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.
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!
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!
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)
“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.
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”.
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!
Berlin offers great possibilities when it comes to fulfilling your culinary wishes: there’s plenty of street food markets, vegetarian eateries, meaty burger shops, fine dining restaurants or sometimes just the same old Kebap from around the corner. Unique Indian restaurants, though? Hard to come by.
The good news is: that’s over. We found a winner. Recently opened Chutnify in hipsterhood Prenzlberg isn’t just tasty, it’s different. After 22 years in the designing business, owner Aparna Aurora saw a dream came true when she opened her cozy little neighbourhood eatery just a few months back. Her skill for design shows on the vivid inside – from the colourful historic warehouse elements in the main room, the self-built bar made of recycled wood to the wall painted in reminiscence of the holi colours, there’s just one eye catcher chasing the next.
There’s something even more appealing about Chutnify. The ingenius Dosas. We’ve just had the first Dosas of our life and haven’t been able to think of something else since. Dosas are traditional Indian crêpes usually filled with potato masala that come with a variety of chutneys (sauces, if you like). Aparna used to have Dosas as a special treat on weekends with her family in India, so finding the perfect recipe here wasn’t easy. It took months to figure out the most harmonic balance between the ingredients to create the perfect dough. Be assured: they found it.
The chefs at Chutnify added six self created Dosas to the list, featuring delicious fillings like cheese, onion and chilli or super tasty tandoori chicken with sweet pepper. We can really recommend the tandoori chicken option, it’s what got all this flattering started in the first place. Best thing about Dosas is you can have them for desert, too, so we ordered one filled with Nutella and banana slices and it tasted just as satisfying as it sounds (we’ll have to jog a few extra rounds tomorrow).
Great to have you around Aparna, we’ll be back for sure!
Even the greatest hotels need reliable software to function properly. And even the greatest hotel software developers need a reliable guide when it comes to discovering a city that offers endless possibilities once you leave your hotel behind you!
We programmed our guests’ stay in Berlin to be one for the legends. We first took our more than 50 French, Italian, Dutch, German, Swiss, Czech, Greek, Turkish, Irish, English, Australian, Slove-nian, Spanish, Iranian, Egyptian and Russian guests on an unforgettable boat trip over Berlin’s wa-ter ways. You think you’ve seen Berlin? A whole new world of discoveries opens up once you’re cruising along the Spree with Berlinagenten as your guide. We introduced our guests to the se-crets of the modern parts of Berlin, but also the ugly, beautiful, romantic and historically meaningful places – all tell a different story.
Since we’re strictly against simply rehearsing some pre-learned text and just waiting for our visitors to fall asleep, it was time for a classy Berlinagenten move. Pretzels and champagne for everyone! Nothing beats rocking down the Spree with a glass of Moet in your hand and the city at your feet.
After fighting off the cold we headed over to legendary Soho House for a wild night, with perfor-mances by Carbaret star Sarah Bowden (we did an interview with her, read more here) and stag-gering magic tricks by Martin Lübcke, one of Germany’s top notch illusionists. Magic Martin had our head spinning between the courses – a flying table, one of the guests’ mobile somehow appeared in an empty glass bottle (HOW, just HOW?) and a card signed by a guest turned up in a frozen chunk of ice a few seconds later. The guests were as astonished as we were. First time with Martin, but certainly not our last. He already promised to perform at our next party after he gets back from his part-time job at Hogwarts.
The combination of a legendary boat trip, Sarah’s sexy performance and Martin’s illusions (and maybe a few glasses of wine) had our guests put Henrik on a pedestal, cheerfully celebrating him as some sort of new entertainment god. Go Berlinagenten!
Sarah Bowden is an Australia-born actress, dancer and singer. She’s a real globetrotter but lost her heart to our beloved Berlin 7 years ago and we’ve been happy to have her ever since. Here she talks Berlin, the future of the entertainment scene and why Schöneberg is the place for her.
Q: Hey Sarah. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
A: I’ve been on the stage for the past 20 years performing in musicals and carbaret. You might ha-ve seen me on shows like Der Schuh das Manitu, Tanz der Vampire or We Will Rock You. Last summer I played in “Heller Wahnsinn” in the Varieté Wintergarten, now I’m hosting my own show there. I really like the Berlin carbaret scene!
