions and open mic nights, where musicians are welcome to join in on the fun and games.

AKA tattoo

AKA 

 

If you want to remember your awesome time in Berlin FOREVER, we have no better suggestion than for you to get yourself a tattoo at one of our favourite Berlin tattoo studios AKA.

 

(Photo via AKA Facebook)

 

AKA boast some of Berlin’s best tattoo artists, each with their own individual style, who daily create amazing pieces on locals and travelers alike. As they are quite popular, it is recommended to make a appointment. AKA also do piercings!

 

Sfizy Veg 

Pizza

(Photo via Mogli Oak Berlin)

Berlin is a very vegetarian and vegan friendly city, but if you are looking for an extra special restaurant, we highly recommend you check out Europe’s first all vegan pizzeria Sfizy Veg.

With pizza names like Bacon Cheezzyburger, Sfizy Veg’s menu may seem somewhat confusing as to whether they are actually vegan or not. But I can inform you that these are just names and their pizza’s, pasta’s and salads are all vegan friendly and delicious! Even the meat lovers will get confused as to what they are actually eating.

 

Core Tex Records

 

Coretex records

(Photo via Core Tex Records)

If you have previously joined one of our tours, you would most likely have heard stories of Kreuzberg’s punk music past. Although electronic music now reigns supreme, punk is still alive and if you are wanting to pick up a few records whilst you’re in town, we recommend Core Tex Records.

Core Tex Records isn’t all about punk, they also stock a large collection of metal, hardcore, screamo, indie and other such genres on record and cd. They also have a massive collection of tshirts, merchandise and even sell their own beer!

 

 

Museum der Dinge

Particularly in the colder winter months, we like to recommend our guests some interesting thing to do indoors. Berlin’s museums are an obvious choice, but if you want to visit one that is a little bit different to the rest, we recommend that you check out Museum der Dinge or in English, the Museum of Things.

Since 2007, the Museum of Things has been exhibiting their interesting collection of, well, things, that include products, toys, pins, books, plates, kettles and basically any other oddities you could think of! It is truly a great way to spend a few hours, particularly with friends as there are so many great talking points.

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Alternative Berlin Green Tour  by Tiffany Herrington

If this is your first time in Berlin, one of the first things you will likely notice are the amount of sprawling green spaces co-existing beautifully among urban areas and buildings. You might be subsequently impressed to learn that Berlin has more parks than any other city in Europe, and despite its immense size, has eluded the concrete-jungle existence that is the reality of many other metropolis world cities.  But Berlin is not content to just sit pretty.  The inhabitants of this liberal, progressive, forward-thinking city have taken its green presence to the next level, and are using technology as well as grass-roots efforts to make this city an eco-friendly one, a model for others to follow.

Alternative Berlin’s Green Tour examines these developments and provides an education as to what they mean for the city, all the while combining these elements with other things Berlin is so rich in, history and art.  The tour begins at a train station that was a former transportation hub that was used during World War II to deport thousands of Jews, mostly elderly men and women.  Hitler’s eventual plan was to turn the station into an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a plan that was thwarted by British and American bombs and Soviet artillery shells.

The station currently exists as a peaceful green space itself, in close proximity to a recycling area containing bins for various types of waste.  Germany has the highest recycling rate of any country in Europe, and these bins have been in use since the 1980’s.  The walls behind them are painted over with murals depicting picturesque outdoor scenery, because why leave something plain, when you can make it artistically interesting?  Gotta love this city.

bins

Germany has imposed a ban on traditional garbage dumps, replacing them with one of the most advanced waste-management systems in the world, and by 2020, intends to eradicate any remaining landfills in the country.  Berlin sees waste management as a boom industry of the future and is implementing an innovative waste-management policy so as to give its local enterprises in the sector a head start.  As a result, 55,000 old garbage dumps have been replaced by 70 incinerators, 60 biological and mechanical waste-processing factories, and 800 units producing compost from organic waste.  Bye bye, trash.  Hello, energy production and billions of euros saved.

