Monthly Archives: June 2015

Global Hotspot – Sri Lanka

I wish you a long and happy life” is the traditional greeting of Sri Lanka’s friendly citizens. However, the country has long been a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s that beautiful tropical island that boasts a spectacular combination of white sand beaches, stunning landscapes, exotic wildlife and an unique cultural heritage. On the other hand, the country was war-torn for a quarter century and its east coast was badly devastated by the 2004 tsunami. Add a little (read: a lot) corruption on top and voila, you’ve got all the ingredients needed for a questionable international reputation.

Buckle up, here’s the news: Those times are over! The war is long over and the new government is trying hard to fight the rotten roots of corruption. Sri Lanka now finds itself in the spotlight of countless international travel guides as it emerges as one of the world’s best tourist destinations, boasting eight (!) Unesco World Heritage Sites, epic surf locations, tropical rainforests and pristine beaches. We’ll tell you this much already: all the buzz is justified.

The country’s picturesque beauty is still clouded by the remnants of war: left overs of military checkpoints, sniper hideaways and ruins of internment camps are a constant reminder of the country’s bloody recent past. However the repairs and infrastructure are coming along nicely: a 100 mile ride from the airport to the southern coast, where international buyers who have smelt the bait take up residency these days, now only takes 2 hours rather than 6. 

The newly won ease of access to the island is a big plus for any tourist looking for some adventurous days with visits to Sri Lanka’s famous beaches, bamboo grooves or wild grounds where exotic animals such as elephants or leopards still reign supreme. The improved infrastructure also caused a boom in the hotel scene on the island. Upscale hotels add a touch of luxury to the exotic island and make it even more attractive for international travellers. Now, while Sri Lanka is still pleasantly uncrowded, is the best time to hop on a plane and discover the island’s mesmerising beauty by yourself!

Berlinagenten’s exclusive 14 day trip

Since we’re always aiming to supply you with the best tips and secrets wherever the wind takes us, Berlinagenten has spared no effort and compiled the perfect route for two weeks of culture, discovery and adventure. First tip: It’s not a must, but the easiest way to go will be to hire a private driver for the trip. Prices are around 100€ per day including car and fuel.

1. Kandy

Welcome to the Kandy Krush Saga! Located in the center of Sri Lanka, Kandy was the residency of Sri Lanka’s last King until he was forced to step down in 1815. The city of 120.000 can easily be reached by train from Colombo – passing through a spectacular jungle scene it’s definitely a very pleasant way to do so.

Biggest highlight is the Sacred Buddhist Temple of the Tooth, which is considered to be one of the holiest places for buddhists from all over the world! It’s located within the walls of the royal palace, which features other vast cultural treasures such as the four hindu Devales (hindu temples) or the holy Bodhi-Tree, guarded by a chained elephant.

Since the days in the heritage city Kandy can become a little hasty, you’re well advised to have a little break every now and then to refill your spirits. Our absolute favourite spot was the British Colonial style Queen’s Hotel, the perfect spot to sip on a cocktail (or tea if you’re driving) while overlooking the splendid surroundings of the picturesque Kandy lake.

2. The Nature Route. Kandy -> Nuwara Eliya -> Ella -> Tissamaharama (Yala Nationalpark)

Sri Lanka’s real flavour lies in the journey to the heart of Sri Lanka’s famous tea-growing area, which is located almost 2000m above Kandy. Sri Lanka is world famous for their teas and the world’s 4th largest tea supplier. Cutting up through countless hairpins at a sweaty 35˚C, the view gets better and better as you get higher until you reach the top where you’re greeted by a contrastive 16˚C.  While passing gaps in the woods, your heart stops for a beat to contemplate the sheer beauty of the panoramic views and you’ll often find yourself gazing in wonder for minutes and minutes. Passing idyllic waterfalls we felt like we were stuck in a scene from Jurassic Park, expecting dinosaurs to come rumbling through the forest anytime now…

Whatever you do, stopping at one of the many secluded tea factories is an absolute must-do! We recommend Mackwood’s Tea, who provide a full range of unblended black and flavoured teas with colourful tastes and delicious aromas. Drink a tea here and you’ll never look at tea the same way again!

2.1 Nuwara Eliya

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the top! Nuwara Eliya is also called the “city of light” and with and average 16˚C is one of the coolest areas in Sri Lanka, so don’t forget to bring a cozy jacket. Blessed with a much less humid climate, breath-taking valleys and plenty of greenery Nuwara Eliya ranks among the top destinations for tourists in the whole country. 

