Going Out

Berlin’s metropolitan charm is undeniable, its vibrancy and ability to exist in a state of perpetual change simply hypnotising. After years of separation, both cultural and political, preceded by a sustained period of war and aerial bombardment that left the city in ruins, the German capital has bloomed into a haven for free-spirited living and a do-it-yourself attitude.

Sustained economic growth in West Berlin, and investment by western powers during the Cold War, fuelled a serious culture of decadence and indulgence – a legacy that lives on and still manages to garner worldwide acclaim to this day.

After decades of neglect during the DDR period, East Berlin has blossomed into a bohemian wonderland, a melting pot of artistic freedom and expression. The shrapnel-damaged facades of buildings often left untouched since the end of the second world war conceal exclusive drinking dens and cafes, furnished with threadbare divans and worn-in armchairs, all in true derelict chic. Many of the former impersonal concrete tenements are now occupied on their ground floors by intoxicating bars and restaurants. You’ll also find techno clubs in former power stations and even Wurst being sold in shoe shops.

Hardcore techno enthusiasts still tout the German capital as being the birthplace of techno music, and the right to wear this crown has not been neglected. Some of the best clubs in the world are in Berlin, entrance remains cheap, and the high musical standards expected from any city with such a prestigious claim to fame remain high. The German capital’s late-night reputation is well founded, with the city’s legendary playful spirit erupting when darkness falls. Formalities, such as evening meals, usually start between 18:00 and 22:00 – then fun will ensue.

Although central Mitte has at least partially succumbed to the spread of fastfood chains such as McDonald’s and Subway, Berlin’s outer neighbourhoods have so far largely managed to stave off similar franchise eateries. The best restaurants, cafes and bars are the local ones. The culture of Volkskuche – cheap, simple food mostly served in squats and bars – lives on in punky Friedrichshain, but gourmet eaters are also spoilt for choice throughout the city, which is more than liberally sprinkled with Michelin-starred restaurants. No matter how deep your wallet, the German capital’s wide spectrum of culinary delights will leave you satisfied and coming back for seconds.

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