Q: How did you end up performing anyway?
A: I had my first dancing lessons when I was 3 and it kind of just took off from there. My two brothers over in Australia also perform in musicals, but I don’t think it’s in our blood. My mother is a tax consultant and my dad is a construction worker…
Q: When and why did you come to Berlin?
A: I had this job here. We toured Germany and the first place I ended up in was Düsseldorf. It was horrible. I was about to pack my things and get back on the plane, but luckily we were scheduled to play in Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt soon. Those were a little better but still not really that inte-resting… it was only when I got to Berlin that I changed my mind. Berlin was different. I had the weird feeling of belonging here. I mean I was in London, Tokyo, Spain, Canada, New York but no place ever felt like home. Berlin did.
Q: Is there a special reason you’re living in Schöneberg?
A: After watching “Carbaret” with Liza Minnelli I just couldn’t help dreaming of moving to Schöne-berg one day. I’ve always related to the movie’s main character Sally Bowles, who lived in the area.. I’ve even been blessed enough to play Sally Bowles in a musical, so moving here and playing Sally really was a dream come true.
Q: How do you feel about performing in Berlin of all the places?
A: Everyone has this one dream. Some hope to jump out of a plane one day, others want to buy a Porsche, for me it was playing Sally in this city.
Q: How did the enterainment scene change over the last years?
A: It’s not only the entertainment scene, it’s the whole city that’s changed. The range of shows and possibilities the city offers has gotten much wider, so the people are for more open to new ideas. I feel the city itself is growing more commercial by the day. Just look at Ku’Damm today and 7 years back. You wouldn’t recognize it. The entertainment scene is trying to maintain the Berlin hype. The art of Berlin. They’re opening up to new concepts, for example when we did “Heller Wahnsinn” at Wintergarten. It was a mix of Burlesque, Carbaret and Musical.. they’re starting to melt into one performance.
Q: So you’re saying the future will bring some wild mix ups of different performance styles?
A: Exactly! Decades ago each discipline worked for itself. What we get to see now is a mix of Car-baret, live music, Aerial Arts, Hip Hop Dance, Musical,… there’s lots of differente influences. I can’t tell you where we’ll be in 10 years, but my guess is this trend will continue. That’s what makes it cool, the mixture.
Q: What are you up to in the next time?
A: I’ll probably be pretty busy with my new show Sally&Fred, which premieres on the 30th of March in Wintergarten. I’ll be performing alongside with Helmut Baumann. He’s a real god in the theatre scene and has brought countless international success stories to Berlin and adapted them for the German audience. He’s 76 and still rocking the stage!
Q: Where are you headed for a night out?
A: The Soho House has become the place to be I think. And in Schöneberg I’m still hanging out in the same bar that was my first very bar in Berlin: Victoria Bar on Potsdamer Straße. Some things never change, I guess…
We’re lucky enough to get our share of enjoying top notch destinations around the globe, but we were completely awestruck when we visited Brazil’s crown jewel Cidade Maravilhosa (The marvellous city) last month. Never before have we seen such a breathtaking setting for a city – surrounded by beautifully shaped mountains, curving white sand beaches and ridiculously blue water, we soon had that delightful fluttery feeling in our stomachs that you only get on a very special occasion: when you’re genuinely falling in love. With Rio de Janeiro.
The overwhelmingly friendly habitants (called Cariocas) create a very unique and laid back atmosphere that lovingly embraces the whole city. It’s not only the obvious love for the easy life that makes this city so very special, it’s also the fact that Rio is pure sex. With a coast line of 73km the city practically lives on the beach and the art of perfecting your body and showing it off publicly has become one of the most popular sports (after football, of course).
What this means is: smoking hot people. They’re on the beach, in dance halls and open air cafes. They’re all over the place. Women trying hard to cover their assets with as little clothing as possible and numerous shredded-looking men consequently strolling around with partly erected speedo-inhabitants. Maybe that fluttery feeling of ours was a redirection of the blood flow down south after all. Sex is in the air. We love it.
