Piano Salon Christophori Wedding music

On stepping into the Salon Christophori, you feel like you have discovered a rare commodity in this world: a place no one else knows about. Located down a quiet, residential street in Wedding, the salon is a workshop-turned-venue that hosts concerts ranging from classical recitals to jazz, with the odd experimental one thrown in too. A truly unique venue, the salon is mesmerising in itself with walls festooned with old piano parts, frets hanging everywhere and all manner of musical oddities lurking in the corners.

It all began when founder (and neurologist no less), Christophori Schreiber, started inviting his friends to play on the historical fortepianos he was restoring in his workshop. (This is actually the salon’s second location after the original one in Prenzlauer Berg was turned over for luxury renovation.) They invited friends to come listen, who in turn invited more people to come play, and nowadays some of the best and brightest musicians in the world are banging down the door to perform here. With an atmosphere so warm and intimate, it comes as no surprise that musicians and audiences return again and again to this cozy little garage. And the best bit? It’s all on a donation basis, even the beer and wine, so whether you’re a classical aficionado or a violin virgin, Salon Christophori beckons.

Vagabund Brauerei Craft beer paradiso

Pilsner is no doubt a good German beer, but they say you can have too much of good thing. Or so thought three American expats after one too many frustrated years supping on the most bland and ubiquitous of beers in Berlin. As you do, they resolved to open a nano brewery in Wedding and make something with a bit more flavor. To fund it they looked to the powers of the internet and quickly raised the money to become the proud Daddies of Europe’s first crowd-funded brewery.

The names of those initial backers are carved into the doorway of their bar room and the sense of community that got Vagabund started is still palpable today. In fact, it’s usually so rammed that you can’t help but get up close and personal with your drinking neighbors. (There are regular open mics and live radio shows that actively court your participation too). Bonhomie aside though, what about the drink? As delicious as it is varied, this is craft beer heaven. We haven’t the space nor the desire to list all the beers you might encounter and they change weekly at any rate, just know that there are saisons and stouts, smoked ales, and IPA’s—some but not all of which are SMaSHs. And if that doesn’t mean anything to you, well, welcome to Real Beer 101.

Neue Heimat Let there be light featured

Whether you’re familiar with the RAW complex from supplying your guiltiest weekend whimsies or as a faux alternative tourist pit, chances are that the deepest corners of this concrete-filled playground weren’t part of the experience. For your own safety, they shouldn’t be. So thought many people, and dark things continued to linger in the shadows of RAW.

Then came superheroes Sebastian Baier, Danny Faber, and Andreas Söcknick, the miracle builders of Bar 25 and Chalet. Since putting aside their turntables, their surging levels of serotonin have been devoted to Neue Heimat, the newly minted night market in town. As of August 2014, the three took over the spacious east end of Revaler Str. 99, illuminated it with dangling lightbulbs, an unmissable sign, and successfully scared the Boogieman away.

Every Sunday it’s a village market flooded with local food vendors (who also partake in Street Food Thursday, Bite Club, etc.), musicians, artists, and a good load of people, who look as though grocery stores not opening on Sunday was and never will be an issue. If you’re lucky, the massage therapist from Michelberger Hotel might even be there to loosen those knots.

Neue Heimat won’t be just another Markthalle Neun though. At the moment visitors only see at most two-thirds of the property, but the founders are cooking up some amazing ideas for additions to the space. These will be actualized in the near future, with the dream of creating a village community out of graffitied shambles.

Kater Blau Into the wild blue yonder

First things first, let’s not compare Kater Blau to Bar 25. Quite simply because it can’t and doesn’t. Once you stop reminiscing about mythical Berlin clubs, however, this newbie becomes a pretty exciting proposition. Spree-side gymnastics officially over, the Kater Holzig crew are back on the sunny side of the river again—this time with planning permission and money on their side.

The hotpotch Holzmarkt complex containing gardens, markets, bars, cinemas and God-knows-what other projects, rolls out towards the east, with Kater Blau as the only defiantly family-unfriendly section hugging the western corner. Classic weapons in their party arsenal—the photo booth, a wood burning fire and of course confetti—make a reappearance but now they’ve added a massive moored boat for extra firepower. Out on deck, there’s a ton of extremely lounge-worthy spots while inside, given the super-dooper new soundproofing, DJs can really do some damage.

For the most part, it’s an eclectic, fun-loving, top hat-wearing crowd—you’ll be fine so long as you don’t stay too late into the day after tomorrow when all manner of degenerates come out of the woodwork. It’s early days still but there are indications of good times ahead, albeit on a smaller scale than the club’s two previous incarnations. Alas, even ravers get old and have to take it easy.

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