The Scene meets Orania.Berlin

When we heard there was a new upscale hotel opening in Kreuzberg, we smirked. Kreuzberg? A district where kebap shops still rule supreme? Where luxury is a swear word and halal is life? Good luck with that. Surely any challenger to the kebap throne would face severe consequences. Luckily, Orania.Berlin isn’t too fussed out. Draped in a red cape with golden elephants on it, the all-new boutique hotel is bringing class back to Kreuzberg.

Actually, Orania is not just a hotel. It’s also a fine dining restaurant. An upscale bar. A literary salon. A music venue. Three times a week, concerts can be attended to in the lobby for as little as 12€. Classic music on Tuesdays, jazz on Thursdays and electro jams on Saturdays, all featuring internationally renowned artists. Orania is far from being „just another upscale hotel“. And yet, some Kreuzbergers don’t approve. The historical sand stone facade had to be cleaned of paint bomb attacks a few weeks back. People don’t trust new things, especially if they resemble luxury.

Inside waits the real highlight – the food. Chef Philipp Vogel is an absolute cooking wizard, inspired by his time in London, Vienna and Shanghai. We kept screaming „YES“ on our way to dinner and went on to scream „OH YES“ with every bite we took. Just mentally of course. We didn’t want to look like the lunatics we are. But damn, it was good. From lukewarm artichokes with octopus to lettuce broth with parmesan-tortellini, we award every dish 11 out of 10 points. Strangely, the first thing that comes to mind is the dessert. French toast with bacon ice cream and a slice of bacon on top. Yes, that’s a thing. Yes, you need to try it.

Let’s be honest. Kebap’s reign in Kreuzberg will continue. But still, Orania is the hero we’ve all been waiting for. True, it’s located in a rough and raw part of town, but that’s just adding to the charm. It’s sophisticated, delicious and unpretentious. It’s everything you want from a hotel and more. We’ll definitely be back!

On Tour – The Great Gatsby

We do all kinds of tours. A mouth-watering Gastro-Rallye? No probs. Wild party nights? Hell, yes. Backstage access? Done. Something more sophisticated, maybe an art tour? We got you. But sometimes, you just need something bigger. 

It’s not like the epic 5-day tour with a Norwegian e-commerce company wasn’t big enough. We visited ElektroCouture, a fashion technology studio pioneering in wearable technology. Then it was off to Berlin’s virtual reality hotspots and Deutsche Bank’s avant-garde bank branch – Quartier Zukunft. In between we slurped on house-made craft beer at Brlo, devoured asian delicacies at Tim Raue’s Sra Bua and relaxed in artists’ refuge Münzstudio. But for the grand final, we wanted more drama. Glamour. Excess.

Destination – Schloss Fleesensee. A luxurious castle with an in-house gourmet restaurant, a private lake and an amazing beach bar. Our guests were relaxing at the beach, taking paddling courses, playing with RC mini boats and having a good time. They had no idea what was the come. But with evening drawing closer, you could feel the tension rising. What was going to happen? 

First – a glamours gala dinner. Everyone smartened up in ravishing outfits. And still, it was just the first course of the night. We handed out masks. „Trust us, you’ll need them.“ And then, it started. With a bang. Many bangs, actually. Fireworks opened a night of exotic geishas, smoky roulette tables, shiny masks, sexy burlesque dancers and lots, lots of confetti. Ladies and gentlemen: the greatest Gatsby party since the 1920s! If there’s one thing we excel at, it’s throwing legendary parties. Don’t believe us? Check out this video and see for yourself.

 

The Scene – 8 New Openings

Sometimes we roam Berlin’s streets and wonder – hey, where did that eatery go? Or – when did this restaurant open? And sometimes even – why is that man not wearing pants? Well, life is tough and not all questions are answered. But with Berlin being a fast-changing metropolis, always fixated on creativity, innovation and a generous dose of pleasure, new venues open on a daily basis. We compiled a list of the 7 hottest openings this autumn. 

Rusty Restaurant
Nestled between trendy Kreuzberg and upcoming Neukölln, Rusty is an unpretentious affair that’ll win your heart at first bite. It’s located in a former brothel gone steak house, so meat has always been on the menu. Rusty isn’t breaking tradition, but it’s changing the recipe. Instead of charging a small fortune for their delicious food, they serve affordable yet generous portions in a down-to-earth environment. Their credo? „From us, for you.“ Neukölln’s food lovers, watch out for this one!

Golvet
Golvet is an all new restaurant on Berlin’s culinary horizon and they’re already reaching for the stars. Michelin stars, to be precise. Chef Björn Swanson formerly cooked at Fischer’s Fritz (2 stars) and Facil (also 2 stars). Our first visit revealed perfect conditions for a stellar rise: mind-blowing food, perfect views over Berlin’s rooftops and a spectacular 13m bar counter. All the ingredients are in place. When the new Michelin Guide is released in January, we’ll see if Golvet can steal the show.

Meisterstück
Obey your MASTER.. MASTER! No, this is not a Metallica song. It’s our recommendation for your first visit to recently opened Meisterstück („masterpiece“) on Ku’Damm. They combine products from master brewers, master bakers and master butchers to masterfully pamper you. On top, more than 100 different beers and 18 tap beers are a promise for fun nights. Combine it with spares ribs and pastrami cooked 16 hours in the smoker and you’ll never want to leave again.