Now of course Rio isn’t without their share of problems (City of God, anyone?). More than 1000 favelas (slums) are spread across the city and have been poverty-stricken and have seen high crime rates for a long time. With international events like the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics in Rio in 2016, a new police force has made almost all the favelas safe to visit and has thereby created lively cultural hubs that peacefully co-exist with the ongoing sound of catchy samba tunes rather than the fire of gun shots. The favelas are not only where the kids dream of becoming Brazil’s next great football players and vigorously conquer the streets to work on their dream’s fulfilment, they’re also the source of a near infinite creativity that’s expressed year by year when the lively melodies of the favelas take the whole city by storm in carnival season.
Rio has enchanted its visitors for centuries and is so much more than just an inhibited, opulent city with countless dainties, bars and eye-catching costumes. Rio is a way of life.
Berlinagenten has toured this beauty of a city and found the perfect hotels, restaurants, hip boroughs, bars, clubs, shopping malls, scenic highlights and even private tours for your next getaway vacation.
Santa Teresa used to be home to the city’s wealthy upper class that left when the neighborhood started suffering from decay and neglect. Today Santa Teresa can be considered as Rio’s cool bohemian Montmatre – the city’s artistic heart. We hoped to take a challenging ride on the the old-fashioned street cars called bondes to get a very unique view over the city that way. Unfortunately they were down for maintenance, so we hopped on a taxi instead and drove up the serpentine alleys to discover a few marvellous old mansions along the way. Once you made it to the top you’re rewarded with magnificent view over downtown!
When most hoods get quiet after midnight, Lapa becomes the new queen of nightlifte districts. The perfect starting point for discovering the hood is the old aqueduct Arcos da Lapa. Lapa is relatively small in size but very popular for its vivid nightlife – many of the district’s houses have been turned into late night bars and dance halls over the years, making it home to unforgettable samba nights. Arrrrrriba! (Make sure you don’t spill your drink while shouting).
The city’s center is best known for its cultural highlights: Prestigious churches, historical squares, colonial buildings, modern skyscrapers, art deco architecture and museums roam the streets and wait to be discovered. Don’t miss out Teatro Municipal (a masterpiece), Arco Do Teles and the colonial streets around Rua Do Ouvidor, Real Gabinete Português De Leitura (a library a la Harry potter) and the Cathedral of Rio De Janeiro. All with guaranteed wow-factor!
The famous beach is home to swimmers, joggers, surfers and is a real hot spot (literally) for going out and having a few drinks. And watching certain parts of the body happily bounce to the constant rhythm of beach volleyballs flying from left to right. The Nossa Senhora de Copacabana is one of the two streets inland and boasts lots of shops and boutiques, so shop away! Approximately 80% of all hotels in Rio are squeezed into the 4 km long neighbourhood so expect mass tourism and less glamour. The golden days of this area are gone but with the new museum Copacobana gets a new landmark right next to the beach.
Ipanema is easy to love, it reminds you of some of the world’s best beach hoods: Miami South beach, Tel Aviv and Venice beach. The district’s buildings aren’t exactly the prettiest we’ve ever encountered, but you can feel the diversity of the area on every corner. The vivid borough is marked by the peaceful co-existence of stereotyped gays, boho-chic locals and sexy tourists. They meet at the beach every day for beach activities, pick-nicks and lots of caipirinha causing a daily party vibe when they all crawl over the beach promenade to the nearest bar in the hood after sunset. Especially on sundays, when the beachside street gets closed for traffic, Ipanema beach gets really crazy. Cyclists, inline skaters, sun seekers and muscle posers take over the place, showing off their best assets. Clothing has never been so tight and the caipi has never been so yummy!
A little more sophisticated than Ipanema, Leblon probably is the trendiest neighbourhoods right now. Accommodation here comes at a price and you won’t have trouble finding top notch bars and restaurants to fulfil your culinary needs. Local television and movie stars frequently visit the beach, infusing it with a touch of exclusivity. And Silicone. Don’t miss walking up to Mirante Do Leblon (direction favela Vidagal) to get the much envied facebook picture of Leblon and Ipanema beach.
Places To Be
Rua Dias Ferreira, Leblon. Bar and restaurant hopping among hipsters, telenovela stars, creatives and fashionistas. Check here for more.
