Ber­lin For Night Owls

Like to stay up late? Take note of Hilda Hoy’s fa­vorite ways to ex­plore Ber­lin’s late-night, af­ter-hours side.

Where Berlin - - CON­TENTS -

Af­ter-hour tips that make it well worth stay­ing up late. BY HILDA HOY

T his is a city that comes alive at night, show­ing the most col­or­ful, lively, and en­chant­ing sides of its char­ac­ter un­der the cover of dark­ness. Whether you’re an avowed night owl, an in­som­niac, or just shak­ing off a touch of jet­lag, fol­low these 10 tips to get your long Ber­lin night started.


Late-night shop­ping isn’t re­ally a thing in Ber­lin, with most shops clos­ing up by 8pm. But luck­ily for book­worms and mu­sic lovers, there’s Duss­mann (Friedrich­str. 90, www. kul­, a mas­sive em­po­rium of books, mag­a­zines, mu­sic, and sta­tionery right in the heart of Mitte that stays open un­til mid­night. Tucked away through a back atrium is a sep­a­rate, two-level English­language book­store, filled with cozy leather arm­chairs.


When the clock strikes 12, long af­ter the city’s gal­leries and mu­se­ums have locked their doors, is when Video Art at

Mid­night is just get­ting started. Since 2008, this monthly se­ries at Kino Baby­lon (Rosa-Lux­em­burg-Str. 30, www.videoar­tat-mid­ has been wel­com­ing au­di­ences for a free, late-Fri­day-night screen­ing of video art. The venue is a cool art­house cinema in Mitte that dates back to 1929. Set your alarm: This month’s event is on 14 April.


As ev­ery­one knows, it’s far bet­ter to drink with com­pany than to drink alone. At Bei

Sch­law­inchen (Schön­le­in­str. 34), you’re guaranteed to find a few com­pan­ions at any hour of the day, since this 24-hour bar has re­put­edly been open non-stop for the last three decades. Don’t ex­pect cock­tails topped with pa­per um­brel­las: This is a dive bar ex­traor­di­naire, with the am­bi­ence to match. It may be a lit­tle rough around the edges, but that’s part of the Kreuzberg charm – and the peo­ple-watch­ing can’t be beat.


There’s some­thing about the post-mid­night air that can re­ally make you hun­gry, and some of the best late-night eat­ing is in Kreuzberg. The orig­i­nal, ever-pop­u­lar branch of Burg­er­meis­ter (www.burg­er­meis­, tucked be­neath the el­e­vated U1 tracks at Sch­le­sis­ches Tor, stays open ex­tra late (3am week­days, 4am weekends) to ac­com­mo­date rav­en­ous bar-hop­pers. Not far off is also Konak Grill (Re­ichen­berger Str. 10, www.kon­, where the spe­cialty is grilled köfte meat pat­ties stuffed into a crusty bun. For that sweet tooth, head to bak­eries Melek Pas­tanesi (Oranien­str. 28) or

Sa­lut Back­waren (Sch­le­sis­che Str. 1), both of which are open all day, ev­ery day.


Who said late nights need to be drunken and de­praved? The “Late-Night Con­certs” se­ries at Konz­erthaus, a gen­teel neo­clas­si­cal hall on pretty Gen­dar­men­markt square (www.konz­, brings mu­sic and a touch of class to Ber­lin’s nights. This month’s event on 28 April fea­tures pi­anist Pierre-Lau­rent Ai­mard play­ing pieces by Hun­gar­ian com­posers Ligeti and Kurtág, plus pi­anist-turned-poet Al­fred Bren­del read­ing some of his po­ems.


When it comes to ro­mance, the old-school kind is some­times the best. For more than a decade, a tiny movie theater in Pren­zlauer Berg has been hold­ing up its own spe­cial tra­di­tion: Ev­ery Satur­day at mid­night,

Licht­blick Kino (Kas­tanien­allee 77, www. licht­ screens one of the most en­dur­ing ro­mance films of all time, the 1942

Casablanca. It’s the story of the doomed love be­tween Humphrey Bog­art and In­grid Bergman, set against the back­drop of WWII in­trigue.


To see a com­pletely dif­fer­ent side to late-night Ber­lin, take the glass el­e­va­tor to 16th-floor So­lar (Stre­se­mannstr. 76, www. so­lar­ber­ It’s a thrilling ride as the el­e­va­tor zips up the out­side façade of the build­ing, and out­side the win­dows is a sea of twin­kling lights reach­ing out to the hori­zon. The kitchen serves fine Euro­pean cui­sine un­til late, while the classy lounge floor one level above stays open un­til 3am with a slew of DJs lay­ing down the sound­track to the un­beat­able night views.


There’s some­thing about im­prov jazz that per­fectly suits the any­thing-goes feel of the late-night hours. At A-Trane (Bleib­treustr. 1,, a ven­er­a­ble Char­lot­ten­burg jazz club dat­ing back more than 20 years, there are monthly jam ses­sions where the tunes are fresh and the en­try free, start­ing at mid­night and go­ing well into the wee hours. Don’t miss this month’s jam session on 1 April.


A Char­lot­ten­burg in­sti­tu­tion since 1978, Sch­warzes Café (Kantstr. 148, www. schwarzescafe-ber­ isn’t your typ­i­cal 24-hour food joint. It’s got style and char­ac­ter, housed in a grand, two-level, turnof-the-cen­tury space com­plete with orig­i­nal dec­o­ra­tive stucco and par­quet floor­ing. The scene is mixed and con­vivial, espe­cially early on week­end morn­ings when the post-club break­fast crowd streams in.


Ber­lin’s club scene hardly needs an in­tro­duc­tion, does it? The city’s leg­endary nightlife is clearly one its ma­jor draws. To ex­pe­ri­ence just a taste of the all-night club ac­tion, try Berghain ( for so-hip-it-hurts min­i­mal techno and house,

Water­gate (www.wa­ for slick crowd-pleas­ing house, Kater Blau (www. for youth­ful, he­do­nis­tic party nights, and Tre­sor (www.tre­sor­ber­ for techno of the hy­per-mas­cu­line, bass­pound­ing type. Wher­ever you go, the party doesn’t re­ally get started un­til at least 3am, so bring your stamina.


Clock­wise from top left: The streets of Kreuzberg at night; cre­at­ing drinks at Sch­warzes Café; a jam session at A-Trane; a juicy burger from Burg­er­meis­ter; Licht­blick Kino; late-night read­ing; Kreuzberg nights.

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