Cafés in Berlin
What you want is what you get. And if you're not sure you can
always sit looking down on the Ku'damm from the rotunda of Cafe
Kranzler. The newly-enovated Kranzler was famous amongst the "golden"
set in the Berlin of the 1930s, and the place to see and be seen.
Or at an outside table at Café Adler, across from Checkpoint
Charlie. And watch the world go by.
But Berlin has a phenomenal range of cafes, bars and clubs. The
knack is to pick the right district.
Charlottenburg is the place to rub shoulders with the well-heeled
young professionals of West Berlin, with a smattering of actors
thrown in for good measure. The pavement cafes around Bleibtreustraße
and Schlüterstraße are bubbling with life, with business deals,
networking and plain courtship rituals.
If you want to follow in the tracks of David Bowie and Lou Reed,
then hang out along Hauptstraße in Schöneberg. Here style is everything
so there's plenty to admire or be amused by. Kreuzberg was the
legendary focus of the alternative scene, and now provides every
possible variant of drinking experience in bars with names like
Wirtschaftswunder (the Economic Miracle), Milchbar (milkbar) or
Haifisch Bar (the Shark).
The Gay scene centres on Winterfeldtplatz in the west, location
of a wonderful outdoor market on Saturday and Wednesday mornings,
and Greifenhagener Straße in the east, with its cocktail bars
and Caipirinhas. Most bars are pretty welcoming irrespective of
young and free congregate on Kollwitzplatz and Helmholtzplatz
in the east in Prenzlauer Berg, where the bars feature walls painted
with extravagant murals or marbling, and are furnished with chairs
and tables sculpted from scrap iron. As this area goes upmarket
the more adventurous bars are relocating in Friedrichshain, particularly
And scattered through the city are some amazing finds - the Cuban
bar La Bodeguita with its walls covered with authentic black and
white photos of Cuban musicians, Castro and Guevara, Cafe Morena
and its blue and white Moroccan tiles, or the gentrified elegance
of Cafe Einstein. In whichever bar or cafe you find yourself,
expect to be offered roses by street vendors who are continually
wandering through, and be sure to check out the free promotional
postcards usually displayed on a rack. You can help yourself to
as many as you want.
When it comes to paying expect to be asked whether you want to
pay together or separately (the question is "Zusammen?" which
means "together?"); as far as the tip is concerned, the convention
is to round the bill up by a few Pfennige or Marks (eg. €
4.55 becomes € 5.00 and € 13.50 becomes € 15.00)
and tell the waiter/ress to keep the tip when you hand them the
money, rather than leaving a tip on the table.
You won't be thrown out as many bars operate all round the clock,
but you can always move on to take in a club or some cabaret.
Best to follow up with a Berlin cafe breakfast, served on a plate
as big as the table, any time till six at night .
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