Praça São Salvado, Flamengo. Somewhat off the beaten track, this place is a true treasure cave on any evening of the week. Especially on the weekends it’s the perfect location for drinking beer, watch locals hanging out on the square, socializing and chilling in a beautiful setting. We met many cool young people and think it’s a great place for traditional meals in one of the local pubs and restaurants around the square. This is the place.
Praça Santos Dumont, Gávea. Only on Sundays you will find a flea market here. Get here in the afternoon and hang out in front of any of the local restaurants and pubs, grab a beer at Bar do Alemão and soak up the local flair away from all the mainstream tourism. Surfers, skaters & bikers pop in for a beer, to pose their muscles and tanned bodies… a perfect start for a night out on an early Sunday!
Farme de Amoedo, Ipamena. Rio’s gay street where it gets busy as soon as the sun goes down. Perfect for watching people with an after beach beer in your hand. You have probably never seen so many half naked men mingling the streets just in zungas (speedos) but no wonder when the temperature hardly drops under 30 degrees by night in the summer. The main gathering inns where the action keeps going on until late hours are Galitos, Tô Nem Aí and Pop Eye butthere are lots of cosy eateries to be found in the side streets.
Where to stay?
Rio’s hotels have been in transition for a while now – unsightly towers along the beach have dominated the scene for years, offering poor service and even less luxury. These last years have seen an eagerly awaited upspring of trendy design & boutique hotels though, that initiated a whole new era of upscale hotel luxury in Rio. The rates of the beachfront lodgings are now amongst the most expensive in the world and they like to double or triple their rates during high season (New Year & Carnival), so you’re well advised to book months in advance.
The jewel in the crown of Rio’s hotel scene is the fabulous Fasano Rio, designed by Phillipe Stark. Not only the London bar and groundfloor restaurant boast uberstylish visitors. Its rooftop infinity pool is the hangout for visiting A-listers and attracts a model look-a-like crowd. Splash in the pool all day and make sure that you don’t miss the sunset from the rooftop, just stunning! Book a room with ocean view in order to get the full Ipanema experience.
Very exclusive. The hotel features a swimming pool, beach service, a tennis court, a fitness center and even two boutiques within the hotel. With the beach just meters away, you’re right in the epicentre of all the buzz.
This property is member of Relais Châteaux and is a hidden oasis up on the hills of the historic district Santa Teresa. The hotel boasts spectacular panoramic views of the Bay of Rio and the Centro, colonial atmosphere, “tropical chic” design and a lush garden with a pool. The restaurant reinterprets contemporary Brazilian cuisine and the Bar Dos Descasados is an exclusive meeting place by nights.
The Cariocas love food. Their cuisine is heavily influenced by the Portuguese colonisers and Africans who immigrated to the city centuries ago. Expect intense flavours, spices and lots of meat. Great thing is, you can take your time while eating. No waiter is even going to think of asking you to leave because their shifts are over, so have great, long talks, linger over your meals and don’t forget to sip on your cold beer in between. There’s no excuse to rush in Rio, because service is very slow! Note: table reservations are only accepted until 8pm, or you drop in with risk for long waiting list!
Rio’s nightlife isn’t half as wild and cosmopolitan as it is in Sao Paulo. The focus is more on getting tipsy on the beach and enjoying caipis in a corner bar than advanced clubbing and sleepless nights out. However, there’s countless ways of getting your game on in Rio, starting from buying cooled beer out of the trunk of a car on the next corner, visiting one of the botequins (bars) where you’re welcomed by finger foods and even more cold beer or opting for a more sophisticated venue and hitting one of the trendy & expensive bars with live music in Leblon. You definitely can’t do wrong with these:
As Rio grows into an international destination a little more every year, their nightlife is continually reinventing itself and new neighbourhoods with bars and clubs popped up lately. Check out the area around Rua Sacadura Cabral in Saúde. Even though Sao Paulo is boasting the ultimate club scene on this planet (comparable with Berlin) the party lovers will find satisfaction in Rio as well if they dig in the program and ask around. Everything is on the menue these days but you won’t get away from the Samba rhythms in most venues. It’s summer in Rio right now, so the nightlife is as hot as it gets. Just the way we like it. Our top picks:
These are traditionally the nights where Rio goes completely CRAZY. With million of people celebrating on the streets, you’re guaranteed to never experience anything like it anywhere else on the planet. But on New Year’s Eve pull on your favourite white beach outfit (white is the base outfit and means peace) and enjoy the mesmerizing fireworks from the Copacobana beach with 2 million people! Definitely on the list of “hundred things you have to do before you die”!