Block 6 a

Block 6 b

Block 6 c
No type of waste is safe from being reused and recycled here, and that includes those of the grey and black water variety.  Started in 1987 the research project investigates innovative water management and urban food production and has developed and implemented a water purifying system that replicates systems in nature.  It takes the grey water from 75 surrounding apartments and runs it through a reed bed purification system which allows the water to be used a second time, savings residents around 3 million litres of water a year (an Olympic swimming pool holds around 2.5 million litres).  There are plans in the works to create a black water purification system which will convert human waste into compost and fertilizer, which will feed greenhouses and increase and improve food production.

Sud

Sud 2
Not far from the Roof Water-Farm, another type of life cycle continues in an abandoned railway yard. The Tempelhof switchyard, a derelict railway site, was completely shut down in 1952.  In the space of just 50 years, this 18-hectare space has assumed the newborn identity. It has been transformed into a natural urban reserve through the help of conservationists and artists, and has become a diverse, species-rich natural oasis in the heart of the city, with rich dry grassland, jungle-like woodland and herbaceous vegetation.

Sud 4

Sud 1
This beautiful urban nature park is currently home to two thirds of Germany ́s bird population, as well as bumblebees, spiders, endangered butterflies, praying mantises, hundreds of different plant species and a massive variety of giant mushrooms.  To be able to walk along rows of railroad tracks that have been turned into foliage-surrounded walkways, with the tracks still visible in the concrete, and see trees growing up through parallel railway tracks, the spikes beginning to split in their wake, is a fantastic experience and a surreal firsthand look at the way nature takes over anything left to her.  And in true Berlin fashion, expect to see street-art in the park, in the form of graffiti on the old walls of the railway station, as well as an array of unique sculptures nearby the former locomotive hall, now used by artists as a performance and rehearsal space.

UFA 1
In keeping with the theme of artists and community working hand in hand to promote environmental awareness, conservation, and culture another community project  in Marienfelde has taken the initiative in this regard.  Started in 1979, this space was originally a film copy centre, but when it was later scheduled for demolition, an idea came together to give the space a second life as a centre for culture, community, and ecology.  The site currently has 30 residents and over 160 co-workers who form and test new concepts for producing socially and ecologically responsible ways of living in a metropolis.  Solar panels provide all the power for the whole complex, and green initiatives include gardens, green roofs, independent energy sources and a rainwater-collecting system.  An in-house Organic Bakery and Confectionery and Natural Foods Store provide an assortment of sustainable and tasty food items (I can personally attest to the deliciousness of the caramel coffee and schwarzbier!), and there is a children’s farm onsite where kids can learn to care for animals.

UFA
The Neighborhood and Self-Help Center provides encouragement and assistance in cultural as well as social, health and family matters, and a range of workshops offer opportunities for young and old to remain active whether as athletes, musicians, dancers or circus artists.  The center hosts a circus school, as well as performances by international artists, festivals, in-house productions, comedy, cabaret, dance, world music, children’s programs and professional theatre presentations.  This is  progressive and sustainable living at it´s best.

Prencessen c

In another salvaged space, in nearby Kreuzberg, Prinzessinnengärten peacefully occupies a piece of land previously rendered a wasteland by heavy street fighting during World War II.  The site sat vacant for 50 years until a community group called Nomadic Green took it over in 2009, cleared it of debris, and transformed it into an organic, mobile garden.· By growing vegetables in rice bags, plastic crates and milk containers they have created an ingenious and unique system where they can easily transport the plants to another location if need be.

Prencessen a

Prencessen d

Princessen b

Prinzessinnengärten is an urban place of learning, where locals can come together to experiment and discover more about organic food production, biodiversity and climate protection. Gardening and beekeeping workshops are offered, and the site features a library of gardening books, a plant shop which sells vegetables and herbs, and a cafe-restaurant made from a recycled shipping container that sells fresh food from the garden’s produce as a fantastic way for visitors to enjoy the whole cycle from planting to harvesting to eating the food that is grown on-site.  Guten appetit!

If you don’t get your fill of fresh, organic local food at the garden, worry not – you can do so at Markthalle 9, in the heart of Kreuzberg.

Market c

One of only three remaining market halls in Berlin, this historical monument is 120 years old and has endured a violent past during wartime, but it survived beautifully and now lives a peaceful existence as a place for small traders again.  Here, you can find an incredible array of delicious, sustainable, local food (as well as a brewery!) sourced in ecologically and socially responsible ways, in direct contact with the producers.  The market hall also offers space for initiatives from local residents and is a platform for projects that deal critically with the topics of nutrition, urban, agriculture, biodiversity and the environment.