The cooler climate was also a reason why many of the English colonialists were drawn to the village – they felt reminded of England. As a left over from those times there’s even a golf course and a horse race track built by wealthy British settlers… got to leave it to the English, they know how to make themselves feel at home! Swing by at the private Hill Club Sri Lanka and feel like a gentleman of the old days – overseas visitors are admitted as temporary members in this exclusive gentelmen’s club.

2.2 Ella

Have you ever put your eyes on a valley that stretches for 15km and is located a staggering 1000m below you? No? Welcome to Ella. This little town on the southeast side of the hill country offers some of the most stunning views in Sri Lanka. The world famous Ella Gap is just one of them, accompanied by the Ravana Ella Falls and the tremendous Adam’s Peak. Tip: Book a hotel with a view on the Ella Gap to wake up each morning to have your mind blown before breakfast.

There’s a charming idyllic train station in the center of Ella that infuses the place with a sympathetic charm – the tourism boom hasn’t quite reached Ella yet. The local taverns offer tasty Curry and traditional meat dishes, no fine dining here. Just authentic, real, delicious food. Our personal highlight was a visit to Asha Suwamedura – a fully equipped Ayurveda Health Resort. Let your body, mind and soul relax while receiving an amazing tingling water massage and watching the vivid nature through the windowfront. Aahh, we want to go back! 

Ella also is a great starting point for you next trekking tour and should definitely be on your itinerary!

2.3 Yala Nationalpark

No Sri Lanka vacation without visiting Yala Nationalpark! Of course a Safari in Sri Lanka can’t be compared to visiting Africa, but it’s still considered to be one of the best wildlife parks in Asia with a wide range of animals such as monkeys, peacocks, sloth bears, wild hogs, bunnies, elephants, water buffalos, crocodiles and countless colorful birds. And of course there’s the undisputed king of the jungle: the mighty leopard. Leopards lead a secretive life and the gods were on our side that day: we saw two of them. Bingo! We managed to get out uneaten and well. Double Bingo! Even the leopards pay their respect to Berlinagenten, no other way to put it.

Another tourist highlight in the area is the brand new luxury hotel Jetwing Yala, who call themselves the “beacon of light in the deep South”. Well, a beacon they are, seeing that 40% of the hotel’s energy requirement is generated by a Solar PV system, making the hotel number one when it comes to sustainability. The hotels boasts a beautifully illuminated 100m pool,  direct beach access complete with mini-bar, lounge area and a gang of good looking lifeguards.

3. Rekawa Beach

Welcome to paradise. Rekawa is a very secluded beach where you can hear every single wave crashing on the shore, feel the unspoilt sand beneath your toes as you take a deep breath and let your mind wander. Nothing comes close to the experience of feeling untroubled and peacefully facing the sea – be mindful not to step on any baby turtles, though. This beach is known to attract different species of turtles in nesting season and with a little luck, you can witness a baby turtle seeing the world for the first time. As not to disturb the little cuties, the Turtle Watch Rewaka is organising the Turtle Watches, so they’re not harmed in their natural habitat. Must see! You can learn more here.

4. Mirissa

Now turtles are fun and all, but what if small animals don’t really impress you that much? No problem. Mirissa is another secluded beach that isn’t really much of a backpacker’s secret anymore, and there’s one unusual activity that makes this place so special apart from its beauty: whale watching. If you’re visiting between December and April chances are pretty good you’ll be able to lay eyes on one of the rarest views in nature – blue whales, baby. The boats leave pretty early in the morning (around 6am) and if you’re lucky you’ll even meet a gang of dolphins, who are known to chance boats for the sport of it! If you can’t wait already, here’s your chance to book a tour.

5. Galle

We love it when different cultural influences blend together and create something unique. While most bigger cities in Sri Lanka don’t exactly look beautiful and tend to be a bit of an insult to your sense of smell, Galle boasts a charming blend of Dutch colonial architecture and south asian vitality. The city is set in a tropical Asian surrounding and still feels a little European – complete with cosy eateries, trendy shops, art galleries and a boom of boutique hotels that offer uncompromising luxury. Galle is the new destination for jetsetters and high end travellers looking for a laid back holiday with colonial flair! We recommend you to visit the Historical Mansion – a bizarre mixture of museum, junk shop, jewellery and craftwork collection found in the ship wrecks off the coast.

