Increasingly known as the hipster capital of Germany, Berlin is home to its fair share of trendy bars, concept restaurants, and contemporary street art.
We rounded up 24 of the coolest new places the city has to offer, from a latex-only boutique to a swimming pool-turned-nightclub to a restaurant that doubles as a tattoo parlor.
For this list, we focused on Berlin-based businesses that opened within the past five years or so. Know a cool business we missed? Let us know in the comments.
What it is: A boutique hotel with a playful vibe.
Why it's cool: Despite the name, bikinis really have nothing to do with this quirky hotel, which has bicycles hanging from the ceiling. Guests who stay at this hotel can rent Mini Coopers (for free!), sample locally-distilled vodka in the lobby, and dine in the hotel's Neni Berlin restaurant, where you'll find standard items as well as unique offerings like currywurst, kombucha, smoothies, and a DIY coffee and tea station.
What it is: An underground barber shop.
Why it's cool: If you're looking for a hip place to change up your look, step into this converted basement, which serves as both a barber shop and an exhibition space, complete with a bar. Mirroring the vibe of the trendy Kreuzberg neighbourhood, concrete walls contrast stylists' shiny equipment, and no hairstyle is too offbeat to try. We'd recommend deciding on a hairstyle before hitting the bar, though.
What it is: A hidden butcher shop-themed bar.
Why it's cool: Instead of steaks and ribs, you'll see bottles of liquor hanging from the meat hooks on the ceiling of this bar, which is accessible through Fleischerei, a currywurst shop. Red, fluorescent lights illuminate the space and old-looking paintings of burly men sporting bloodied aprons and cleavers give you the feeling you're walking into a horror film, but the quality of the drinks (read: stiff) will quickly calm your nerves.
What it is: A potato pancake-making food truck.
Why it's cool: Die Dollen Knollen-Puffermanufaktur focuses on one thing, and one thing only: the perfect potato pancake (or 'latke,' if you're Jewish). And eureka -- they have done it! DDKP tops their kartoffelpuffer with all sorts of things, from beetroot cream to cream cheese and smoked salmon to yogurt and shredded carrots.
What it is: A vintage clothing store that charges by the kilo.
Why it's cool: If you do a little digging, you can find a ton of interesting things at Garage, which, rather than charge per item like most stores, charges by weight -- usually €19.99 per kilo, but they also run great deals. Every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. is 'happy hour,' where your purchase is 30% off.
What it is: A boutique hotel devoted to holistic wellness.
Why it's cool: The Hotel Bleibtreu Berlin is where you stay when you want to heal naturally, get some pampering, or both. The hotel has an alternative medical practitioner in house, and a 'well-being area' with an herbal steam bath. Relax in the harmonious, feng shui-ed courtyard after a long day of sightseeing, and you're set.
What it is: A bar with a different menu every month.
Why it's cool: Step out of your comfort zone and into this cozy, brick-walled bar for one of John Muir's creative cocktails, which change monthly. Past concoctions have included the Wutang Killer Beets (tequila, beetroot, and pomegranate) and the Black Beer'd (cognac, black beer, lime, orange, and bitters). If you're not a fan of hard liquor, the bar also offers a Monday beer night and plenty of live music.
What it is: A provocative fashion magazine.
Why it's cool: Kaltblut, which translates to 'cold blood,' features local fashion and art, and aims to represent Berlin's youth. Each issue sticks to a theme, such as 'iconic' or 'avant garde,' but allows artists and photographers to showcase any point of view within it. The magazine is no small undertaking either -- some issues have been 400 pages thick or more.
What it is: A brewery-turned-art museum.
Why it's cool: Though this brand new museum still holds relics of its past life as a brewery (you can still see the six huge copper kettles which once held beer), the refurbished buildings now feature installations from international artists, an event space, and a cafe. By 2015, KINDL hopes to open its own production area, complete with a photo lab and studio space for local artists.
What it is: A museum full of rare and odd antiques.
Why it's cool: Me Collectors Room (the 'me' stands for 'moving energies,' according to founder and curator Dr. Thomas Olbricht) is a private art space that features a rotating collection of oddities from all periods, ranging from vintage toys to empty skulls to pieces of modern art from Olbrict's personal collection. The museum is also home to a cabinet of curiosities, or wunderkammer, which holds strange artifacts from centuries past.
What it is: A cafe that brings Australia to Berlin.
Why it's cool: Australians in Berlin feel right at home when they find Melbourne Canteen, which may be the only place to find Vegemite toast and poached eggs in the entire city. The cafe is also a partner of the Down Under Berlin Film Festival, the largest film festival in Europe dedicated to Australian and New Zealand films.
What it is: A Jewish/Israeli 'cult party.'
