Paris in the 20s, London in the 60s, New York in the 90s; is it now Berlin’s time to be the world’s art capital? With its world-class museums and bohemian atmosphere, Berlin and art go together just like a Sterni and a Bratwurst. Combined with its famed nightlife and generous incentives for artists, being in the German capital is a no-brainer for many young people who want to enrich their creative life. Yet one of the vital parts of cultural life in the city also happens in its watering holes, many of which also host exhibitions.
So before you stumble into a Que Pasa and get blindsided on €3.50 cocktails, read this handy guide to the best artist hangouts in Berlin. From faded joints in the west to the hidden gems of labyrinthian Neukölln, we have the ultimate guide to help you crack the city.
Although far gone from its heyday in the 70s when it was patronized by David Bowie and Iggy Pop, and Martin Kippenberger paid for his steak and frites with paintings, Paris Bar still enjoys its reputation as one of west Berlin’s most infamous eateries. Now that its celebrating 40 years in the business it’s the perfect time to swing by even if only to look at the art by Daniel Richter and Joseph Beuys.
Paris Bar, Kantstraße 152, 10623 Berlin
Forming the trifecta of a great Oranienstrasse night out involving nearby venues Franken and So36, Roses dazzles anyone who enters with its marvellous 90s decadent decor. Decked out with glitter balls and pink fur-lined walls, Berlin’s coolest gay bar is a regular haunt for the hip artists and pre-Berghain crews.
Roses, Oranienstraße 187, 10999 Berlin
3. Bar 3
Opposite members club Soho House, and on the periphery of Prenzlauer Berg, Bar 3 is a common local for collectors, painters, curators and critics to hobnob and talk about what’s hot and what’s not.
Bar 3, Weydingerstraße 20, 10178 Berlin
4. Basically The Whole Of Weserstrasse
A typical Weserstrasse bar is usually tiny, dark, candlelight, loud and very smoky. And there’s usually a room in the back that looks like your grandmothers living room. Come visit the ultimate trendy spot now before it turns into Simon-Dach Strasse.
Weserstraße, 10247 Berlin
5. Neu West Berlin
The venue for the eponymous collective, Neu West moves every three years. I caught them once in the early hours of the morning on Köpenicker Straße post-Tresor as they took over a soon-to-be-rebuilt block of flats and held a nonstop rave there. Now their venues form an awesome locus between hanging out and exhibiting the freshest art. Find them now at Yorckstrasse 86.
Neu West Berlin, Yorckstraße 86, 10965 Berlin
Clothes shop during the day, bar/club/kino/art gallery in the evening, Sameheads is a great place to hang out if you’re looking for that perfect ratio of dancing to chilling to help you pick up fellow creative Berliners. While the upstairs looks like the ’80s club in San Junipero, downstairs is your typically grotty Berlin techno basement.
Sameheads, Richardstraße 10, 12043 Berlin
7. Art Stalker
A gallery first and a bar second, Art Stalker hosts both concerts and exhibitions. Worth visiting if you are looking for original art at affordable prices, or just trying to get your own sold.
Art Stalker, Kaiser-Friedrich-Straße 67, 10627 Berlin
8. Das Gift
A legendary Neukölln pub owned by Mogwai’s keyboardist Barry Burns, Das Gift not only has an excellent selection of whiskies, but is also host to a wide variety of artistic events. Robert Smith of The Cure even created his own artwork to go with it!
Das Gift, Donaustraße 119, 12043 Berlin
Known as a common haunt for artists during Berlin’s peak, Diener still has a unique, unexplainable vibe. Hop down for the cheap beers, stay to chat with the local artists.
Diener Tattersall, Grolmanstraße 47, 10623 Berlin
With music, art, film screenings and talks, Panke is a multi-purpose club/café that is putting the underrated Wedding back on the map. Well worth the journey north!
Panke Culture, Hof V, Gerichtstraße 23, 13347 Berlin