Row NYC Making you feel brand new featured

Running a hotel in a city that never sleeps might sound like a bad idea. But firstly, it’s only a catchphrase people. And secondly, there’s a new breed of hotels that are harnassing rather than fighting the raw energy of the city – without sacrificing even one of your forty winks.

Since opening towards the start of 2014, Row NYC is a front-runner is this regard and as part of a…

Moritz Bar Where everybody knows your face

Fledgling bars in the outlying neighborhoods of this city are going to love you more than you could possibly imagine. From only your third visit, you will be counted amongst the regulars and treated like the loveable boozehound you are. A stark comparison to the experience at Berlin’s most notorious high-end hotspots, where it’s only after a solid 12 months that you might be welcomed into their post-snarl phase of customer service. Might.

The grinning barkeeps (and brothers), Lukas and Kilian, make you feel like you’re an extra on the set of Cheers—eighties getup is a given in this part of town after all. They really go that extra mile, and that means there’s a spicy schedule of various events and offers: some tried and true (Tatort on Sundays), others a bit more risqué (tequila-soaked, real-life Tinder on Wednesdays). You definitely don’t wanna miss Monday night’s ‘Gay Wedding’ either. Two gin and tonics for a scrumptious €4.50. That’s right, two of them.

Outside of the Ringbahn, outside of your comfort zone, introducing Moritz Bar!

Art und Weise Moonshiners

Quirky, softly-lit bars are to Neukölln what kid-friendly Bio-Cafes are to Prenzlauer Berg. They’re everywhere. In fact, if you fell over within a 1km radius of the Schillerpromenade, you’d probably land on an upcycled armchair with a Moscow Mule in your hand. Such is their abundance, that picking one to park up in can prove problematic (first world problems eh?). Art und Weise, though, is a great place to hedge your bets.

It ticks many boxes of the modern Kneipe: There’s foosball out back, giant art on the wall, and the vibe is more ‘kick back’ than ‘kick off’. Decor-wise, it treads the line between beaten up and slick, with its bare concrete floor, tattered two-seaters, and kitschy crystal-glass ashtrays on the one hand and its polished pinewood bar, velvet-topped stools, and hanging lights on the other. Behind the bar there’s a decent selection of hard liquors (including a fruity and fiery house-made brew called H.E.R.B) that get mixed up into both classic cocktails and funkier, off-the-menu concoctions. If you’re being less adventurous and sticking to the beers, rock up between 6pm and 8pm and you can get a Groß for the price of a Klein.

Friends of the place spin crackly, old gramophone tunes on quieter nights, and let loose with meatier sets of a higher BPM come the weekend. Also, despite the relative lack of space, they host a heap of live art installations, film nights and impromptu jam sessions on an ad-hoc basis. What’s more, to further endear themselves to the Kiez, they go into ice cream production mode come the summer — so you can substitute that post-session Döner for two scoops instead.

westberlin It's Kreuzberg, honest!

Ah Checkpoint Charlie… Best known as a crass tourist free-for-all of chuntering Trabis, Stasi-uniform-selling kebab kiosks, and porn stars posing as US military policemen (true story). A nightmare, it’s fair to say, if you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself caught in the maelstrom. Fortunately, there is a light at the end of this darkest of tunnels: A cafe and print media shop a little further south down Friedrichstraße, on the Kreuzberg frontier, called westberlin.

In true Haupstadt style it’s a collaborative effort. Owner Kai Bröer, an architect by trade, designed the simple light space himself, tricking it out with some angular pinewood touches in the process. He then enlisted the help of Portland transplant and coffee pro April Melnick to oversee the caffeinated side of things. And she knows her stuff. Their beans are delivered fresh from Berlin’s local third wave heroes Five Elephant and lauded Stockholm roastery Drop Coffee, before being ground, pressed, filtered or brewed up with equal panache by the international crew of baristas on site.

Eats-wise, it’s a lunchy-snacky affair: Sandwiches, tarts, salads, cake and cookies. The coffee’s best friends — a who’s who of slick German and international publications for your perusal — though, are over in the opposite corner, where magazine racks snake round an alcove at the back. Browsers fear not, these mags are for trying as well as buying — just make sure you don’t slop any of that nice hot beverage across any of those glossy cover shoots.

Voo Store Conceptually yours

While every retail PR dummy in the world has been spewing the ‘concept store’ tag for nearly a decade now, credit where it’s due, Voo Store is a bona fide bricks-and-mortar concept. And what that means for the layman, one unversed in buzzwords and the correct angle to wear a snapback this season? Well…

This former locksmiths has been converted into an expansively cool space where fashion, art and design mingle effortlessly, as if free prosecco were on tap. Rather than just presenting trendy clothes and accessories from both established and leftfield names, the offering is more all-encompassing than that. Displays and furniture double-up as a showcase for contemporary design whereas the products for sale stretch out from the fashion world to include unique trinkets, gift ideas, and coffee table books. The concept store T’s being crossed by the occasional popup exhibition or fashion week schmoozer, naturally.

Through this breadth and ambience, Voo represents a young, creative and style-conscious scene unlike any other store in the city. Or put more succinctly: Hipster HQ. As evidenced further by the miniature third-wave coffee bar lurking in the corner. At Companion Coffee, a delicately whiskered barista will sort you out with a stonkingly fine brew as you soak up the vibes, getting high on the tailpipe of modern Berlin. Just be careful, in this state, not to spill your jet-black drink over that €1000+ concrete doozy of a table from local design wunderkind, Sigurd Larsen.

Echo Bücher When is a bookstore not a bookstore?

Dedicated to Berlin’s favorite post-Wende pastime – the rave – this is not your regular type of book shop. Reverberating between all the lines of these books is the unz unz of electronic music. In English and German, you will find definitive analyses of club culture from Berlin and further afield. And if you want to turn those K-raddled Monday morning musings from Panorama Bar into your breakthrough novel, here might be the place to pitch it, as there’s a range of “techno novels” on the shelves too. But don’t let that put you off.

Spanish owner David Armengou has created a real paradise for the chin-scratching club kids of Berlin. So if you’re interested in the past, present and future of a scene that has come to define this city over the past 20+ years, then it’s more than worth the BVG boot up to Wedding. Rewards are not just book-based either. Records, posters and t-shirts are also for sale, as well as drinks in the espresso-sized Echo Bücher cafe. There is usually a club-themed exhibition of sorts on the white-plastered walls and then come the weekend, as you might imagine, they’re partial to a party or two. Think: Local label showcases and audio-visual performances.

Ixthys In Korean food we trust

Two Korean widows run this humble 16-seat eatery, which resides right across from a leafy park with a church—highly appropriate, one soon discovers, as the establishment is decked out in serious religious tones. With excerpts from the Bible writ large on the walls, and more religious prophecies than edible items listed in the laminated menus, one thing is clear: These ladies take Jesus more seriously than their food.

Whatever. You will be so overjoyed at the authenticity of the dishes to notice: Steaming yuk gae jang, a spicy beef broth soup, arrives potent with vegetables and shreds of meat; dolsot bibimbop, rice topped with seven different pickled vegetables, meat and a glossy egg, crackles and continues to cook in a hot stone bowl as it’s eaten; the chunks of soy-marinated bulgogi dish are perhaps a bit too heavy in the sesame oil but still smothers the tongue in a sweet aftertaste.

There are only a few things on the sparse menu—mostly ramen noodles, beef dishes and stews, plus Korea’s must-have staple, kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage). The decoration is extremely basic. But still: Sincere service and genuine ingredients at Ixthys outshine a formulaic Buddha-and-paper-lanterns Asian eatery any day.

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