Mivadu
Mivadu is a Vietnamese restaurant celebrating understatement in the heart of hipster hood (Rosenthaler Platz). Their focus is split evenly between authentic atmosphere and delicious noodle dishes. Mivadu is super affordable (mains around 8-10€) and is probably the single best Vietnamese restaurant in its price range. Swing by and try their Pho soup with spring onions, soybean and fresh herbs. It’s cooked to perfection and rounded up by tender rare beef.

The Yard
Newly opened boutique hotel The Yard is a green oasis with a generous garden and a lush terrace designed by star architect Enzo Enea from Zurich. It’s located in a low-key street in busy Kreuzberg, which makes it the perfect getaway for urban explorers. Given that the urban explorers manage to escape the 13 meter pool. Once on the street, you’ll discover one of Berlin’s most vibrant yet raw neighborhoods. Expect a young crowd, rough edges and the perfect hotel for you urban explorations.

Timber Doodle Bar
Timber Doodle… isn’t that a bird? Well, yes. Now it’s also a Berlin-based bar. And what happens when a bird turns into a bar? Easy. The drinks give you wings! Owner and bartender Susanne Baró Fernández has refined her mixing game in Ritz-Carlton’s Curtain Club. She combines self-made syrups, essences from herbs and flowers and rare liquors to create unique cocktail blends. For her, the drinks come second. Number one priority: happy guests. Sounds like something we can get behind.

Stairs Bar
A new concession, water damages and never-ending bureaucracy. It’s been quite a ride before Stairs Bar could finally open in early August. The result is an avantgardistic bar with a low-key, speakeasy attitude in the heart of West Berlin. Despite the lack of hype, there are good reasons to visit. They serve all their drinks in three versions: original, with a classic twist and with a modern twist. For example: Manhattan, Brooklyn and Womanhattan. The last being a wild mix of PX Sherry, peach wine and Jura Diurachs‘ Own whiskey. Drink all three in a row for perfect happiness.

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Chaussee 131
When a Berlin nightlife venue closes for good, we usually sob for days. But the sobbing doesn’t always last. Event location and club Chaussee 131 has risen from the ashes of Larry Bar and it’s even better than before! Without putting up much effort, it’s becoming the new place-to-be in Mitte. Expect excessive parties on Fridays with DJs from former King Size, Bar 25 and Anita Berber. Cool people, edgy location, good drinks. Who was Larry Bar anyway?

Insiders – Sheila Wolf

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This month’s interviewee ranks among Berlin’s foremost burlesque Drag-Queens. When entertainment time is up, she turns into Wolfgang and runs an ad agency. We present: Sheila Wolf!

First things first – how did you become a Drag Queen?

I guess I’ve always had a knack for dressing up. I started as rockabilly as a teen, before I met this drag couple. I was really fascinated about the way they were living. Years later, I started dressing up too and posted pictures on blogs before there was even MySpace. At some point I really wanted to go public. And I did. The adrenalin rush was intense, it almost felt like I was riding a wave. It turned into a hobby. 

Why the name “Sheila Wolf”?

Well.. I felt a little shy at first, so I called myself “Shei”. Of course that turned out to be nonsense. I’m not shy at all! I changed it to “Sheila”. “Wolf” is part of my real name. Wolfgang.

You’re a prominent Drag Queen, run an ad agency and have a family – how do you manage?

It’s all about time-management really. Sometimes important things fall by wayside – the agency, the shows and sometimes even family. It’s not always easy to handle all things well. When it comes to money, the agency comes first. That way I’m independent from the money I make with the shows. It stays more enjoyable that way.

How did your wife react when you revealed you wanted to dress up as a woman?

She was worried – is he turning gay? Does he want to be operated? Or is he just going crazy? Honestly, I think people are either born hetero or gay. They don’t turn gay by some magic force. After that was settled, she was a little concerned I’d fall for one of the young girls in the narrow changing rooms. But the way my dress pinches off my penis… nothing even could happen. *laughs* On the stage I tease men and women a like, but it never goes beyond teasing.

I thought most drag queens were gay. Are there many hetero drags? 

There’s definitely a lot of hetero guys in mommy’s clothes who post it online. They like to dress up in private, but I don’t think anyone does it the way I do in public. It works because for me it’s nothing sexual. It’s a show, a provocation – it’s burlesque!

What do you love about being a drag?

A younger me would have said: I love being able to take a vacation from myself. My personality changes when I get styled. Sorrows and worries just disappear with the dress. Now I’m managing 3-5 performances a week, so it also gets stressful. What still drives me is the chance to connect with amazing people and make new friends along the way. 

Do people sometimes feel offended by your look?

I found this see-through look 3 years ago. It looked like I was nude below. A woman’s body. Of course it’s all an illusion. But sometimes, real tough hetero guys can’t tell in the dark. They approach, expecting to find a curvy lady. What they get is a little different. I think I already caused some heart-attacks. Some get confused by the deep voice and run away, others get aggressive. Then it’s time for me to tell them to calm down and soothe the waves. But the thing is… I really like to provoke.