6. Bentota Beach

Bentota is home to an uprising hotel scene and boasts 8km of continuous beach with accomodations for every wallet size. Thanks to Sri Lanka’s laws, hotels may not be bigger than the surrounding palms, so don’t worry about concrete block-like hotels messing up the beautiful scenery! Despite the hotels, you won’t meet many people as you take a refreshing stroll along the beach – not even in peak season, which gives the beach a wonderful touch of intimacy.

Just 10km from the town you’ll also find a real gem for every Sri Lanka vacation: Bevis Bawa didn’t lead the usual Sri Lankan life – his father was extremely wealthy, his brother Geoffrey an important architect and Bevis himself a homosexual eclectic known to be a heavy drinker and to throw sex orgies in his Jungle Book like riot of a garden – the Brief Garden. The garden’s countless statues and sculptures are a real eye-catcher and have largely been built by Bevis himself – and here’s the best part: the garden can be visited. There’s a caretaker who offers guided tours for around 1000 Rupees – don’t miss out on this, but don’t touch any statues!

7. Colombo

Our last station is Colombo – Sri Lanka’s booming Capitol. With more than 3 million residents, the urban image is characterized by an ever-going hustle and bustle and many tourists quickly pass through this diverse city on their way to more southern domains. However Colombo’s cosmopolitan site has developed into a wide array of new hotel complexes, galleries, art shops, museums and cosy eateries and is no longer just a frantic stopover for ambitious travellers! Right next to modern skyscrapers you’ll find small shops and joints or even buddhist shrines and colonial churches. The colourful blend of attractions creates the unique urban image and does take some getting used to – but once you find the city’s beauty, it’s hard to ever let go again.

The latest addition to Colombo’s luxury and fine dining scene is the sparkling Arcade Independence Square, which represents the immense efforts put into to beautification of the Sri Lankan Capitol. It’s facing the prestigious Independence Square and has all your needs covered under one roof. There’s a trendy shopping mall with exclusive boutiques and stores, but also a huge selection of upper class restaurants just waiting for your famishing tastebuds to arrive! The Arcade sets new standards for luxury in Sri Lanka and shouldn’t be missed on your to-do-list for Colombo.

Hotels

Sri Lanka offers a wide range of different hotels, however the trend is leaning towards new upscale accommodations. The war created a niche for luxury in the tourism scene that is being filled now, so you’ll find anything from a simple backpacker’s lodge to newly built top notch hotels – no matter the size of your pursue, Sri Lanka is the right place for you. We compiled a list of the most noteworthy hotels on the island:

Amaya Hills (Kandy)

The Kandy House (Kandy)

Heritance Hotel (Nuwara Eliya)

Resort 98 Acres (Ella)

Jetwing Yala (our top pick!)

Jetwing Yala is in close proximity to the Yala Nationalpark and you can literally hear the sounds of wild animals in the distance as you dwell on the hotel’s grounds. It’s a little scary knowing that just a few kilometres away from you, wild leopards might be taking a midnight snack. However the hotel itself is our absolute favourite: luxurious, a huge infinity pool, direct beach access (with a bar!) and a spa that let us forget all about the leopards. Definitely one of Sri Lanka’s upcoming super stars!

Good Karma Hotel (Rekawa Beach) (our top pick!)

Get comfy in your two-store bungalow surrounded by the ocean on one side and the jungle on the other. Almost every night turtles crawl up the shore to lay their eggs in the sand of Rekawa Beach, so be prepared for a tasty turtle soupin the morning! Joking. Good Karma Hotel is your best choice when you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing holiday – deserted beaches, white sand, tropical gardens and monkeys, peacocks and lizards as your direct neighbours. The perfect getaway.

Amanwella (Tangalle) (our top pick!)

Amanwella offers 27 suites that each come with a private pool and terrace, all connected by pathways along a landscaped rise with beach and ocean view. The golden beach is located in a crescent-shaped cove fringed with palm trees, while the resort finds itself surrounded by a coconut grove. Feel jealous yet? There’s also nature walks that wind through the jungle and often end up in the close by village of Tangalle, where you’re free to stroll around and explore Sri Lanka’s village life. Do check your calender every now and then – the risk of forgetting time completely is high with this one.

