Lipopette: Neighborhood Feeling in Neukölln
It’s early morning in Berlin. The sun hasn't quite made its way above the horizon, and the birds are just beginning to stir. But, on a quiet Neukölln side street, nestled between casinos and Lotto shops, Lipopette is already open, a warm glow in the morning blueness.
“Berlin cafés don’t open in the morning,” Lipopette’s co-owner Fabian points out. By contrast, Lipopette’s doors swing open at 7:30 AM every weekday, welcoming neighborhood residents with hot espresso and toasty croissants. Wedged between Tempelhofer Feld and two graveyards, Lipopette seamlessly insinuated itself into this remote corner of Neukölln two years ago.
Fitting in is important for the owners of Lipopette, lifetime friends Simon and Fabian, who met in Berlin after years apart. They wanted to bring a bit of French café culture to Berlin, but not at the expense of the neighborhood. “We wanted to open a place that still included the people from the neighborhood,” Fabian said. By all measures, they have succeeded: throughout the day, neighborhood characters pop in to say hello and suck down an espresso.
Unlike many of Neukölln’s new businesses, Lipopette keeps its prices affordable: an Americano will set you back €1.60, while their fantastic gallete with ham, cheese, and egg costs a mere €4.60. Top-notch croissants are delivered daily by Délifrance.
That’s not all: By night, Lipopette transforms into a great neighborhood Kneipe, with beers on tap and house-infused rum. Fabian’s favorite is the chili flavor, but the most impressive is certainly the Rum 44: a powerful tincture of coffee, orange, star anise, and vanilla infused in white rum for 44 days. Winters, the spiced, herbal rums are best served hot, as grog. But in the summer, fresh, fruity flavors come out, and cocktails are the name of the game.
Lipopette’s openness and accessibility represents a refreshing counterpoint to the gentrification story being currently playing out all over Berlin. Here, the new and the old mix easily and cordially, and the tension of Weserstraße seems miles away. “The neighborhood is changing,” Fabian says, “but we were here first.”
Lipopette, Warthestraße 9., 12051 Berlin. S+U-Bhf Hermannstraße
By Conor O’Rourke
Conor is a freelance writer and editor living in Berlin. He likes bikes, rap music, and tacos. Find more of his work at Conororourke.com