You were born in Berlin. How did the city change in the past 10-15 years?

I love Berlin. I’m in a happy and deep relationship with this city, it’s literally the only place I’d want to live. But it’s easy flair from the 80s is long gone, what’s really pissing me off today is gentrification. Small shops and venues have to close for malls and large chains of stores. Parts of the creative scene are breaking away because they can’t afford the rents anymore. It’s sad to see, but no one leaves anyway. 

Berlin in 3 words?

Creative. Colourful. Sleepless.

What’s your favourite place to go?

My new favourite restaurant is Funky Fish on Alte Kantstrasse. Amazing selection of fish dishes and absolutely delicious! A must-visit if you’re in Berlin is our city’s little Moulin Rouge: Wintergarten.

Ok, we know where we’re going to dinner tomorrow! Thanks for the interview, Sheila.

If you want to see Sheila Wolf perform live, swing by at her new revue show at Wintergarten on October 15th. Sheila invited the crème de la crème of the international cabaret and burlesque scene, rounded up by a portion of boylesque and drag. Learn more here

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On Tour – Trend-hunting with IKEA

Great furniture, delicious hot dogs and åwesøme product names. I guess you already know who we’re talking about. To discover retail concepts and innovations that will change the way we shop, eat and live in the future, we teamed up with IKEA’s sales department for a special trend hunting tour. Did we deliver? Read on an find out.

First stop. A restaurant that doesn’t want your cash. Wait, what? At Data Kitchen, you order online and pick up your freshly-cooked food from a glass box. The next big thing? Maybe not. But definitely fun. Just imagine ordering 5 hot dogs before you’re even at IKEA. The future is now, ladies and gentleman. Next on: Nike’s flagship store. Shop assistants connect with customers as they stroll through the store. If you want to buy something – zzzap – it’s done on the spot with a mobile look-alike terminal. The latest fashion trends can be found in LNFA store at Bikini Mall, where local designers showcase their newest creations in an industrial-like concept store.

At the world’s first vertical garden & restaurant, you watch your food grow. Good Bank is a pioneer for circular economy and they grow their salad behind the counter. No spraying, no waste. Further south, their brother-in-mind ECF Farm operates Europe’s most advanced aquaponics project. They use nutrient-rich water from their fish farm to cultivate vegetables. The scale is a little bigger here – they’re the supply basil for REWE, a Germany wide super market chain. 

Last but not least, we visited creative Berliners at their home. For laughs? Yes. For drinks? Certainly. But especially to show our clients how IKEA furniture is set up at private homes by Berlin’s notorious out-of-the-box-thinkers. So, if you see in-store gardening, personal shop assistants or a cashless IKEA in the future… just remember. The ideas were born in Berlin. 

Global Hotspot – Beirut, Berlin’s Brother From Another Mother

It’s our first day in Beirut. We stroll down the beach while well-trained youths play volleyball in waterfront beach clubs. Somewhere close a Ferrari’s engine roars to life. With a Pina Colada in hand and a dazzling blue sky above our heads, the eerie ruins in the distance almost seem to disappear. Almost. They’re a remnant of the civil war from 1975-1990, tearing country and people apart. The traces show all over the city, but that doesn’t seem to bother the tanned sun-

seekers on the lively beach.

Beirut get easily overseen, thanks to prejudice and the general feeling that the Middle East is not a safe place to go. On the upside that keeps boring mainstream tourists at bay and lures brave travellers into the country. Where they quickly realise Beirut isn’t the Middle East.  It’s a fashion-conscious metropolis, open-minded and strongly tied to the Western world. Just imagine our endless joy when we discovered it’s one of the few Arab countries that lets you buy champagne! Consequently, their pumping nightlife is every bit as hedonistic as Berlin’s. The city’s hustle and bustle can be a little overwhelming at first, but once seduced, you’ll be craving for more. From warm-hearted hospitality to outstanding nightlife, Beirut is a city sure to enthrall your senses.

HIGHLIGHTS

National Museum - Beirut’s main cultural institution. Features an impressive collection of bronze figurines, human-faced sarcophagi and byzantine mosaics.

Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque - An imposing structure and architectural landmark with towering 65m minarets. Designed in historical Ottoman-style, the mosque is the Sunnis’ place of worship.

Art Center - The Art Center explores what’s new in contemporary Middle Eastern art and is recognized as a leading voice in the Lebanese culture scene. On 1,500 square meters art lovers find exhibitions from local and international artists with a focus on photography and video.

Pigeons’ Rock – A stunning natural two-rock formation standing like gigantic sentinels to the city. It’s located right off the cliffs of busy Raouché district and fascinates locals and tourists alike.

Beirut Souks - Beirut’s major commercial district boasts over 200 shops, 25 restaurants, cafes, street markets, a children’s science museum and a 14 cinema complex. It’s every shopping-queen’s come true.

Archaeological Museum - The third oldest museum in the Middle East after Cairo and Constantinople is a haven for archaeology fans. Located on the American University of Beirut’s campus, they boast well-preserved artifacts. The entrance is free.

Zaitunay Bay - Built on 20.000 m2 prime ground, this urban beach extends along the waterfront of Beirut’s high-end streets. It’s essentially a concentrated version of all the lifestyle and luxury Beirut has to offer.

