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In The Search of Berlin's Grimiest Pub Crawl


As Berlin continues its ascendance to that great tourist heaven in the sky, where the shots flow freely and every hour is happy hour, one sometimes wonders if it’s still possible to have a proper, old-school bender in this town. Never fear. We put our intrepid reporter Julian Sylvester on the case, searching Berlin high (and low) for the that perfectly degenerate Odyssey through the weekend darkness.

With so many fine drinking establishments blessing our lovely city, where to begin? Fear no more, dear drinker, for this is a comprehensive guide to where and how to get hammered in Berlin.

We’re going to skip the pre-drinking rituals and put you straight on the U1 train until you reach Kottbusser Tor. Truly the belly of the beast and one of Berlin’s real meccas of decadence, Kotti is host to the underbelly of humanity: from local street dwellers to aging crust punks with dogs to youngsters rendezvousing in front of the Kaisers, where incidentally, our journey begins.

STOP ONE: Kaisers, Skalitzerstraße 134:  €0.80 can of lager, €1.79 Schinken-Käse Brötchen.
The Kaisers on Kotti seems aware of its surroundings, and so happens to be a great place to procure your first beverage and probably something solid to line your stomach with. How much for that soggy sandwich in the window? Grab a can of beer to round it out and enjoy your dignified meal out front like a true creature of the night.

STOP TWO: Anonymous Späti, Adalbertstrasse 97: Pack of the fags, €5.40.
You’ve devoured that chemical sandwich and skulled your can of lager, now head up to the Späti on Adalbertstrasse and get yourself a pack of the fags. What’s that? You dont smoke? Do you think this is a game?

STOP THREE: Möbel Olfe, Reichenberger Straße 177: 2 Pints, €5.
Now, make your way towards the left until you hit Möbel Olfe. If you’re having a hard time finding the entrance while you’re still reasonably sober, just imagine how hard it’s going to be to get out. Now, if you don’t tend to like establishments with an abundance of very well-groomed and handsome chaps, then get over yourself, because what city do you think this is? Once you’ve managed to get the attention of the bar staff, order those two drinks at the same time because it will be a royal pain in the tits to get back there again. That’s better. Feels good right? Sure does, but it’s about time to move on, so grab all your stuff and evacuate.

STOP FOUR: Gorgonzola: Glass of Pinot Grigio, €4 Focaccia con Pecorino €3, Salad €4.
As you emerge blinking into the darkening night, you’ll will find yourself standing on Dresdener Straße. Walk down the street until you find a fine Italian eatery called Gorgonzola. Those pints made you a bit peckish, so indulge in some olives, a nice focaccia, or whatever they have on offer. A glass of wine? Why not? It might be good to have something lighter for a change. Go for white. Now… wasn’t this worth it? Isn’t it great to have some cheese and enjoy a lovely glass of Pinot Grigio? Oh yes and cigarette would hit sure hit the spot. Since you bought a pack, crack that bad boy open and try to look sophisticated while you’re at it. Look at you, you refined son of a bitch.

STOP FIVE: Roses: €3.50 Cocktail, €2.50 Bottle of Lager.
If you haven’t heard of Roses, you probably need more fabulous friends. Don’t feel intimidated by the tasteful, classic decor or the pink fur in the walls. Remember what I said about establishments with well-groomed and handsome chaps? Get used to it, because that was only the beginning. This place is a wonderful caesar salad of humanity with extra anchovies. Just relax, try to find a place to lurk, and get yourself a drink. It’s time for a cocktail anyway. Feel like having a dance? Yeah, a few drinks will do that to you. But it’s too full here, so get out and walk back towards Kaisers.

STOP SIX: Monarch: €2 Entry, €2.60 Pints.
Kaisers is closed, but do you hear the ruckus coming from the windows above you? Find your way through the intricate labyrinth of doors and stairs until you hit Monarch. Pay the man at the door, or he won’t let you in. Ooooh yes. The DJ is blasting something you don’t know, but it’s fine cause you’re drinking and smoking and talking to some random people in the toilet. By now you’ve already spent way too much money on that third pack of cigarettes and shots for your newfound friends, plus whatever the hell you were doing in the bathroom. Time to wind it down. Not to worry, we’re off to the last oasis in the deserted streets of Kottbusser Tor this time of night… the Rote Rose.

FINAL STOP: Rote Rose: €2.80 Pint.
Now, I can’t account for what you’ll find yourself doing here or who you’ll end up with, but please try to take it easy. These people are professionals. The jukebox is strangely adequate, so don’t be ashamed to invest in some Alice Cooper or Kiss tunes: after all, you’re dazed and probably confused. Be polite to the friendly strangers, but do not engage more than necessary. At Rote Rose, less is more. If you’re lucky, you might be able to interact with an array of magical cast of characters that will range from middle-aged drinking wizards to a dancing midget. If you encounter the latter, leave the jukebox alone, it’s simply not your place. This is the place for you to wait the night (and maybe the drugs) out. Remember not to give all your cigarettes away, you’ll need one or two for your walk of shame.

By Julian Sylvester

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