Where are the best places to be and be seen on your next city break? Because we love fashion, trendy bars, underground clubs and stylish restaurants, we simply had to find out. So, to help you (and ourselves!)choose the top places for mingling with the rich and famous, we are running a series of features on the coolest, most stylish and trendiest places to visit on your next city break, be it in Melbourne, Hong Kong, Paris or Berlin.
This week, we head to Berlin. Mingle with the hip, slick and cool in the city’s trendy bars and restaurants. If you’re looking for a party, this is definitely the place to be. No run-of-the-mill cocktails and drab decor here. It’s all about the latest, greatest and oh-so stylish. The lack of adherence to the rules of fashion also creates a uniquely cool vibe. Now you can get a potent taste of what contemporary Berlin is all about. But be quick, the Berliners’ preference for the new and unusual means that tastes in bars, art and fashion change at rapid speed.
It’s no coincidence that Berlin is the German capital of cool, where cutting edge fashion, design and architecture rub shoulders with a lively music and art scene. In Berlin, anything goes! Cannabis-flavoured iced tea and Turkish Delight prawns anyone?
So, where are the hotspots right now? In the east of the city, the somewhat downtrodden Friedrichshain is becoming one of the in-neighbourhoods to be seen when visiting the city. With a number of hip bars and modern shops starting to shoot up around Helmholzplatz, this is tipped to be the next Prenzlauerberg – until now, the trendiest place in Berlin where the most famous designers live. Pukemusic has skater clothes that will make you fit in with the young at heart. But Hackeschuss will have you looking like a real Berliner with its stripy coats, plastic cuffs and vintage records.
To find some of the city’s most startlingly original boutiques in Berlin, you have to head to Oderberger Strasse. Here, you’ll meet young fashion graduates stitching crazy clothes in studios at the back of Hit-in-TV and Rock ‘n’ Rot. Fashion has a broad range in Berlin. So, why not do like the Berliners do? Ditch the rules of fashion and buy yourself a unique pair of custom-made jeans that are bound to get you noticed when you return to the UK. Oderberger Strasse is also where you’ll find Kani Mani. In this simple bar with wooden tables actors come to hang out for a laid-back atmosphere. But if you want something more kitsch, Huftgold has dinky pink sofas, Hawaiian hula flowers and psychedelic pictures and Kauf Dich Glucklich has white wooden floorboards, chandeliers and tutti-frutti coloured chairs.
Dine in style...German style
Bohemian types are supping on the 'cannabis cooler' (marijuana-flavoured iced tea) in Assel, which also serves an 'existentialist breakfast', comprising a black coffee and a cigarette, or the 'hangover breakfast', featuring aspirin and Alka-Seltzer. Not your ‘cup of tea’? Well, we don’t blame you, but there is much more to the German food scene. To hang out with the real fashionistas of Berlin, head to Cookies, the so-called ‘fashion victims club’. Visited by models, stylists and photographers, this place calls out for a Gucci dress and a Prada bag and a proper bottle of Champagne is a must. For a more ‘down to earth’ experience (well, not really), Berlin’s highest bar and restaurant is located 207 metres above ground and enjoys fantastic views of the entire city. The Telecafe in Fernsehturm enjoys sweeping views of up to 80 kilometres in all directions. Make sure to visit it on a clear day though.
In Berlin Mitte you’ll find hot Pan Asia, which is one of the most trendy, New York-inspired restaurants in the city. Manga films, light projections and long communal tables account for the hipster quotient at this high-energy restaurant next to the Hackesche Höfe. The menu hopscotches from Thailand to China, via Japan and Vietnam, and back. Visit the restaurant in the summer and you can sit outside in the courtyard and watch trendy Berliners pass by. Oh, and don’t miss the bathroom decor.
Party the night away...literally
Judging only by the number of variety of bars and clubs, Berlin has a phenomenal nightlife, with many of them welcoming Berlin’s in-crowd many nights but mainly in the weekend. Everything about Berlin’s nightlife is refreshingly unpretentious, with the biggest concentration of bars found in Mitte, Prenzlauerberg and Kreuzberg. Many of them have a charming living-room look, with a mixture of period furnishings often acquired at a flea market. If you want to hang out with Germany’s VIPs your may want to choose one of the more sophisticated cocktail bars, but everyone usually ends up in the same style of clubs – huge spaces (often former warehouses) pumping techno and house until the morning, making Berlin one of the world’s major party cities.
Many could compete for the best cocktail bar in Berlin, but Victoria Bar would always rank at the top by any standard. This stylish hotspot with a sleek décor and a dressed up crowd is the place for drinks and to see and be seen. Night-owls will definitely be in their element here as many bars stay open till six in the morning. Beautiful people and city views are found at Weekend, one of the German capital's hottest clubs. It's an ultra-hip place for which you will have to dress your trendy best. It is not easy getting in, but if you're a pretty girl or boy or know someone who is, you increase your chances. The party is on the 13th floor, where electro and tech house are the beats to dance to.
For the best, and newest, places to be seen head to Studio Bar which opened only a few years ago. Owned by its designer Murat Top, the place is decorated with long white padded tunnel interior. Clubbing is generally restricted to the weekend. Berghain in Freidrichshain is loud, exclusive and crazy, according to the locals. With outrageous parties in a cavernous warehouse, Berghain has room for 1,500 party-dressed people. This is the underground club of the moment, where you can party until the morning. The in-crowd also head to Watergate, which has international DJs and floor to ceiling windows where you can watch the sunrise over the River Spree.
It is no wonder why Berlin is often called the New York of Central Europe!