Market a

Market b

It is a dynamic space in which to eat some incredible food prepared in front of you, drink a beer brewed right in the building, and become totally immersed in the deep history and progressive existence that make Berlin the fantastic city it is. A city where urban living and eco-friendly living are synonymous, innovative technology and hands-on, organic methods combine to achieve a healthier environment and responsible,conscious standard of living, and the future is looking green.

BOOKINGS AND MORE INFORMATION : CLICK HERE

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Berlin Bites

Posted by admin on Monday Jun 30, 2014 Under Street Food

What is “typical Berlin food”? Currywurst is probably the first word that comes to mind–yes the yummy sauce-covered wurst is the most famous–but Berlin has a lot more to offer than that. From crispy, melt-in-your-mouth Schnitzels and Goulash to more unusual offerings like Blutwurst and Mett (raw minced pork which is spread on Brötchen and garnished with raw onions), there are countless options. But some of the most “typical” Berlin food isn’t even German, or even European for that matter. The large immigrant population in Berlin has given rise to a vast array of delicious ethnic foods, particularly from Northern Africa, the Middle-East and Eurasia (some dishes like the Döner Kebab even originated here in Berlin). But perhaps the newest trend that is changing the face of Berlin food is the growing number of vegan and vegetarian eateries (many collectively owned), a result of the green movement becoming increasingly in popularity within Berlin’s liberal sphere.

Currywurst

But with so many options, how can you possibly choose? The tourist guidebooks will inevitably send you straight to an over-priced sit down restaurant or one of Berlin’s most popular imbisses like Curry 36 or Mustafa’s (where an inevitably long queue awaits you). Take our advice and check out our list of some of Berlin’s best, lesser-known local joints. Whether you are looking to stuff your face or just a little something to nibble on–from vegan tapas to lecker kaftka, we’ve got a list to fulfill all of your foodie desires.

Curry 36
Emma Pea Vegetarian Food
Snugged in between Cassiopeia and the alternative concert venue, Badehaus, Emma Pea’s is a hidden gem for veg-heads. The tiny graffiti covered cafe offers a daily changing menu of both vegetarian and vegan options, many with an ethnic twist. The perfect place for a pit stop before or after a night out partying in RAW, swing by and pick up a burrito or Malaysian curry to go or sit down and nibble on a plate of vegan tapas by the fireplace.

Emma Pea Vegetarian Food

Schnitzelei
Tired of the same old Spanish tapas? Why not mix it up and try the German variety? Schnitzelei in Charlottenburg has a decadent selection of all kinds of German cuisine in sample portions–everything from fried red sausage with apple mousse to veal meatballs in creamy caper sauce and of course, the crowd favorite homemade Wiener schnitzel. It is a tad on the pricier side but includes a complimentary beer on arrival so hey, who can complain.

Schnitzelei

Gemüse Kebab Hermannstrasse
There’s only one name that comes to mind when one hears Gemüse kebab, Mustafa’s. But I am here to tell you that there is an alternative that is cheaper and far easier to come by (no hour long waits here!)…but most shockingly, it tastes even better. Across the street from the monstrous Kaiser’s shopping complex on the south side of the Hermannstrasse S Bahn station is a Gemüse kebab imbiss which has been making quite a stir among Neuköln’s ex-pat population. The dish is prepared essentially the same way–chicken slow-roasted “doner style” on a stick with roasted veggies (carrots, eggplant, potatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions) with fresh salad and crumbled feta. However, at this little neighborhood joint the selection of sauces and seasonings is far more varied–try the curry sauce or yogurt with herbs for a really unique flavour combination.

Gemüse Kebab Hermannstrasse

Gel Gör
There’s only one word you need to know at Gel Gör, Köfte. For those who aren’t familiar with the dish it is a roasted Turkish meatball served on a fresh baked baguette, and Gel Gör has undoubtedly the best around. The family-run Turkish business has a huge menu of different sandwiches, although the undoubtable favorite is the Köfte, they serve theirs with springy greens and fresh tomatoes with a zesty citrusy sauce and fresh mint. The tiny restaurant is open 24 hours so you can grab a bite whenever the craving hits–their lentil soup is also a particularly yummy option on a cold winter night.