Why it's cool: Dubbed 'the unkosher Jewish night,' Meschugge Berlin is a place for Jews and non-Jews to boogie down. It was founded by DJ Aviv ('without the Tel') Netter, who doesn't consider himself religious but uses Meschugge Berlin as a way to connect with his Jewish heritage. Meschugge Berlin spins Jewish and Israeli music all night every two weeks or so.
What it is: A rustic, unmarked cafe.
Why it's cool: You won't find anything pretentious about this hidden, rustic cafe -- in fact, you might not even know you're in the right place until you enter the nondescript building. Commonly referred to as 'The Cafe With No Name,' this restaurant aims for a simplistic, authentic aesthetic and the menu changes daily, offering everything from homemade soup to goose haunches.
What it is: A formal space for supper clubs.
Why it's cool: Opened in response to the growing popularity and demand for supper clubs in Berlin, Muse hosts supper club events two to three times a week, serving an ever-changing, completely homemade menu. You'll have to book a reservation for one of the club events, catered by a rotating selection of guest chefs, but even if you aren't lucky enough to snag a spot, the restaurant is also open to the public daily for lunch.
What it is: The world's first all-Paleo restaurant.
Why it's cool: Sauvage follows a strict Paleo way of cooking -- that means no grains, gluten, soy, refined sugar, dairy, or vegetable oils, 'like humans did for millions of years.' Naturally, it's not a great choice for vegetarians, but carnivores will love the meat-centric menus -- gourmet at the Winsstraße location, casual at the Pflügerstraße one -- which are full of natural, unprocessed and, where possible, organic dishes.
What it is: A nightclub inside an old public swimming pool.
Why it's cool: Years after this community pool closed, the venue reopened as a cultural center, hosting DJs and dance parties in the middle of the pool itself and art exhibits in the adjacent building. But even if you don't land a spot in the deep end, there's still plenty to explore in the maze-like building, including a street-level bar and tons of local art.
What it is: A vegetarian/vegan restaurant in a converted shipping container.
Why it's cool: With a focus on healthy living, this tiny restaurant serves up big flavour. It's known for its fresh juices, grab-and-go sandwiches, and sustainable business practices, including green packaging and locally-sourced ingredients. But TTCCH's most sustainable element is arguably the space itself -- the restaurant is located in a refurbished shipping container. Just six people can fit cozily inside, but there's ample outdoor seating on nice days.
What it is: A shop where everything sold is made of latex.
Why it's cool: This kinky boutique sells everything from underwear to apparel to handbags and accessories, and yes, it's all made of latex. But before you ask, 'that can't be very comfortable, can it?' the answer is, define 'comfortable...' Fetishists and non-fetish latex enthusiasts alike flock to Très Bonjour for high quality latex items that fit -- well, like a glove.
What it is: A shop that creates 3D printed models of customers.
Why it's cool: Nothing creates interesting party fodder quite like a miniature replica of yourself, and at Twinkind, you can make it happen. Get an on-the-spot scan of yourself printed into an exact 3D model -- it's as easy as posing for a photograph. Take your mini-me a step further with custom-printed clothing and accessories to match. And don't forget your furry friends! Twinkind also does pet models.
What it is: A store dedicated entirely to the alphabet.
Why it's cool: Every product in the Type Hype store glorifies letters and typography, from pillows to phone cases to framed prints. There's even an old-school printing press for a touch of authenticity. Need a shopping break? Check out the adjacent milk bar and coffee shop, where you can grab fresh bread, local dairy products and, of course, chocolate letters.
What it is: Europe's first crowdfunded brewery.
Why it's cool: After growing tired of the stale selection of domestic beer available in Berlin, three American expats began brewing their own. One successful crowdfunding campaign later, and this small yet diverse brewery now serves a startlingly wide selection of craft beer, from ales to stouts to IPAs. Stop in and see what creative brew they're working on at the moment -- they believe there's no limit to what beer can taste like.
What it is: A vintage clothing shop, where purchases come with stories about the previous owner.
Why it's cool: All the clothes in this second-hand store come with personality, and not just by design. Not only will you find unique vintage pieces, including the occasional high-end discovery such as a Dior scarf or Versace shirt, but each item comes with a handwritten note about its previous owner's adventures. There's also the 'Trading Box,' where you can pick up free items in exchange for clothing or accessory donations.
What it is: An ironic restaurant, club, and tattoo parlor.
Why it's cool: If you've been wondering where you can get a rad tattoo while having dinner and rocking out to house music (and please, we know you have), you can do it at White Trash Fast Food. Dubbed 'Berlin's best steaks plus German-Asian-Mexican-French-Swiss-Army Fusion, with guitar,' the place dishes out a mix of stereotypical American takeout foods in one area, club beats in a third.
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