Sursock Museum - Known as thriving center of cultural life, Sursock was devastated by the civil war. A €10m makeover have once again turned the Italian-style mansion into a hotspot for art lovers, poets and playwrights.

American University - Initially set up for medical training by the US, the American University of Beirut now ranks among the top universities in Lebanon. It’s picturesque campus spans across 25 hectars, boasts a private beach, a bird sanctuary and a botanical garden.

Station Beirut - A hybrid cultural space dedicated to presenting bold, contemporary and progressive content. Launched in September 2013, the venue seeks to contribute to the regional creative scene by offering a platform for artists and curators in the visual, performing and digital arts.

Development and Architecture

For the past 5,000 years, Beirut’s center was the city’s pulsing heart. From colorful grocers to street vendors, small cafes and shouting fishmongers, it was bustling with life. Then came the civil war. After it left the city devastated, a half private, half public company called „Solidere“ was founded by billionaire and then-prime minister Rafik Hariri to restore the center.

Solidere is equipped with both compulsory and regulatory powers, allowing it to manage the city centre like a mini-barony. Vendors and grocers have been replaced by Gucci and Luis Vitton stores. With Solidere’s „restorations“ halfway done, the center now feels strangely deserted. Who’s to afford these luxury goods? Certainly not Beirut’s residents.

What the city’s developers are creating is a largely deserted area disconnected from the city’s soul. That’s not to say the architecture isn’t impressive. From 23-storey 3 Beirut and its 3 green-roofed towers to the cliff-like Beirut Terrace and the whopping 195m Sama Beirut, the architecture looks amazing. If you want to feel Beirut’s soul, go to Badaro or Mar Mikhaël.

Cool Neighborhoods

Badaro
Badaro’s picturesque streets are lined with grocers, small eateries, pubs and upscale eateries. The residents are a wild mix of impoverished Christian bourgeoisie, bohemian mid 30’s and urban professionals. Lovely. While the up-and-coming district is a bustling business hub at daytime, it turns into a pulsing hotspot at night. At its center is Badaro Street, where you’ll find cozy eateries and fancy bars including well-known chains like Dany’s, Lina’s and Bodo.

Hamra
Hamra Street is one of the main economic hubs. Formerly known as Beirut’s Champs Elysées, it emits a cosmopolitan vibe and houses historical cafes and theaters. Hamra district is crowded with young people, because it’s also home to the famous American University of Beirut. Don’t mind the spontaneous street events, they happen regularly. Swing by at „78 Street“ (known as „the alleyway“) and enjoy Hamra’s main pubbing and clubbing hub.

Downtown
Modeled after 20th century European cities, Downtown is the the district of posh hotels, stylish shops and upscale restaurants. On Nejmeh Square you’ll find the world famous Ottoman-style clock tower. Nearby Martyr’s Square has a history of public demonstrations and is home to the bullet-holed martyr’s statue. It’s rounded up by Solidere district – the French mandate city center turned high-end shopping area.

Hotel District 
The all-new hotel district expands the prewar city center towards the Mediterranean sea. It’s a high density area with a mix of residential, office, hotel and leisure developments. While it’s not the raw Beirut experience, it’s slowly coming to life with new hotels such as Monroe Hotel, 4 Seasons and Beirut Tower.

Bourj Hammoud 
Also known as Beirut’s Armenian soul, Bourj Hammond is a distinctive muncipality with an unique flair. It’s an intriguing mix of industrial, commercial and artisanal areas with narrow alleys and plenty of Armenian flags. Wait, Armenian flags? Fleeing a genocide, Armenian refugees were rescued by french boats and relocated to Beirut in 1915. They turned a swampy area into a lively neighborhood. While you’re there, grab a “lahme bajeen” – a very thin pizza with mince meat doused in lemon juice. Delicious.

Corniche
Corniche Beirut is a seaside promenade in Central District. Lined with palm trees, the waterfront esplanade offers visitors a magnificent view of the Mediterranean and the summits of Mount Lebanon to the east. Corniche is also home to many of Beirut’s architectural landmarks, such as Platinum Tower, University Tower and the lighthouse.

Rue Gouraud
Named after a French General, Rue Gouraud competes with trendy Badaro’s flair. It’s a mixed residential and commercial street in Gemmazey district. It’s lined with trendy bars, restaurants and historic buildings from the French era. Travel + Leisure magazine labelled it „SoHo by the sea“ due to its colorful and chic cafés amidst 1950 apartment buildings.

Mar Mikhaël
Long considered Beirut’s trendy district, Mar Mikhaël’s glory has faded a little with the re-emergence of Badaro. While Badaro and Rue Gouraud undeniably share the nightlife’s throne, Mar Mikhaël has stepped up to conquer artists & fashionista’s hearts. With many trendy boutiques, antique furniture stores and art galleries in the area, it’s the place-to-be for everything artsy and creative.

Restaurants & Cafés

Villa Badaro (Top pick) 
As the name suggests, this restaurant-pub is located in a renovated vintage villa in Badaro. From luscious greenery to mouth-watering food, colorful decor and a chill atmosphere – everything at Villa Badaro spells love. The menu shows Japanese and American influences and boasts a selection of salads, tuna dishes, burgers and steaks. Drop by on Monday night to enjoy amazing cheese fondue and beef pierrade!