Jetwing Landesi (Galle) (our top pick!)

Hotels aren’t quite your thing but you still want to spend your vacation with style? Check out the three-roomed Landesi villa near Galle, the undisputed cultural Capital of Sri Lanka’s south. Spacious and luxurious, the dutch villa actually feels like the colonial time wasn’t quite over yet – in fact, if it wasn’t for the showers, air conditioning and electricity you’d be lured into thinking you just took a trip to Sri Lanka’s colonial era. From here the adventures of the South are just a jump and a hop form your doorstep: surfing in Ahamanga, whale-watching in Mirissa or just watching the stilt fisherman – the South pleases all your desires.

Galle Fort Hotel (Galle)

Deco On 44 (Galle)

The Fort Printers (Galle)

Vivanta By Tay (Bentota) (our top pick!)

Remember all these great looking postcards you get from your colleagues while they’re on holiday? This is probably where the stayed while taking them. Vivanta By Tay offers a relaxing stay with gourmet meals, luxurious health and wellness experiences and absolutely breath taking views of the Indian ocean’s blue water. Book one of the 160 rooms and enjoy lush gardens, colonial architecture with red tiled roofs and the terraced infinity pool to cool you down after a long day in the jungle. Absolute stunner!

Restaurants, bars & cafes

Slightly Chilled (Kandy) – Perfect place to get away from Kandy’s hustle and bustle and enjoy a great view over the city.

Cafe Chill (Ella) – A colourful, cozy little café that will make you feel at home in seconds.

Amangalla (Galle) – Eat in the “The Zaal” (The Great Hall) and enjoy a wonderful colonial feel with high ceilings, overhead fans and chandeliers.

Fortaleza (Galle) – Kitchen chef Arun serves some of the finest food in Galle, using only the best seasonal fruits, vegetables and freshly caught fish.

Pedlar’s Inn (Galle) – The first coffeeshop to be established as UNESCO Heritage site.

Raux Brothers (Galle) – Flagship store for handcrafted furniture.

The Three Hotel (Galle) – where Asian design, Scandinavian thinking and western standard melt together.

The Living Room (Galle) – Great atmosphere, screaming colours, glitter, feathers and leopard prints. On of the country’s best bars!

Lucky Fort Restaurant (Galle) – Best dish: Rice with 10 different curries (feeds two). The place boasts a nice living room atmosphere and some great homecooked food, a real insider tip!

Best weblinks 

The Official Sri Lanka Travel Page

Sri Lanka on Rough Guides

Best beaches and hotels

A selection of great beaches

The Tea Experience

Insiders – Interview with Hanno Koffler

This month’s interview features our favourite German actor, Hanno Koffler. Hanno is known for his amazing performances in movies like Nacht vor Augen (2008), Freier Fall (2013) and his most recent coup Härte (2015). If you only know Hanno from his onscreen appearances, this is your chance to catch up!

Q: Hey Hanno. Congratulations, you just got nominated as Best Actor for the second year in a row! How are you feeling right now?

A: I’m feeling awesome right now. It’s great to have your work appreciated by the business and colleagues, especially since I’m really proud of the work I’ve done in “Härte”. Playing Andreas Marquardt wasn’t an easy role, it was a really special and intense work, so right now I’m just feeling thankful for all the appreciation shown for the movie.

Q: Did you always want to become an actor?

A: Nah, there were a bunch of things I considered doing when I was younger. I always liked the idea of being a craftsman, like a woodworker or maybe even a gardener. Then again I also thought I was going to be a Rockstar for quite some time… which hasn’t worked out so well.

Q: Hanno the Rockstar, wouldn’t that be something. What’s your favourite band?

A: Hmm… tough question. Back in the days it used to be Nirvana, but I really like the Beatles and I’m a big fan of Elvis Presley. Depending on the mood I’m also into Bob Dylan or even Schubert and Mozart… I think I need a pre-made list with answers for questions like this, it’s really difficult to settle for one.

Q: Becoming an actor is a very profound experience – things from deep inside your soul are washed to the surface, things you maybe never knew even existed. What was the most important thing you learned about yourself in the process of becoming an actor?

A: I guess one of the most profound lessons I learned was coming to realize how acting is not about perfection, but rather about accepting your own imperfections and to let them show on the outside. It’s about finding your own truth and building up your own personality. It’s about finding a quiet and true point within yourself from which you can develop into new directions and adapt to new roles. Then there’s body language, controlling your voice and finding the way to your emotionality. It’s also about learning to let everything go.