Gel Gör

Rundstück Warm
There are many legends surrounding the origin of the Hamburger, but perhaps my favorite tall-tale is that of the Rundstück Warm. Rumor has it the rundstück warm (a small brötchen sandwich originating in Northern Germany) was brought to the World Fair and was an instant hit. However, the name was too confusing to pronounce for the English-speaking crowd so it was dubbed the “Hamburger” since the guys who brought the tasty treat were from Hamburg. Today, the rundstück warm is a rare sight on any menu–any menu except the one at the tiny Neuköln international restaurant devoted to the dish, Rundstück Warm. The small pork sandwich is truly decadent–slow-roasted and thick-sliced with a crispy outer crust and covered in plum gravy, the chef at RW serves it up daily alongside homemade fries and a Spreewald Gürken. Other menu options include an array of artisan burgers (everything from goat cheese to gorgonzola and pear) plus a couple of surprisingly good burritos prepared the authentic way by a chef from Guatemala.

Rundstück Warm

Sahara
Few outsiders are familiar with Sudanese food, or really the Sudan in general (there is a map of the country on the wall just in case you weren’t sure where it was) but this tiny Neuköln imbiss is bound to change that, the food is just that damn good. At first glance, the menu seems similar to other falafel places and the like–halloumi, tofu, chicken, magali, etc–however the flavor is vastly different from its middle-eastern counterparts. Each dish is covered in tangy peanut sauce and aubergine past giving it a mild, slightly sweet flavor that is truly addicting. And with sandwiches starting at 2.50, you would be hard-pressed to find a more günstig meal. The company has also expanded opening another location just a few streets down from the original location on the corner of Weserstrasse and Reuterstrasse which means hopefully the seating in the tiny imbiss will no longer be at such a premium.

Sahara

Blutwurstmanufaktur
If you are anything like me, then the thought of eating a jellified mass of dried pigs blood stuffed into an intestine doesn’t sound too appetizing. But if there is any place that could possibly make you a believer in one of Germany’s most bizarre dishes, it is the Blutwurstmanufaktur at Karl-Marx-Platz in Neukoelln. The tiny German deli is recognizable by a glowing neon red sign stating simply “Fleischerei.” However, don’t let the benign exterior fool you, this local business has been around for more than 100 years and is known throughout Europe for its award-winning blood pudding–it is so good in fact that the shop supplies many of the cities finest restaurants and is even served to the Federal President at Bellevue Palace. But if you are still not convinced and blood sausage just isn’t your thing, they also have a wide selection of other smoked and cured meats plus sauerkraut and homemade mustard.

Blutwurstmanufaktur

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The Craft Beer Revolution

Posted by admin on Wednesday Mar 26, 2014 Under Uncategorized

The Craft Beer Revolution

In a country where beer is cheaper than water, it isn’t exact hard to find a big frothy beverage to cure that hard earned thirst. However, not even those ridiculously low Germany prices could keep the country’s national beer consumption from sinking to a 25 year low in 2013 (http://www.thelocal.de/20140130/german-beer-production-sinks-to-25-year-low). Beer consumption in general may be on the decline, but this is one thing that cannot be said for the growing craft beer revolution.

India Pale Ale’s (IPA’s), Stout’s, Porter’s and other such varieties of beers were previously quite hard to come across in Berlin, but with the recent, I’m talking the past 5 years or so, craft beer revolution, these varieties of beer are becoming more easy to find. Both your average locals as well some larger beer manufactures have started to look beyond typical German brewing techniques and ingredients and have started to produce varieties of beers that 20 years prior would not have been allowed under the former German Beer Purity Law the Reinheitsgebot.

Picture 1 Via beerwrangler(2)

The revolution is still in its youth, but year after year the movement seems to gather in speed. Over the past 10 years the number of microbreweries in Germany has tripled from 300 to over 900 and in Berlin, the capital of Germany and the craft beer revolution, some 20+ microbreweries have popped up over that same time period. But it isn’t only microbreweries who are selling craft beer, various shops and bars around Berlin have also joined the revolution and are now supplying their customers with craft beers from Germany and around the world. But where are the craft beer hotspots in Berlin?

