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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.

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!

Stattbad Wedding Into the deep end featured

We’ve always had a soft spot for Wedding. Whether you’re into playing postal code ‘hot or not’ is one thing, but you can’t deny that something is certainly stirring around 13347 these days. And that’s thanks in no small part to the rough-and-ready charms of Stattbad.

The swimming pool closed to the Speedo-clad brigade back in 2001, but what the city lost in aerobic fitness it more than made up for in mental stimulation when it reopened as an offbeat artistic space. What began as pretty make-shift operation is turning into something of a cultural juggernaut. There are regular exhibitions and concerts as well as a street-level bar, urban garden, and weekly vegetarian restaurant.

As good as these things are, it’s the club nights that will have you baying for more. The gimmick of quite literally “diving into the deep end” to dance the night away is worth a few chuckles at first. However, it’s the solid booking and labyrinthine space that provide the laughs everlasting—a fine return on your gamble of heading into nosebleed territory north of the city. Oh and if you can blag or blow your way to an invite, the Boiler Room also takes place in the basement here.

Pointless fact for the linguistically-challenged: It used to be called Stadtbad (public pool) but since the water’s been drained, it’s now referred to as the homophone, Stattbad (instead of a pool…). Pretty clever huh?

John Muir The power of imagination featured

Run by serious drinkers for serious drinkers (by serious, we mean both refined and plentiful) and named after the archetypal outsdoorsman, John Muir exemplifies a rare breed of cocktail joint. One where there’s isn’t a mini parasol in sight, and you don’t have to put on any airs and graces either.

The drinks menu at this subterranean brick-lined bunker cuts the crap with its belting selection of hard liquors that are blended into imaginative new concoctions every month. If an everyman’s G&T or Barcadi coke is your tipple of choice, this is the perfect location to step a little outside of your comfort zone. An Alabama Belt Buckle — which blends Bushmills, Drambuie, fresh lemon, honey-ginger reduction and a Laphroaig rinse — is a good place to start.

And don’t think the ales have been ignored either. Monday night is beer night featuring a rotating assortment of 18 world brews, backed up by the ever-present legendary 8.5% Belgian beer, Delirium Tremens, available only in a bottomless 75cl bottle.

Bar Tausend Beneath the tracks

Bar Tausend doesn’t attract drunk revellers stumbling through Mitte looking for quick tipples and thrills—in actual fact, they wouldn’t even find it. Bar Tausend bears no sign, bell or light at its entrance, preferring instead a bare iron door beneath the Paris-Moskau railway. Also following suit in club protocol is the stiff doorman, who may or may not be snooty – don’t take it personally.

Once inside, the place emerges as a futuristic setting lifted from a Wong Kar-Wai film: lots of glass, curved steel walls and a massive doughnut-shaped fixture broadcasting white light from the end of the long, one-room space. Sleek sofas line the elevated seating areas, many of them reservation-only, while black bar stools cradle attractive boys and girls enjoying champagne and superb cocktails—try the Moscow Mule for size. Despite Tausend’s inconspicuous location, this club is all about seeing and being seen.

Klunkerkranich Quoth the crane, evermore!

There are fancy rooftop bars and then there are Neukölln rooftop bars. The former tends to be a bit on the stiff side, whereas the later is loose in every sense of the word. Created by a four-strong crew of Berlin party organizers and bar owners to be a ‘come one come all’ sort of place, the vibe at Klunkerkranich (German for wattled crane) is very inclusive – young’uns and gray’uns cavort side-by-side as the sun swings across that drop-dead awesome view of the city.

Sitting pretty atop the Neukölln Arkaden, 2500m² of concrete car park has been transformed into a high-altitude paradise of urban gardening and cold beer. Come six o’clock and you’ll have to part with three pieces of silver to gain entrance (if there’s still space). In return, you’ll be entertained by local DJs, acoustic musicians and dreadlocked pyromaniacs — so expect tattoos, trumpets and singed-hair aplenty, not to mention the good times.

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