Q: Did you already find that point?

A: It’s a constant search, really, and I’m not sure if it can ever be wholly found – however the search definitely has made me aware of some of my hurts. Learning how to act is a never-ending process, because it’s a journey to your own personality, which always transforms, grows and changes.

Q: In “Freier Fall” you’re playing the married police officer Mark, who starts a love affair with a homosexual colleague – very much to his own surprise. The film manages to create an incredible atmosphere and intimacy. How do you prepare for a role like that?

A: First of all, by reading the film script. Then it gets trickier: You have to try to understand your character’s world and try to dive into the depths of his mind. Once I feel I have good understanding of my character, I’m giving it all my passion and emotionality to get engaged with the role and just see where things go from there. 

Q: So… did “Freier Fall”  reveal a formerly unknown passion for the male sex or was it just fantastically played?

A (laughs): It was just fantastically played. 

Q: What about Freier Fall 2? Is it just rumours?

A: I really like the idea, especially since it’s extremely rare for German arthouse movies to have a sequel. We had more than 6 millions views on the trailer just from the US, so the interest for Freier Fall has grown to an international level. We have this huge audience from all over the world and lots of questions that still need to be answered, so getting the funding for a sequel would be great. Max Riemelt and me are definitely up for it if we can take a liking to the script and to achieve that the producers and writers need to raise enough money for developing a great story and for making the whole thing happen. It’s still a long way to go, though and the project needs as much support as it can get – there’ll be a crowdfunding campaign soon, so get involved, everyone!

Q: What was the craziest thing you’ve been through while acting?

A: Well, there’s always the good old house ban. We were in this shabby hotel while filming Freier Fall and had a little get-together after we were halfway through with the shooting. We had a few drinks too many and partied until the early morning… until the hotel had enough and we have to pack our things and get going.

Q: In “Härte” you’re playing Andreas Marquardt – a man who’s been through a life of violence, abuse and hatred. What was it like to play that role?

A: It was extremely intense. Above all it was a very special honour to play Andreas – he’s a very authentic person who’s been through a hell hardly anyone of us can begin to understand. 

Q: What does Berlin mean to you?

A: Home. Family. Friends. At the same time it can also be stressful and create a longing for the countryside. It’s a bit of a love hate relationship.

Q: In what ways did you experience the change Berlin has underwent in the past 20 years?

A: At one point I was gone for almost a decade and realized that lots had changed when I came back. Just a few hundred meters from here my band used to jam in a little rehearsal space in some worn down backyard. Now the place boasts a 24 hours supermarket, a health care center and tourists everywhere!

Q: Which night clubs do you go to?

A: We usually party at someone’s flat and put on a quality DJ set to get us grooving through the night. Apart from that – Kater Holzig and Berghain are good choices to have a fun night out. 

Q: Can you recommend any restaurants for our readers?

A: My all time favourite is Jules Verne on Schlüterstraße, I’ve been going there for years – there’s no way I ever get tired of their Schnitzel. Not too far from here there’s the Antillo – run by real Italians, they cook some great food aswell.

Q: Favourite bar?

A: Don’t really have one. I was having a few drinks at Viktoriabar in Schöneberg the other day, that was pretty cool!

Red Carpet – Henrik’s World of Glamour

As always Berlinagenten has no fear of red carpets, crowded openings or once again standing in the spotlight because we’re slightly hammered. This is Berlin, baby!

Soulfashion VIP Opening

What happens when an Australian DJane and a Berlin based fashion designer get together..? Yep. We get drunk! Premium women’s wear label Berlina Pflanze and DJane Cherokee proudly hosted the first Soulfashion party, whose concept it is to help aspiring brands and artists on their way to the top by giving them the chance to display their products at the party. We got our groove on while trying on some designer pieces (Oops. Is that a tomato stain? Wasn’t us.) and happily slurping on our proseccos. Drinks, music and fashion – what else could we wish for? We’re already looking forward to the next Soulfashion party!

