A place ruled by bohemian values and saturated with culture, twisted with a turbulent history, Berlin is Europe’s coolest city
Like most 23-year-olds, we believe the history of the world (or at least the most interesting bits) began with our birth in 1989. The same year the wall fell and, without a shot being fired, the Cold War was over. It was time to party, and that’s exactly what a group of friends and I set out to do in central Europe’s coolest city…
Why go: A place ruled by bohemian values and saturated with culture, twisted with a turbulent history, the unbeautiful but intoxicating city of Berlin is a melting pot of energy and youth.
When: Now. As gentrification grips Berlin, capitalising on it’s creative cool, something intangible is being lost. Burgeoning Berlin is under threat.
You really must see: Berlin isn’t meant to be seen, it’s meant to be experienced. Once you’ve found the Wall, rent bikes and get lost in Berlin’s greenest park Tiergarten. You’ll discover more looking down than looking up here. Berlin’s war history is crystallised into slabs of pavement that act as subtle memorial stamps around the city. But it’s the lack of prominent war reminders and the creative utilisation of war spaces that speaks more of Modern Berlin. Check out Tuefelsberg, a cold-war relic in Grundewald forest. Formally a US spy station and now an attempt to create the world’s biggest open air street art gallery; the epitome of Berlin’s unerring drive to redefine itself.
Stay at: If there’s a group of you going, there’s nothing like the comradery of renting an apartment together. We couldn’t have picked better than the modern and reasonably priced Urban Apartments (from 139 euro/night for one person up to 259 euro/night for 8 persons) a huge penthouse in Mitte, just a stones through away from some of the city’s best restaurants and bars. Down the road resides the uber stylish private members club Soho House, the place to be seen.
Where to dine: The Vietnamese influences on Berlin’s culinary scene are undeniable and unavoidable. Monsieur Vuong, in central Mitte, is the bad boy. Pictures of the enigmatic name sake adorn the walls, and chowing down on his glass noodle salad, you wouldn’t apprehend him for throwing Gordon Ramsay a few of his own expletives.
Where to party: Platoon Kunsthalle, a shipping container somehow lowered onto Shonhauser Alle, presents progressive and diverse events that showcase the ideas of Berlin’s countercultural elite. The city is unified by its collective obsession with the driving beat of electronic music and Berlin’s underground nightclubs do their best to quench an insatiable thirst for techno. Watergate and Berghain lead this crusade but it was the recently opened Salon Zur Wilden Renate that had us dancing. Electing emerging minimal sounds and playing them in a derelict but somehow opulent labyrinth of connected rooms, one couldn’t help but feel a rare euphoric elation of being part of an institution that is advancing the deep house revolution, if only for a night.
Bring back: For cutesy-crafty, vintage-chic pieces head to Mauerpark where the king of all flee markets is held every Sunday.