From underground techno clubs, to Michelin-starred restaurants – Berlin is currently experiencing a new era marked by its newfound freedom. Together with 38HOURS, an online travel company, Sur La Terre is now offering a unique way to explore this effervescent city.
For a city with such a complex history, Berlin has now reached a point where it is once again reinventing itself. From underground techno clubs, to Michelin-starred restaurants, the city is experiencing a new era marked by its newfound freedom. A city which can be perceived as dysfunctional at times, but it is precisely this lack of codes and absence of established institutions which attracts its creative crowd, even prompting comparisons with 1980s New York or 1920s Paris.
Interview : Werner Dähn on Berlin's West
Lately, the former West-Berlin is becoming fashionable again. Actor Werner Dähn has lived in the heart of the old West-Berlin for many years. Dähn has appeared in numerous German and international films like, “Valkyrie” or “The Lives of Others”. At the moment he's filming the WWI drama “The Uberkanone” in the Death Valley (USA). Lively Charlottenburg is what he calls his home.
"You have been living in the west of Berlin in Charlottenburg for many years. What do you like most about this area?"
WD: Charlottenburg is right in the middle of the West. It’s also not far from Mitte, the new centre of the city. And it is important to me that my beloved Grunewald forest remains within reach.
"Charlottenburg is well known for its variety of cafes, bars and restaurants. What are your personal recommendations? "
WD: My favourite is clearly a classic: The restaurant Florian. It‘s an old West Berlin institution. The restaurant is very cosy inside and in the summer there is an enjoyable street terrace. Plus it has the best service in town and the friendliest waiters. This is a place for hearty and traditional cooking. For a night out in the area, I recommend the Gainsbourg or Hefner.
"Which places should you not miss in the western part of the city?"
WD: You can well spend an afternoon around Savigny Platz. In this area you can stroll between charming cafes, bookshops and galleries, antique shops and second-hand dealers, clothing shops and furniture stores. To enjoy the beautiful nature Berlin has to offer I recommend to take the train to Grunewald S-Bahn station, it’s a ten-minute ride from the Zoo. Also the huge grounds of the Olympiastadium are definitely worth a look.
"Berlin has a variety of theatres and museums. From your perspective as an actor: Which stages are particularly important?"
WD: The Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz and the Volksbühne in Berlin-Mitte are amongst the most important stages in Germany. If you like modern theatre, you should book tickets in advance.
"Do you have a favourite cinema in Berlin?"
WD: The renovated and newly opened Zoo Palast is terrific and my absolute favourite.
"Which Berlin films have stuck in your mind?"
WD: A classic about Berlin is “One, Two, Three” by Billy Wilder shot in 1961, starring Horst Buchholz, Liselotte Pulver and James Cagney. It is one of the best comedies ever, an absolutely great film. And of course, Wim Wenders‘ „Wings of Desire” featuring the Berlin icon Otto Sander. Modern Berlin films include „Oh Boy“ by Jan-Ole Gerster.
"Which film about Berlin needs to be made?"
Absolutely not a comedy. There are already more than enough of them. Something dramatic about the fates of real Berliners.
Food & Drinks
The Viennese Kaffeehaus style at Café Einstein’s original branch, with its wooden chairs and neatly dressed waiters, is truly charming. But it’s the mixed crowd that creates the unique atmosphere: hipsters and seniors, bloggers and poets, residents and tourists—people of all ages and styles. Come for an espresso at the bar, to enjoy an amazing breakfast or dinner. The nice garden terrace is perfect for sunny days.
Café Einstein Stammhaus
Kürfürstenstraße 58, Tiergarten
Romantic backyard dining on a gourmet level with regional ingredients.
Katz Orange, Bergstr. 22, Mitte
Mon-Sat from 18h
Drinks & Nightlife
Amano Bar – A Nighttime Favourite
Situated close to lively Rosenthaler Platz and surrounded by various shops and restaurants, the Amano Bar is perfectly located in the heart of Mitte. Part of the eponymous hotel, Amano Bar is a sterling choice to go after dinner – or before, as it opens at 17h. An excellent bar team serves the finest drinks and the dimmed light and dark interior add a touch of club atmosphere where DJs spin their tunes on weekends.
