Let The Good Times Roll

Try your hand at kegeln, an old-school Ger­man bar game sim­i­lar to bowl­ing. Hilda Hoy scoped out a few wor­thy venues.

Where Berlin - - NIGHTLIFE THE GUIDE -

From darts to pool, danc­ing to karaoke, there’s no short­age of ac­tiv­i­ties to get up to when spend­ing a night out at the bar.

One clas­sic pas­time in lo­cal wa­ter­ing holes is

kegeln, bet­ter known in English as skit­tles, a pared-down ver­sion of bowl­ing that was all the rage in the early 20th cen­tury. Though many of Berlin’s kegeln lanes, or Kegel­bah­nen, have dis­ap­peared over the years, a num­ber have sur­vived, scat­tered in bars and base­ments across the city. Given how pop­u­lar the lanes are most nights of the week, it seems this beloved bar game isn’t go­ing to dis­ap­pear any­time soon.

Right in the pop­u­lar bar dis­trict of Kreuzberg, Tante Lis­beth (Muskauer Str. 49, www.tante-lis­beth.de) is a con­ve­nient place to try your hand at kegeln. The ground-floor bar has a cozy am­bi­ence thanks to mis­matched vin­tage fur­ni­ture and plenty of flick­er­ing can­dles, but it’s tucked away in the base­ment where you’ll find the charm­ingly retro

Kegel­bahn lanes and lounge area. Be­cause the wooden floors aren’t oiled, no spe­cial bowl­ing shoes are needed, though that also makes the be­hav­ior of the ball less pre­dictable (and the game all the more fun). Head back up to the bar once the game’s up, where the win­ner can cel­e­brate and the losers can drown their sor­rows. For a few rounds of

kegeln to­wards the north end of the city, Kugel­bahn Wed­ding (Grün­taler Str. 51, www.kugel­bah­n­wed­ding.com) is the place. The own­ers have trans­formed the space from a grungy dive bar into a hip, lively, and wel­com­ing space, leav­ing, of course, the set of 1950s kegeln lanes in­tact. The other big draw here are the con­certs and DJ nights, so when your wrists are ready for a rest, take a seat in the bar area for some mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment. There are also lanes at nearby Born­holmer Hütte (Born­holmer Str. 89), which is the un­ren­o­vated, old-school, real deal, a neigh­bor­hood wa­ter­ing hole un­de­terred by the lat­est hip­ster bar trends. In fact, their lanes are said to be the old­est in Berlin, dat­ing back to the early 1900s. That also means it’s not au­to­mated and the nine pins need to be placed again by hand af­ter every throw, but hey, that’s part of the charm. Just re­mem­ber that wher­ever you go, it’s rec­om­mended to book the lanes in ad­vance to avoid dis­ap­point­ment. Let’s roll!

This photo, and be­low left: Kugel­bahn Wed­ding.

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