Liza Beirut
After earning critical praise for her Lebanese eatery in Paris, Liza Asseily opened a second dependance in the city that inspired her in the first place. Liza Beirut occupies a 500sqm space of a 19th-century palace in the stylish Achrafieh neighborhood. The venue is divided into the Building Room, Money Room and Banana room. The kitchen serves classic Lebanese cuisine. Our tip: Grilled halloumi with sweet tomato jam.

Gavi
Here comes the best Italian food in Beirut, maybe Lebanon! Gavi is an upscale restaurant in the gardens of the Kampai building. If you hadn’t noticed it’s upscale, the 24k gold leaf on your risotto might remind you. The food is so disgustingly good that while you’re eating, you start missing the little Italian town you’re not even from. Tears were shed after the last gnocchi was devoured, but hey. You can always come back.

Gilt
Gilt combines food, design and music to turn a normal dining experience into an immersive cultural evening. The menu fuses Mediterranean influences with Asian and Peruvian dishes. The interior: Subdued grey and white tones are mixed with blue, accompanied by wood elements and dimmed light. The decor is at the same time a bit funky and strangely pleasant.

Petit cafe
Let’s be honest – Petit Cafe isn’t exactly a culinary highlight. But the view is nothing short of spectacular. Sitting atop a cliff, it allows perfect views over Pigeon’s rock and the surrounding azure-blue sea. We whole-heartedly recommend it for a shisha and a few drinks. Don’t expect too much from the food.

Manara palace cafe – Great selection of appetizers and nice view over the sea

Casablanca restaurant Combination of Asian and Lebanese organic cooking

Boulevard Beirut – Combines the epicurean richness of home-cooked and traditional Lebanese cuisine

Al Mandaloun Sur Mer – Grilled sea bass, oysters and lobsters combined with an amazing view over the ocean.

Meat the Fish – Delivers a signature line of smoked fish, shellfish sea food and premium meat free of charge

Basterma Bedo – Specialist in Soujouk, Makanek, Basterma and Roast Beef

Mayrig Beirut – Armenian restaurant adapting popular classics of Armenian cuisine, while generously borrowing from Lebanese influences 

Chez Claude – Amazing french restaurant with a choice selection of wines 

Mounirs – In the heart of an old pine forrest Mounirs serves excellent Lebanese cuisine

Babel Restaurant – famous for serving progressive Lebanese mezza and platters 

Sud Resto - Italian restaurant with rooftop and great cocktails

Cafe Em Nazih – Hearty Lebanese food well-loved by locals and tourists alike

Appetito Trattoria – Italian restaurant ideal for romantic dates

Seza Bistro - Armenian food in a cozy atmopshere

Party Destination

Beirut is a haven for hedonistic night owls. It shares the same liberal attitude towards partying and alcohol as Tel-Aviv to the South. LGTB will be surprised how open minded people are and what Beirut has to offer. A rarity in Arabic countries! Enjoy the freedom and the diversity of people but always take caution. The same goes for enthusiastic drink lovers, who want to enjoy a beer or two, or maybe twenty. No-one bats an eye! While most eyes are on nightlife havens like Berlin, New York, London and Miami anyway, Beirut is easily overlooked. But once you’re inside BO18, a bunker turned legendary club, or inside Uberhaus with its unique lighting rig, your jaw drops to the (dance)floor. This is GOLD! Coming form a Berliner, that counts for something. Learn more in this amazing video:

Bars

Cherry on the rooftop (top pick) 
Rooftop bar Cherry attracts a young and stylish crowd. Its name stems from a catchy cherry painting hanging at the entrance. Relax on a cozy red couch and enjoy amazing views over Beirut, the Lebanese mountains and the blue Mediterranean sea. The highlights are the fruity and punchy cocktails suited for sharing with friends.

Iris Beirut
Iris is vintage, rustic and ranks among the best rooftop locations in Lebanon. The lounge bar has broken out from the mainstream’s blaring beats and mundane pub culture and created a unique rooftop experience. A minor setback is the amount of tables – when it gets crowded, it gets noisy and you crave more space.

Demo Bar
Located in the backstreets of Gemmayzeh district, this cozy and dimly lit bar attracts young and old alike. Demo is an unpretentious affair and the perfect place for a casual night out. During weekdays it offers great cocktails and pleasant background music. On the weekends loud hip hop and dance music swells into a full-blown party mix. The place gets so wild that part of the party gets carried onto the street regularly.

Torino Bar
Set in the vault of a 1930 Beirut house, Torino is a pretty puristic bar experience. The interior is sparse, the drinks are strong and the crowd is just right. It ranges from hip kids to medium-cool and regular, but always friendly. When night draws closer, bottles are popped and things quickly get out of hand. We approve.

Kissproof
One of the busiest spots in trendy Badaro, Kissproof attracts an energetic and international crowd. It’s the in-place for French students, so expect to hear more French than Lebanese or English. They also serve great pub food for your after-drink meat cravings, and it’s very affordable. Booze-fueled weekends are followed by lazy hangovers, so Kissproof decided to remain closed on Mondays.