Probably the best place to start looking for craft beers is from the source itself, the microbreweries. Many microbreweries around Berlin have connecting bars where you can consume their products, which are made only meters away. Some of Berlin’s best include:

Brauerei Eschenbräu (http://eschenbraeu.de/) in Wedding who not only brew a Pilsner, a Dunkle (dark beer) and a seasonal beer, but also make their own apple juice!

Picture 2 Via Brauerei Eschenbräu(1)

Vagabund Brauerei (http://vagabundbrauerei.com/) also in Wedding produce an IPA, a Hoppy Weisenbock, an American Pale Ale, a Coffee Stout and a Szechuan Saison.

picture 3 via Vagabund Brauerei(1)

Heiden Peters (http://heidenpeters.de/) in Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg sell a variety of beers brewed by themselves, as well as some other craft beers brewed elsewhere. Expect to find a variety of Pale Ales, Porters and Stouts.

picture 4 Heiden Peters(1)

Brauhaus Südstern (http://brauhaus-suedstern.de/en/) also in Kreuzberg not only brew a Helles (light beer), Dunkel (dark beer) and Weizen (wheat beer), but they are also the proud owners of a world record for the Worlds Strongest Beer at 27.6%!

Picture 5 Brauhaus Südstern(1)

Hops and Barley (http://hopsandbarley.eu/) in Friedrichshain are one of the most well known microbreweries in town and here you can find a Pilsner, a Dunkle (dark beer), a Weizen (wheat beer) and their own Cider.

Picture 6 Via conti-online(1)

Besides the breweries themselves there are some bars around town that have German and international craft beers on their menus with probably you best option being Monterey Bar www.montereybar.com in Prenzlauer berg. Although these guys are not brewing beers themselves, their beer menu boasts a massive 80 different craft beers from Berlin and around the world. You´ll find the likes of Mikkeller, Rogue ales, Firestone Walker, Anchor brewing, Beavertown, Buxton, Brewdog, Stillwater, De Moolen, Rodenbach and De Struise nestled alongside a host of local craft beers from Braukunst Keller, Schöppebrau, Hanscraft, Camba and many more on their rotating list .

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Another option, if you would prefer to consume your craft beers at home, is the Berlin Bier Shop (http://www.berlinbiershop.com/). They boast a large variety of craft beers from around the world and are constantly getting new and different types of beers for its customers. The Berlin Bier Shop also often hosts beer tasting nights, where you get the opportunity to try a variety of beers and meet other craft beer lovers.

Picture 8 Via Berlin Bier Shop Website(1)

 The locations above are just a few examples of places where you can find craft beer. I am sure that in the future, as this scene becomes more and more popular, there will be even more options of bars, microbreweries and shops to find a great tasting locally or internationally brewed craft beer.

By Liam Gook

Founder of Mogli Oak Berlin (www.mo-berlin.com)

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Frollein Langner

Posted by admin on Tuesday Feb 11, 2014 Under art, Berlin, Berlin history, events, fashion, Restaurants, Uncategorized

Blame it on the booze, or the sublime setting–the candlelight glinting off of the teeth and pupils of the patrons as they weave amongst themselves, and the small fleeting brushes of skin on the velvet furniture. It is true, the overall effect of Frollein Langner is intoxicating…although not entirely unique.

It is a winning combination–eclectic bar decor set against rugged bare brick walls with dim lighting serving as a backdrop for acoustic concerts, art exhibitions, and other hipster offerings–a very common sight on the cobbled backstreets of Neukölln.
However, while Frollein Langner does match most of the criteria for the typical Neukölln hipster bar; this buzzing nightlife spot in Schillerkiez stands apart (both geographically and metaphorically) from the endless candlelit watering holes lining Weserstrasse. Why? This environment that we find so mesmerizing at Frollein Langner is not contrived as so many others, but rather inherent–stemming from the bars origin itself.

Opened by a group of three Berlin students as a way to put themselves through college and furnished by a happenstance donation from a dead woman of no relation; Frollein Langner is a place which has flourished by a stroke of luck.