Senses Award

Each year the Senses lifestyle magazine hosts a pompous ceremony to award the world’s best Spas and Hotels that put a focus on wellness and healthy lifestyle. We joyfully swept up the red carpet at the brand new Titanic Deluxe Hotel and joined what was definitely not one of your standard industry events: Surrounded by prominent figures like Julian FM Stoeckel and Fiona Erdmann from German TV’s Jungle Camp, Harald Glööckler, there even was a touch of royal-flair in the air: best-selling author prince Asfa Wossen Asserate from Ethiopia, prince Fay Jahan Ara from Dubai and even some of the remnants of the German royalty joined Berlinagenten to find out who would climb the lifestlye olymp!

Even though Titanic Deluxe Hotel only opened its doors this March, they already took home the award for Best Architectural Expression. Congratulations!

Berlin Wormland

The Mall of Berlin’s fashion family has a new member -  Wormland. We’re always in for tasty snacks and free booze – even better when they’re combined with groovy live music and an extravagant Calvin Klein fashion-installation. On the far side of the store, you’ll find a classy clinker brick look next to warm oak elements, while on the other side you’ll find yourself surrounded by hand-painted concrete and black steel. A tasteful mix! With singer Jesper Munk performing live, other singers like Dandy Diary, Larry Poppins and Andreas Bourani took the time to have a closer look at the impressive collection of fine Calvin Klein clothing. What we found most remarkable about this event: people duly waited in line to get a drink – which happens about once in every 1000 events.

Eurovision Song Contest Party

We never miss the best parties! The Hofbräuhaus near Alexanderplatz was filled to bursting with gays and fag hags as we took places at our VIP table. We’re not sure how she does it, but Nina Queer seems to be the only person who gets away with constant malicious gossip while moderating. The audience took one ironic stab after another and loved Nina for every word she said! A privelege that only comes with being Nina Queer. On that night Henrik enjoyed a special privilege aswell. As an official representative (cough cough) of the winning nation, Henrik got on the stage with a bunch of other intoxicated Swedes and celebrated their glorious victory Berlinagentenstyle – right in the spotlight. The audience appreciated the stage’s optical upgrade by going completely insane! Next year, we’ll be in Sweden for the ESC 2016. We won’t miss that huge European party!


The Scene – 5 hidden bars and clubs

Berlin boasts the best clubbing scene in the world. Period. With locations like Berghain, Kater Blau, Sisyphos, Watergate and KitKat, you can party from Friday to Monday, Monday to Wednesday, Wednesday to Friday and then start all over again. These clubs are world famous and often more crowded than a gym after New Year’s Day, so we handpicked a small but exclusive selection of hidden bars and clubs that will give you the Berlin experience on a much more intimate level. We present to you: 5 of Berlin’s best kept secrets.

Anita Berber

Does the name Anita Berber ring a bell with you? Known to wear a pet-monkey around her neck and regularly showing up completely wasted in public, Berlin’s notorious actress and dancer Anita filled the newspapers in the roaring 20’s with her drug and sex escapades. Thanks to local techno heroes Tom Clark and Sammy Dee, Anita is still making people dance today – as a cozy intimate Berlin night club. Don’t expect a bass heavy Berghain-style techno bunker, but rather an intimate cosmopolitan mixture of bar and night club whose decoration pays hommage to the 1920’s while groovy electronic beats guide you through the night. This is where the centuries meet!

How to get there: Coming from train station Wedding, head down Lindower Straße and turn right into Gerichtsstraße at the huge place at the end of the street. After a hundred meters or so you’ll reach house number 23 – the entrance is divided by a small pillar in the middle. Enter the premises and walk on until you’ve reached the last backyard. There, you made it!

Map

Larry Bar

One more fancy-shmancy bar in the once underground district Mitte and we’re going to throw up our champagne!! Wait, what? Nevermind. You can’t help but to take a liking to “anti-cocktail” bar Larry, which is filled to bursting with young, energetic people. Finally we have an edgy counterpart to match all the overpriced bars in Mitte, where the nights don’t get half as hot and nowhere as entertaining.  If you’re looking for some serious fun and have the same weakness for electro pop, drunk girls and 70’s slot machines, we’ll see you soon at Larry Bar. 

How to get there: From the intersection Friedrichstraße / Torstraße, turn left diagonally and you’ll see the bar sitting right at the crossing on ground level. It’s not illuminated from the outside so keep your eyes wide open!