Capitole – Restaurant & roof bar 

The Roof by Four Seasons – Hotel rooftop bar with special blend cocktails 

Anise – Cozy bar offering the best Bloody Mary in town 

Internazionale – 1950s American chic with dark wood furnishing 

Molo – At Molo, you share good food, great music and even better drinks 

Troika – A mix of café, bar and restaurant with simple and pleasant design

Salon Beirut – Great venue for live bands and snug dates 

Dany’s pub – A local’s favourite cafe-bar-lounge with local DJs 7 days a week 

Bardo Bar (Gay friendly) – An open-minded crowd, chill atmosphere and lots of pretty waiters 

Clubs 

AHM (top pick!)
AHM is a huge brand-new music temple on the waterfront. It was kept under a cloak of secrecy before the opening. It turned out to be a real blast. It boasts mast-like lightning structures on the main floor and a spacious rooftop. AHM drives crowds wild with soul music on Wednesdays, disco & house on Thursdays, pop & classics on Fridays and special club nights on Saturdays, featuring techno heroes like Victor Ruiz, M.A.N.D.Y. and Max Cooper.

BO18
A spectacular venue that’s literally underground. Located in a bomb-shelter lookalike, it’s been voted among the best clubs in the world several times. It was one on the first clubs that underlined Beiruts ambitions to become a worldwide nightlife destination. Its metal facade features an hydraulic apparatus that moves the retractable roof. What this means? The club’s roof just disappears into the walls and ravers gaze at the stars above when the beat drops.

SKYBAR
After a fire burned it down in 2015, SKYBAR returns with a bang! It fits up to 2500 party-goers per night and focuses on techno, rave & house music. The rooftop club sits right behind the waterfront and offers spectacular views over the sea. The downside: Skybar is a club all about seeing and being seen. On some nights, people stare more than they party. Amateurs.

The Gärten by Überhaus
In a unique setting below a glass dome, The Gärten features international and local DJs hitting the decks every weekend. The sound system is absolutely massive, the lights and visuals are smashing. If you want to relax for a bit, you can grab a bean bag and enjoy the spectacle from a distance.

O1ne
While Skybar is the place-to-be on hot, steamy days (and nights), O1NE is the banging indoor location for cold winter nights. Its walls are completely white, brought to life at night with a mind-blowing 360° video mapping. The changing visuals are an amazing way to create different atmospheres during the night. This place adjusts to its artists like a chameleon!

The Grand Factory – Stylish underground venue for concerts, multi-social gatherings, cultural events and happening of all sorts and flavors

Yukunkun – An alternative club and music venue located in Gemmayzeh focusing on eclectic groovy sounds from all genres

Seven Sisters - A green island in skyscraper-packed center where you can enjoy sunset drinks, listen to lounge music and live-bands and of course – party on the weekends

Beach Clubs

Sporting Club
Sporting Club occupies a loving spot in many Beirutis’ hearts since the 1950s. To many it feels like a second home. It attracts a colorful crowd from bronze-tanned Lebanese beauties to old men playing chess and youngsters drinking beers on the beach. If you can’t be bothered to jump into salt water, there are two pools to cool you down. While you can enjoy hearty Lebanese snacks at the poolside restaurant, there’s 5-star seafood just up the alley.

Madame Bleut - An urban beach resort in the midst of Beirut’s hustle & bustle somewhere between simple & luxurious

Bain Militaire - Swimming club in the heart of Beirut with great food and reasonable prices

Riviera Hotel - Boasts a stylish main pool, a family pool area and a floating island

Mövenpick Hotel Beirut - Vast outdoor pools with access to a private beach

Hotels

Le Gray (top pick)
Sleek, stylish and cosmopolitan. Located on Martyrs’ Square, Le Gray is capturing the image of the „new Beirut“ perfectly. Its exceptional design and service steal the show among Beirut’s upscale hotels. It’s just moments away from the city’s museums, shopping areas and thriving nightlife scene. 100% recommended.

Staybridge Suites Hotel
Just the rooftop and its pool are worth the visit! You can casually splash around the water while enjoying a view over Beirut’s infamous skyline. The suites aren’t lacking either. Well-equipped kitchens, a spacious salon and an inviting balcony made us feel at home in split seconds.

Phoenicia Beirut
What Adlon Hotel is to Berlin, Phoenicia is to Beirut. It’s considered a true Beirut landmark and is located just a stone’s throw from sophisticated art, dining, shopping and entertainment spaces. It boasts a beautiful view over Zaitunay Bay and Beirut’s famous Corniche.

Lancaster Plaza – 5 star hotel featuring a night club, sun deck and an indoor pool

Hotel Albergo - Luxury boutique hotel with deluxe suits, private apartments and 2 gourmet restaurants

O Monot - A quiet, luxurious oasis amidst Beirut’s hustle and bustle

Le Patio - An exclusive Boutique Hotel superbly located within Beirut’s most upscale residential area.