A secluded bay with the most pristine beach off the beaten track below the superluxurious villas of Joá district – Rio´s answer of „Beverly Hills“. Well worth the visit if you want to get away from the crowdy beaches in the city!
This place is settled right on the shore of the picturesque hood of Urca and it is considered to be the longest open air dining place of Rio. Grab a beer and some typical Brazilian delicatessen at the bar and prepare your lunch or pick-nick on the stone fence by the waterside just opposite the bar. Not only is the atmosphere and the food great, it also comes with a spectacular view of Botafogo, Flamengo & Centro. To round up the visit, take a ride on a cable car to the top of the famous Sugar Loaf Mountain and enjoy panoramic views over one of the most beautiful cities in the world!
Overlooking the Copacabana’s legendary swimming pool, Pérgula Restaurant offers first class Brazilian and international cuisine in a refined yet relaxed atmosphere. The casual poolside ambience is perfect for Pérgula’s renowned Sunday Brunch from 1pm – 5pm.
The Institution in Rio´s gastronomic scene since 1894. A traditional coffee shop reminding of a Viennese coffee house.
There’s lots to be discovered on your own in Rio, but if you really want to get to know Rio off the beaten path and find out it’s best kept secrets and spots, try one of these great private tours! We recommend:
For two people with an included car you’ll have to pay 1350R$ with Marco Bransford Tours. We took a dive into the districts of Downtown, Lapa, Santa Teresa and the Prazeras Favela. Both tours were absolutely great and provided us with insider knowledge you won’t find in any city guide, so don’t hesitate to take one of these amazing tours!
Stephan Hentschel is one of the most celebrated chefs in Berlin right now. He’s best known for his role as kitchen chef in the vegetarian restaurant Cookies Cream (which scored a very decent 14 points in the Gault Millau) , not-so vegetarian Chipps at Gendarmenmarkt and newly opened Crackers on Friedrichstraße. He’s also co-owner of the Volta gastro-pub, famous for their delicious burgers. We immediately liked him.
Q: Hey Stephan. Us at Berlinagenten, we love meat. Nice and tender, tasty and juicy. How come you’re best known for cooking vegetarian dishes?
A: That actually wasn’t up to me. I’m not even a vegetarian. It’s the Cookie Cream’s concept to only serve tasty, vegetarian dishes and I’ve been up for the challenge for the past 7 years. In most restaurants you’ll get your standard rice or pasta dish when you’re inclined to avoid meat, but we’re trying to create vegetarian meals that are somewhat out of the ordinary. If you’re a meatlover, though, swing by at Chipps, Volta or our newly opened restaurant Crackers and you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Q: What’s new about the Crackers?
A: The Crackers is located right below the Cookies Cream, so obviously we went for a different concept there. While the Cookies Cream is about fine dining, the Crackers provides a cozy, leaned back living room atmosphere, where you can just hang out with friends, have some food and enjoy a few drinks while you’re at it. It’s basically just one really spacey room that you enter through the kitchen, a mix between bar, lounge and restaurant. There’s DJ nights on tuesday, thursday and friday nights in the same halls that were once home to the Cookies… it’s not as dead as you might think.
Q: Did you always dream of becoming a chef?
A: I didn’t even know I wanted to cook in the first place! I originally started working on a construction site, but reality hit me pretty soon. Getting up early, all the while in the cold outside and just a few poorly made sandwiches for the day weren’t really my thing. At all. After that I did a traineeship at a 5 star hotel’s kitchen and realized I wanted to become a chef rather than a construction worker.
Q: Berlin wasn’t really buzzing on the culinary radar of Europe’s cities for a pretty long time. Why do you think that changed over the last years?