Map

Ipse

Berlin is getting ready for a hot summer and what is predicted to be the biggest Open Air Party summer the city has ever seen! Ipse is amongst the most promising newcomers in the scene – with world class acts like Super Flu and andhim rocking the premises, the line up’s quality often compares to Berghain and the likes, though it’s aimed at a relaxed sunday afterhour crowd rather than full blown all night ravers (even though there’s an well-sounding indoor floor for when it gets too cold). The location feels very inviting, too: the vast outdoor area is determined by the typical Bar-25-style woodwork and a cozy touch of nature. Surrounded by trees, a river flowing past you, a cold beer in your hand and relaxed techno tunes to please your ears. What more could you ask for?!

How to get there: The entrance is right next to the gas station = to reach the entrance walk down the dark path just right next to the gas station (passing the entrance to restaurant Freischwimmer)

Map

Fairytale Bar

Tell ‘em the fairytale gone bad”. Sorry but no can do, Sunrise Avenue! Near Märchenbrunnen in Friedrichshain you’ve got all the ingredients for a fairytale gone great. The bar staff – or rather, mythical bar figures – are dressed up as fairytale characters and serve legendary drinks in a location that’s somewhere between Alice in Wonderland and an erotic fox’s den. The cocktail card looks like an ancient storybook and features mysterious drinks like Creshire Cat, The Black Knight or Jabberwocky. Legend has it that some frogs have been turned into princes in this location already, which may partly be due to the welcome drink you get. Its bottle looks like it was originally intended to hold venom, but don’t be fooled. This shot is your ticket into Wonderland and if you’re still not convinced – drink a cocktail from Cinderella’s high heels. Literally.

How to get there: On the other side of the Märchebrunnen in Friedrichshain, there’s this one dark inconspicuous door that looks like it leads to nowhere. Ring the bell and enter at own risk.

Map

OHM

We imagine OHM to be the short version of OHMYGOD. Located in a former thermal power station’s battery room, OHM is both art and party space and best known for its electrifying atmosphere and electronic dance music parties that regularly go through the roof. It’s located right next to Berlin’s techno temple Tresor and you can joyfully wink at the clueless tourists standing in line to Tresor as you pass them to a much cooler location. OHM hasn’t shown up on the touristic nightlife maps yet, so even though it’s right next to one of Berlin’s most famous clubs, it’s hidden right under their noses. Rule number one: Don’t talk about OHM. Rule number two: Have an unlabelled yet delicious beer from the bar. Rule number three: See Rule number one and two.

How to get there: From subway station Heinrich-Heine-Straße, follow the Köpenicker Straße for about 150m before turning left. It’s located in a huge industrial complex, but don’t take the main entrance (that’s Tresor). Pass the building and you’ll find an inconspicuous door that says “OHM”.

Map

The Scene meets Zen Kichi

“Hey look at th- AAAAHHH”. Whoops. We mistook one of the waiters for a ninja again. Upon descending the stairway leading into the underground maze called Zen Kichi near Friedrichstraße, you can’t help but feeling like Alice entering Wonderland. With the light dimmed down low, the path is surrounded by bamboo stems and dark woodwork while the encircling walls are largely covered by mirrors, creating the illusion of an endless fairytale forest that could house anything from ninjas to unicorns. Can’t say we’ve ever seen anything this cool before.

The harmonic interior was designed by Motoko Watanabe, the masterbrain behind Zen Kichi. While she’s responsible for the concept and the lion’s share of the work, her husband Shaul Margulies is the muscle in their tag team. Both Zen Kichi New York and Zen Kichi Berlin have been handbuilt by Shaul and just a bunch of helping hands!

The place stands out from your usual dining experience. Apart from stunning visuals and the intimate atmosphere the 35 separées create, there’s another thing that’s bound to leave you speechless: the dishes. Forget about your european-style sushi, Zen Kichi offers some culinary delights largely unheard of in this part of the hemisphere. We don’t want to give away too much, but be assured: Zen Kichi will take both you and your taste buds on a heavenly journey straight to Japan.

The culinary team is putting up a huge effort to serve you nothing but the best ingredients available. While the taste is japanese, the menu features many international treasures. We had fish from Alaska, apple-fed pork from Brandenburg, beef from Ireland and a fine selection of Sake from Japan, handpicked by Motoko herself. She’s also a Sake sommelier, so expect nothing but the best Sake in town.

Summing it up, Zen Kichi adds a promising new facet to Berlin’s culinary world. It’s not only a vivid experience for your tastebuds, it’s also a journey to another world of cool.

