NIGHTLIFE

Solveig Steinhardt strolled around Sav­i­gny­platz for a glimpse of West Ber­lin nightlife in the 1980s.

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS -

Ex­plore Sav­i­gny­platz's cafés and clubs for a glimpse into the nightlife of for­mer West Ber­lin.

In a city where each neigh­bor­hood caters to a dif­fer­ent nightlife per­son­al­ity – from party­land Friedrichshain to al­ter­na­tive Kreuzberg, laid- back Schöneberg to hipster Mitte – it’s easy to for­get about the ex­is­tence of the af­ter- dark scene around Sav­i­gny­platz, in Char­lot­ten­burg. Yet, this was one of for­mer West Ber­lin’s most pop­u­lar nightlife des­ti­na­tions, es­pe­cially among in­tel­lec­tu­als and stu­dents from the nearby Tech­nis­che Univer­sität.

The area’s per­sona, how­ever, has al­ways been a mixed one, what with lux­u­ri­ous, late-1800s build­ings hous­ing el­e­gant cafés and restau­rants, in con­trast with nearby Kantstraße and its cheap elec­tron­ics out­lets and sex shops. It may be hard to be­lieve to­day, but up un­til the early 1990s, the Platz also housed a few le­gal broth­els, with pros­ti­tutes on street corners invit­ing clients up­stairs.

Sav­i­gny­platz’s rep­u­ta­tion has vastly im­proved, and to­day Kantstraße is a var­ied mix of de­signer fur­ni­ture stores and Asian restau­rants, rep­re­sent­ing Ber­lin’s pared- down ver­sion of a Chi­na­town. Many of the nightlife sta­ples of yore re­main, the most fa­mous be­ing Sch­warzes Café (p. 60), which pro­vides an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of bo­hemian Ber­lin around the clock (they only close for three hours on Tues­day nights for clean­ing). Another in­sti­tu­tion is Dicke Wirtin (p. 59), a Ger­man Kneipe serv­ing de­li­cious beers along with hearty meals. For fla­menco and vinot­into, head to El Bor­riq­uito ( Wieland­str. 6), which has been serv­ing Ibe­rian cui­sine for more than 40 years and fea­tures walls crammed with mem­o­ra­bilia from the Span­ish coun­try­side and lively guitar per­for­mances to en­ter­tain guests un­til early morn­ing. Hep cats should visit A-Trane (p. 55), which boasts a pro­gram packed with lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional jazz per­for­mances, or Quasi­modo (p. 56), where jazz and rock gigs re­sound from the cel­lar while you sip po­tent drinks on the ter­race. For a so­phis­ti­cated night out, step into Il Cal­ice ( Wal­ter- Ben­jamin- Platz 4), a Vene­tian enoteca spe­cial­iz­ing in Ital­ian wines and pair­ings geared to­ward real con­nois­seurs.

"Sav­i­gny­platz was one of West Ber­lin's most pop­u­lar nightlife des­ti­na­tions."

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