A: When I came to Berlin after finishing my training in 2001, there was about a handful of decent restaurants in the city. I think that transformation was due to Berlin drawing young and creative people from all over the world, more than a few of them being chefs. They came here to enjoy life, live their dreams and of course, go partying. The working hours in hotels don’t really fit these ambitions, so many of them took up jobs in restaurants, which eventually led to an increased creative quality on the menues. On the other hand there’s that great supply of organic food we’re getting now, the groceries come straight from the farmers to our restaurants. That led to a big increase of the food’s quality.
Q: Even though you’re still pretty young (33), you’re celebrated as Berlin’s next master chef and the culinary world craves for you creations. How do you handle the hype?
A: To be honest, the hype doesn’t really mean that much to me. I’m just glad I get to cook at my own restaurants and they’re going well, what more could I ask for? Sometimes people ask me if I didn’t want to have a Michelin star, but honestly, I don’t. We’re almost always booked up and having a Michelin star would just mean less guests.
Q: Less guests? I should have thought more guests!
A: Our costumers are a cool, leaned back crowd that come here because they feel we’re still down to earth and carry some of that urban Berlin flair. I feel the same way and don’t care for a star and I think neither do our costumers. Of course, there’s a few Michelin star chefs who are doing a great job at marketing and manage to create their own brand, anyway. In the end, I think the Cookies Cream is one of the top notch restaurants in Berlin, star or not.
Q: Agreed! Is there a dish you can’t stand?
A: I’m really not into food that’s still moving when it’s served. Or blue mold cheese.
Q: Where do you find our inspiration?
A: I just have a look at the groceries, really. There’s about 12 different farmers that I regularly visit and we’re talking through what can be planted or harvested soon and then I just kind of go from there. But my personal favourite is the classic french cuisine. I’m a bit of a potato-boy.
Q: The Cookies Cream is located right above the former Club Cookie. Did you often encounter party zombies that would swing by after dancing a whole night through, seeking to refill their vitamin tanks?
A: Nah, they mostly swung by in the evening, before they became party zombies. Our light fares are a solid choice for a pre-party meal. Lots of vitamins and easy on the stomach, gets you through the night every time. The next morning people are more inclined to pay their tributes to the Chipps, where they can get hearty English meals to deal with the hang over.
Q: Let’s talk clubbing. Do you often pay hommage to the famous Berliner Technoschuppen (techno clubs)?
A: I used to be a real Berghain-kiddo. Even back then, when it was still called Ostgut. I’m a huge fan of electronic music and I’m really into techno and house parties. You’d often find me at Kater Holzig, about:blank or sometimes the Watergate. Then there’s that great underground techno party culture you’ll only find in Berlin… not always strictly legal, but guaranteed to blow your mind away.
Q: Which other restaurants can you recommend? Apart from yours, obviously.
A: I like to hang out in the Prater Biergarten on sunny days and have some classic Schnitzel along with a cool beer. Hard to beat! Other than that, there’s the Cocolo Ramen on the Gipsstraße, definitely worth a visit.
Alright! Thanks for taking the time, Stephan, we’ll see you soon!
You can’t decide if you want to go shopping, be a couch potato, have some organic food, get your hairs&nails done, check out some art installations, buy some vinyls, read a book or even get some work done? There’s good news: you don’t have to.
A concept store simply called The Store recently opened its doors in the Soho House Berlin and unites it all under one roof. The great thing about it is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a privileged member or simply want to swing by to grasp some of the unique Soho Flair – it’s open to anyone. Anything you can touch can be bought (except people, as it turned out to our dismay. The staff is HOT). Don’t expect large crowds fighting over the exquisite selection of clothes, though, instead think of a huge shoppable living room where people come together to work, connect and share their ideas over a cup of coffee and buying things becomes more of a side activity.
Roaming the hall we realized there’s something special about this place: the exotic smells. In one corner it’s scented candles, in the next the pleasant smell of old wood, then it’s the scents coming from the kitchen and then there’s a point where they’re all mixing together and create a whole new arousing smell altogether. Buzzy.
The Store carries well known labels like The Row, Alexander Wang, Jil Sander, Proenza Schouler, Issey Miyake and Baja East and offers a very exclusive selection of clothes. Lots of the stuff will be hard to come by anywhere else in Berlin as creative director Alex Eagle handpicks the pieces to be sold in The Store.