The Key – A sleek and contemporary aparthotel in Beirut’s museum district

Excursions

1. Byblos (top pick) - Arguably believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world

2. Cave adventure - Explore extraordinary stone forms of curtains, columns, draperies and mushrooms

3. Bonita Bay Beach – if you are looking for a cluster of cool Beach clubs and Beach bars side by side along the crystal blue sea you should head to Batroun. The best choice is Loco Beach Resort with its panoramic pool. Their neighbours are also great beach spots to visit for lunch or dinner – White Beach Lebanon, Pierre Friends and Oasis Beach Restaurant. The nearby Le Six Hotel is a good choice if you want to stay across the street to all beach bars!

4. Harissa – A Sanctuary of Virgin Mary, located on one of Beirut’s most beautiful hills 

5. Chateau Ksara – Visit Beirut’s famous winery, followed by a tour of the historic two-kilometer Roman caves, where their rarest and finest vintages are stored  https://libanonweine.de/libanon/ksara/

6. Baalbek – A beautiful town with historic sites dating back to 8.000 before Christ (travel warning, only with guide!)

7. Tyre - referred  to as “Queen of the Seas” 

8. Baatara waterfalls 

Cool city walking tour
Jana
Alternative Tour Beirut
+961 71 273 712

Private driver & in-the-know guide
Rami
+96171645488
Ramyouzbachi82@outlook.com

Useful links

Beirut’s official webpageSecret’s of Beirut, Timeout’s extensive city guideThe Culture Trip’s insider guideBeach resorts & clubs in Lebanon, AirBNB’s Beirut Guide

The Scene – Sustainable Berlin

Can sex save the world? Berlin moans “yeees“. NGO Fuck For Forrest sells home-made erotic videos to buy a piece of rainforest and save the indigenous population. Sustainability meets hedonism. Level: Berlin. In a city where dreamers become makers, sustainable lifestyle has become an increasingly profitable business opportunity. Eco start ups, healthy eateries and sustainable business models create the chance for a greener future. Not just for Berlin, but the whole world.

FUCK FOR FOREST – Trailer from Michal Marczak on Vimeo.

Berlin-based Veganz is Europe’s first vegan supermarket chain. Their outlets are surrounded by organic eateries like The Bowl, urban gardens like Princess Garden or Holzmarkt and fair-trade fashion brands such as Wunderwerk and Bleed Clothing. Even more remarkable are Berlin’s trendsetting eco start ups. At Luritec, they’re fighting pollution with a clever system that prevents wastewater from being discharged into rivers and oceans. Europe’s biggest aquaponics project ECF is an eco-friendly urban fishfarm that uses nutrient rich water from their farm to grow vegetables indoor. The all-new eco center for out-of-the-box thinking is Circular Economy House CRCLR. Here you’ll find workshops, exhibitions and panels about resilience, longevity and circular economy. Circular economy describes a system without waste, just like nature’s own ecosystem. Wouldn’t it be great to live in a world without pollution?

When you’re in Berlin, open your mind and explore these innovative start ups. Make sure to visit at least ECF Farm Systems to be amazed, Wunderwerk to shop sustainably and Holzmarkt to enjoy a drink in an urban oasis. Still not sure where to begin? Write us a love letter and we’ll organize a tour for you that would make even Al Gore proud.

The Scene – Summer’s Hottest Openings

The sun’s shining, dresses get shorter by the day and the hipsters on Torstraße can finally drink their club mate until sunrise on the street again. Even if you’re not looking to get your party game on, summer is a hugely interesting time. New restaurants and eateries sprout up in spring, and summer shows who’s on the road to full bloom. Naturally you can’t check them all out, so trust your favourite lifestyle agency to find  the best ones. We compiled a list of 8 hot new restaurants this summer. Each and every venue is a real tongue pleaser.

Gärtnerei
With all the hedonism at night, it’s no wonder there’s a craze for healthy food temples. Gärtnerei in Mitte is the latest landmark for exceptional vegetarian restaurants. The interior is an atmospheric oasis boasting green plush couches and a small bar counter. The menu is minimalistic – just the three main ingredients per dish are revealed. Fear not – for unwavering carnivores there’s also a few choice dishes with meat.

Golden Phoenix
Duc Ngo is Kuchi’s founder and the mastermind behind 893 Ryotei. He’s also one of the most formative wizards behind Berlin’s young dining scene. In Hotel Provocateur’s in-house restaurant Golden Phoenix, he’s fusing french and asian cuisine. His aim is to cook the dishes from his childhood, just even better. Is it even possible to top grandmother’s recipes? Find out in good old West Berlin.

Katerschmaus
You’ll find this new gem in recently opened Holzmarkt. It boasts lovely modern cuisine right by the Spree on the former premises of Berlin’s notorious Bar25. Kitchen head Hayk Seirig was already chef when they were serving beats rather than food, but how times change! The real candy: You can stay at surrounding Holzmarkt for beers, laughs and company after or before dinner. It’s an urban getaway for locals and travellers alike.

PeterPaul
Let’s face it: If you’re super hungry, you’ll need to make quite an order at PeterPaul. They serve delicious German cuisine (yes, it exists) in snack-sized portions. The recipes are a blast from the past, served as modern interpretations. Think Königsberger meatballs, rolled beef, Swabian ravioli in exciting new variations. What made it stand out: The great atmosphere mixed with rich flavours and a superb Austrian wine selection.