Here’s a short selection of the dishes we had:

Apple-Fed Pork Kalumi – original pork belly with simmered egg in a traditional sweet-dashi broth

Bamboo Tsukune Chicken – Japanese chicken meatball on bamboo served with soft egg dipping sauce

Hijiki – Japanese seaweed simmered in sweet sake and soy sauce

Grilled Saikyo Black Cod – Alaskan Black Cod in Zenkichi’s original Kyoto miso marinade

Rocksalt Jidori Chicken – Simply grilled free-range chicken with sprinkle lemon

Organic Beef Tataki – Organic filet mignon (rare) thinly sliced and lightly seared: served with ginger garlic soy sauce

On Tour – ICA

Berlin’s evergrowing food craze has made people from all over the world hungry for a taste of our bittersweet city! We were happy to show ICA the city’s tastiest spots with one of Berlinagenten’s infamous Cool Hunting Tours. These tours are focused on finding emerging trends, business innovations and the city’s currents of tomorrow. To make sure ICA’s needs were met perfectly, we put the tour’s emphasis on cool street food markets, delicious pop up events, charismatic bistros by the water, edgy little food shops and the emerging fine dining scene that create Berlin’s culinary diversity. 

We slipped into the role of Sherlock Holmes himself (well, a modern, food-obsessed version of Sherlock maybe). Armed with polaroid cameras and given the task to uncover the secrets of hidden concept stores, organic food stores, delicacy shops and urban fast food markets, our enthusiastic food detectives dived into a sea of tasty treats and took the journey into the city’s vivid culinary core. Our exclusive selection of hip food locations such as Neue Heimat, the legendary Turkish market at Maybachufer and organic super markets like the LPG Bio Market or Biocompany made sure the next tongue-pleasers were never far away.

Berlin takes a leading position when it comes to fresh designs and innovative food impressions and we take a special pride in leading you to the most extraordinary concept stores the city offers, just so you can take home the inspiration you need to get on with your ideas!

In the end though, it’s much more satisfying to see the delicacies on your plate than in front of your camera. For our following Riverside Gastro Rallye we handpicked restaurants like insider’s tip Volt and Sage Restaurant, where we were served one course per restaurant before hopping to the next – a wonderful way to pick up the vibe in different part of the cities.

Now we wouldn’t Berlinagenten if we hadn’t finished off the day with an appropriate portion of glamour, so after some extensive bar hopping our connections helped us jump queues and dance until we could dance no more in the famous house club Avenue! Just one Berlinagenten tour is already bound to blow your mind, but three in one day…? You’ll never look at Berlin the same away again!

On Tour – Rolling With The Best

Wherever we go, we usually arrive majestically sitting on top of a white horse, complete with shiny Berlinagenten armor on and a well-mixed drink in our hands (we stopped with the swords after not getting into Berghain). If it’s one of the days where we’re all out of horses, we consider taking the stylistically confident black limo.

But in times of global warming and changing living conditions, our focus lies on sustainability. The horse was a good way to go, but have you ever seen 70 horses in Berlin? We had to think of a different way of transporting our customers.

Thinking with an empty belly is bad for your health, though, so we took the time for a private dinner at Eins44 before accomplishing the impossible: thanks to Berlinagenten’s close connections into the nightlife and party scene, we managed to get the whole group of 70 into the VIP area of infamous Avenue Club. You name it, we make it happen!

So, how to transport that huge group through the city on the next day and still grant everyone the chance to connect with the city intimately? With every couch potato’s nightmare: a bike tour.

Our guides are filled to bursting with knowledge about urban Berlin – be it the creative scene, traditional attractions like Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and TV-Tower or hidden oases off the beaten path that only well-informed insiders know of. There’s no better way to explore them all than sitting on top of a bike with all the mobility you could dream of at your feet and us to shine a light on your way.

Wait, there is a better way. If you do the bike tour and stop for vodka shots on the way. Don’t believe us? Better do! We took a short break at our friends from Our/Vodka near Club der Visionäre to please your wildest biking dreams. An exclusive vodka tasting and free bottles to bring home as a gift made sure we’d stay in the sattle… more or less.

Back on our horses, we threw a glamorous gala dinner at restaurant Mani which was followed by a wild night out – Berlin style. Dancing until you can’t feel your feet or find yourself making out with some random stranger. Berlinagenten knows where the party is!