Auguststrasse 43, Mitte
daily from 17h
Culture, Food & Drinks, Nightlife
Jüdische Mädchenschule – Artistic Dining
Ever since the former Jewish Girls’ school was turned into a place for the arts and fine dining, gallery-lined Auguststrasse has a new centre of attraction. Initiator Michael Fuchs installed his eponymous gallery on the third level and invited Eigen + Art to join. In 2012, Museum The Kennedys also found a new home here for its comprehensive compilations of photographic work, documents, and memorabilia of the Kennedy family on the second level. CWC, a dependance of Camera Work is showcasing a selection of contemporary photography on the first floor, whereas the ground level is entirely dedicated to art of cooking. Stephan Landwehr and Boris Radczun, known best for their popular restaurant Grill Royal turned the former airy auditorium into a noble restaurant: Pauly Saal. The interior is inspired by the twenties and the menu offers excellent German and European classics such as prime boiled ox or glazed piglet belly. The drinks at the adjacent bar are among the best in town. Pauly Saal also makes a sophisticated lunch spot but if you’d like to take it easy: the NY-style deli Mogg & Melzer at the other end of the building offers American and Jewish classics.
Ehemalige Jüdische Mädchenschule
Mon-Sat 12-15h & 18-3h
www.maedchenschule.org / www.camerawork.de / www.michaelfuchsgalerie.com / www.moggandmelzer.com / www.paulysaal.com / www.thekennedys.de
Shopping & Culture
On Potsdamer Strasse there is an area that Berliners call “The New West”. The development started with Andreas Murkudis who moved his eponymous concept store from Mitte to a backyard loft in 2011. Soon after the area started to flourish as more and more shops and galleries moved here. Andreas Murkudis’ store is among the finest in town and stocks international high fashion as well as the collections from his brother Kostas. Don’t be surprised to spot famous faces – it’s hidden location is perfect for incognito shopping. The Berlin branch of London-based gallery Blain Southern offers its artists one of the most impressive gallery spaces in town. Nearby, Fiona Bennett is Berlin’s most famous milliner and runs a store facing the street where bespoke hats are made by hand.. The Thomas Fischer gallery on the first floor is a place to discover established names like Seiichi Furuya as well as young guns.
Various Locations, Potsdamer Straße 81, 10785 Berlin
A recommended shopping destination form German fashion blogger Jessica Weiß (www.journelles.de) is Ulf Haines, close to Alexander Platz. The airy corner shop stocks women's fashion and German designers such Antwerp-based Stephan Schneider as well as emerging Berlin-based creatives like fashion duo Perret Schaad. International names complete the range. A little further down the road Ulf Haines' also offers a fine selection of menswear, with hats by Mühlbauer. fashion by Comme des Garçons or Adam Kimmel and much more.
Ulf Haines Women, Rosa-Luxemburg-Str.9, 10178 Mitte
Ulf Haines Men, Rosa-Luxemburg-Str.24-16, 10178 Mitte
The famous building of the Neue Nationalgalerie, close to Potsdamer Platz, is a Berlin landmark and was designed by the iconic Mies van der Rohe. It houses a museum for modern art and is part of the National Gallery of the Berlin State Museums, focusing on the early 20th century. After the visit, following Potsdamer Strasse across the canal offers various spots for gallery hopping and shopping.
Neue Nationalgalerie, Potsdamer Strasse 50, Mitte
Housed in the former Danish Embassy, Das Stue presents an elevated concept of luxury. Large open spaces designed by Patricia Urquiola, a Michelin-starred restaurant „Cinco“ by Paco Perez are just some of the highlights of this first class establishment.
Das Stue, Drakestraße 1, 10787 Tiergarten
Based on the idea of a curated travel experience, 38HOURS provides all-in-one city trips to multiple destinations throughout Europe. By booking hotel and flight all at once, the customer benefits from the best rates available, special add-ons such as airport transfers, restaurant reservations, as well as insider information on a selection of experiences, ranging from high-class restaurants to local hot spots.