Vertikal
Vertikal’s house facade is covered by an impressive ocean of plants. Their food is just as exciting. Contemporary European cuisine with Asian and African influences. Now, if that doesn’t sound promising! Owner Claire from New York came here 7 years ago – for love. After trying her toast with roasted onion, pickled avocado, goat cheese and poached egg, we know it’s the same reason we’ll be coming to Vertikal for the next 7 years.

Con Tho
Con Tho’s a culinary oasis in the middle Neukölln’s hustle and bustle. They put emphasis on serving “healing” food, so 2/3 of ingredients stem from regional productions. Their amazing selection of drinks was made with the knowledge of buddhists monks. Expect vietnamese vegetarian & vegan cuisine cooked to perfection.

Good Bank
Innovation done right: Good Bank grows its own food. Behind the small venue’s counter there’s an in-shop farming system that grows salad. Obviously they can’t grow all their ingredients in their restaurant, but it’s still a definite step towards more urban sustainability. You can choose your ingredients and create your own super-fresh food experience as you sit. The future is now.

Spreegold meets Bikini
Spreegold is the perfect all-rounder for upscale fast food in atmospheric venues. They serve great breakfast, salads, pasta, burgers, steaks and bar food at night. Their outlet at Bikini Berlin is their third venue in Berlin and stretches across three floors. First floor – to-go area for quick eats. Second floor – restaurant, lounge areas and workspace with 350 seats. Third floor – rooftop bar with great views of the surrounding area. When the weather’s good you can dine al fesco on their spacious rooftop terrace.

The Scene meets Kleine Nachtrevue

Love is in the air. But not here. Here, it’s raw attraction. Arousal. Temptation. The first round of drinks has been served, the light is dimmed low. Is it just us or did it get hot in here? Two beautiful burlesque dancers appear on stage. It isn’t long until they start slipping out of their sparkling red dresses. The energy level rises. A woman sitting next to us in the dark whispers “God, even I would take these beauties home”. 

In Berlin wet dreams are never far, but finding something sophisticated can be challenging. Luckily, Kleine Nachtrevue isn’t a strip club but an intimate burlesque venue tickling your erotic fantasies. It’s a haven for erotic theatre, nude ballett and all things kinky. It makes you smirk, cheer, admire and of course – aroused. The easy play with nudity makes you want more at one second and lets all sexual appeal disappear in the next. Suddenly, you see it clearly: it’s just naked bodies dancing. Only a moment later, the show shifts back to its seductive play and temptation returns with a bang. Wonderful!

The show has its edges (super weird scene including a baby costume) but they just make it more likeable. It’s raw, authentic, honest and doesn’t crave for perfection. It’s Berlin in a nutshell, with all the hedonism, twists, turns and kinkiness. When the curtains fall and the star of the show enters the stage, you realise maybe you were wrong. Love IS in the air. 

Opened Wednesday to Saturday, shows start 9pm. Swing by and be amazed!

On Tour – Living (in) The Dream

It’s a horror story come true. Brexit is real. Trump is real. The Kardashians are still famous. In short: It’s the perfect time to move to Berlin. 

Berlin’s upscale real estate is developing rapidly. As trend scouts it’s our holy duty to always be one step ahead. Take that step with us and join us for our brand new & hand-tailored Real Estate Tour! It’s designed for people looking to escape the boring monologues of real estate agents. Instead, we’ll reveal all the neighbourhood’s secrets, tell you about its residents and what makes the district’s heart beat. You’ll get a glimpse at the real Berlin. Rough, raw and strictly off the list of property agents. Together we’ll discover the Berliner in you and find the perfect place for your desires.

So, what could these places look like? We helped a young entrepreneur couple from UK with property inspiration, real estate insights and our know-how about Berlin’s lifestyle scene. This is the lustrous list we compiled:

Sapphire - Stylish apartments by Daniel Libeskind. Mitte
Sharp corners, sleek edges and twisted perspectives. The sapphire-shaped house is the talk of the town. Every flat is unique in shape and size. It faces the new headquarters of German’s national security agency BND. Not recommended for mafia bosses!

Penthouse Bevernstraße – Work & live. Kreuzberg
A custom-made rooftop space right on the Spree. A sun-filled, calm environment above the purr of the city’s hustle and bustle, just steps from Kreuzberg’s Schlesisches Tor. The perfect mix between urban cool and upscale living.

Urban Treehouse – Green getaway. Grunewald
If you like a metropolis’ flair but still want perfect calm when coming home, this treehouse in Berlin’s greenest district is the place to live. It boasts 2x28sqm treehouses and a 650sqm garden property. It’s proximity to lush swimming lakes and a major forest put it at #1 for picturesque getaway homes.

Villa Hartneck – Luxurious interior design.
Sounds good so far? It get’s better. In a neoclassical villa that can be rented for events, we connect you with interior design wizards. They’re the geniuses behind numerous luxury properties in Berlin, but also worked on millionaire’s wet dream Marco Polo Tower in Hamburg. Whatever your desire, they’ll make it come true.

So you see, there’s no need to worry about the Trumps and Brexits in this world. Berlin has you covered. Contact us now and we’ll arrange a tour with you that fits your needs.