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“We never started with the intention of being ‘trendy’” said Steffen, one of the three founders of Frollein Langner, “It started as a hobby; none of us had any business experience and we didn’t have much money starting out so we used whatever we could find or what was given to us, much of it by chance.”

When first walking in to the bar, visitors are instantly drawn in by the decor; in fact, it is so harmonious that one finds it hard to believe the interior design was not contrived. The elegant but understated Weimar and early DDR furnishings fit together seamlessly with oddball pieces like a cushioned Victorian bathtub and a large dresser full of mismatched colorful drawers which serves as a DJ stand–an unwanted leftover of a movie set which randomly found its way into the bar.

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However, unlike other similarly decorated venues like Luzia and Das Hotel, which have a tendency toward producing secluded “couple corners,” the open floor plan of Frollein Langner allows for more social interaction. “You can always come here on your own,  still have fun, and meet people,” Steffen said. I asked if anyone had ever passed out drunk in the bathtub. “Well this one time my friend…no I shouldn’t tell you that,” he laughed and smiled sheepishly into his peppermint tea, “but every item has a story behind it.”

Indeed, from a framed 50-year-old newspaper with the headline “Fight over wrong type of beer ends in murder” to a giant wooden entryway which was once the archway of a since-burned-down church–every object is undoubtedly unique. However, the most interesting story lies with the late “Frollein Langner” herself. Her photo hangs in a place of honor behind the bar–the sepia-toned image showing the woman in turn-of-the-century riding clothes wearing a grim expression. She is the unlikely benefactor of the bar; the majority of the interior was given via third party to the three students (Till, Ben, and Steffen) from her surviving family simply because the moving cost of the furniture proved to be more than it’s worth.

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“We don’t know anything about her, but we owe her a great deal,” Steffen explained. “That’s why we chose her image as our logo–and also because we were intrigued by her face–she is not only friendly, in fact, she looks quite mean.”

Whatever the case may be, if Siegfried Olga Langner could see what her unwilling donation had created, who could guess the priceless reaction. The bar which began as a side project run solely by the three friends has grown into a full-scale operation complete with a large main bar area and several lounges (which also serve as an art gallery and occasional performance space) and an adjacent burger joint named after the German predecessor of the hamburger, “Rundstück Warm.”

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Later over one of the kitchen’s rundstück sandwiches (a tasty helping of sliced pork covered in a plum gravy) and a couple of the bar’s signature Moscow Mules (they zing it up a bit using ginger beer and crushed cucumber) I asked Steffen again about the mysterious Frollein Langner. “So is she a metaphor for the bar itself? Is it not really friendly either?” I jested. He smiled and shook his head no but referred me to a quote by Anneliese Bödecker written above the bar:

“Die Berliner sind unfreundlich und rücksichtslos, ruppig und rechthaberisch, Berlin ist abstoβend, laut, dreckig und grau. Baustellen und verstopfte Straβen wo man geht und steht – aber mir tun alle Menschen leid, die hier nicht leben können!”

rundstück warm 1

rundstück warm 2

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Later over one of the kitchen’s rundstück sandwiches (a tasty helping of sliced pork covered in a plum gravy) and a couple of the bar’s signature Moscow Mules (they zing it up a bit using ginger beer and crushed cucumber) I asked Steffen again about the mysterious Frollein Langner. “So is she a metaphor for the bar itself? Is it not really friendly either?” I jested. He smiled and shook his head no but referred me to a quote by Anneliese Bödecker written above the bar:

“Die Berliner sind unfreundlich und rücksichtslos, ruppig und rechthaberisch, Berlin ist abstoβend, laut, dreckig und grau. Baustellen und verstopfte Straβen wo man geht und steht – aber mir tun alle Menschen leid, die hier nicht leben können!”

{translated}

“The Berliners are unfriendly and inconsiderate, gruff and bossy, Berlin is repugnant, loud, dirty and gray. The streets where one lives and works are always under construction and congested but I feel sorry for everyone who never has the chance to live here!”

Article by Kirsten Hall

Links:

http://www.frollein-langner.de

https://www.facebook.com/FrolleinLangner

https://www.facebook.com/RundstueckWarm

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rundstück_warm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_mule

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_quotes_featuring_Berlin

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