You don’t have to worry about getting tired shopping or working either, The Store Kitchen offers exquisite coffee and freshly squeezed juice to get you right back in the game. There’s also smoothies, salads and soups to be had, all made with high quality organic ingredients. Tasty!
Summing it up: The Store is an amazing place and fits all the needs that both a creative professional and a part-time shopping queen could have. Don’t miss out on this.
He’s done it again. The Studio is the fourth restaurant opened in Berlin under the culinary reign of two Michelin-star chef Tim Raue. It’s located on the ground floor of The Factory, Berlin’s innovative silicon valley, which is home to cutting edge global tech companies such as Twitter, Mozilla or SoundCloud.
The employees working in The Factory are lured down into the Studio by not only the delicious smell, but also the attractive special prices at lunch time. Mains can be had for 4€ – 10€, an unbeatable price if you consider both the exquisite taste and high quality of the food. The evening menu prices range from 50€ to 90€ and are well worth the money, you can have up to 10 courses! They’re sweet, they’re sour, they’re spicy – in short, they’re bound to activate even the last of your taste buds.
What’s enjoyable about the Studio apart from the food is its laid back atmosphere. Rather than aiming to attract a super chic crowd and designing the place accordingly, the restaurant is more of a cozy and stylish neighbourhood eatery. The former border house’s deco boasts a mix of awesome custom made vintage furniture, dark woodwork and warm colors to create contrast to the modern offices that many of the people working at The Factory spend most of their days in. Upon entering the venue you’re literally passing a chapter of recent Berlin history – one of the buildings walls actually is an original piece of the famous Berlin Wall.
Tim Raue and kitchen chef Sascha Friedrichs came up with a flexible food concept, granting them a maximum of creative freedom. Every few weeks they recreate the menu under a different motto, which means things never get boring around here and you’re often in for a culinary surprise when visiting the Studio. We had a 6 course menu and let’s just say this: mind = blown.
We were especially impressed with the delicious black pepper beef cheek with pearl onions and lettuce, so get there quickly and try it before the menu changes! After a few white wines we really opened up to the location and stayed way longer than we originally intended (and had more wines than orginally intended, too). The restaurant’s atmosphere is the perfect fit for the techies sharing the house, creating just the right ambience for uninhibited talks over lunch. We’re sure it will be home to many great ideas. We can’t wait to return!
Berlin is all about individuality. You’re free to be whoever you want to be and spending just a few minutes on the streets will assure you that you can look as absurd as it pleases you, too. Tainted Sunglasses, peacock feathers and ripped jeans with your suit jacket? No probs. Undies on your head? Happens all the time. Hence, no one so much as batted an eye when a whole bunch of super trendy looking stylists from WELLA’s Japan division led by Berlinagenten started roaming the streets of Berlin Mitte to hunt for the coolest trends in the city.
Berlinagenten took them on a specially designed Cool Hunting Tour to fulfil their inspirational needs and really help them to dig into Berlin’s creative atmosphere – after all they were here to broaden their horizons and catch some of the city’s unique flair to bring it back home.
After visiting some of Berlin’s mandatory landmarks, we’ve had the pleasure of hosting four simultaneous tours through different trendy boroughs, all well known for their cool&edgy restaurants, bars, design stores and hip boutiques. Every now and then we’ve made somewhat longer stops at the locations to give our vigorous youngsters the chance to ask in depth questions and have a look behind the scenes – we promised to really give them insight into the Berlin fashion and art scene and we didn’t let them down! Visits included fashion labels like Picapica (known for high quality plant-dyed organic-clothing), Tausche, Devaki (they make some of the finest hats), but also the Art Center Bethanien and Berlin’s newest design temple, the Bikini House.
After an eventful day our guests boasted all the pictures they had taken that day over a gourmet dinner at the Soho House, sharing all the colourful memories of a day that’s bound to stay on their minds for months to come. A few of our japanese guests just couldn’t get enough of the city (and Berlinagenten) and decided to join us for a wild night out – strictly off the books. If the others won’t forget Berlin anytime soon, they certainly never will. We ended up partying until the early morning at Berlin’s sexiest cult party – Chantal’s House of Shame and our guests (literally) screamed with delight, all night! We’re already looking forward to having you guys again.