By C.H. Kwak in Berlin—
Once synonymous with juvenile delinquency, the immigrant and working-class district of Neukölln has become the hottest neighborhood in Berlin. The past three years have seen especially the northern edge of Neukölln transform at a furious speed. A junk shop turns into a designer boutique overnight, a wholesaler into a tapas bar—such is the caprice of gentrification.
Bars are mushrooming in the area between Sonnenallee and the Landwehr Canal, especially along Weserstraße. Named “Kreuzkölln” owing to its proximity to Kreuzberg, this part of Neukölln may escape some tourists’ radars; for many in-the-know visitors, this is the only place to be right now (much to the locals’ dismay). Some say this is another Prenzlauer Berg in the making. So come on down, because the price is right (for now).
Here are six bars and nightspots to check out in Neukölln:
Weserstraße 40, near U-7/U-8 Hermannplatz
Too cool for consonants, Ä packs in hip kids night after night. Never mind we’re technically still in West Berlin. East German relics, like the emblem of the East Berlin libraries, decorate the sparse bar that doubles as a performance space for concerts and readings.
2. Fuchs und Elster
Weserstraße 207, near U-7/U-8 Hermannplatz
Named after a children’s TV show about a fox married to a magpie, this bar/lounge is a stronghold of the typical Berlin living room aesthetics.
Weserstraße 206, near U-7/U-8 Hermannplatz
The smoky bar next door has a rack of frilly dresses and ladies’ hats—just because. Made for “Kings and Queens and Criminal Queers,” the lesbian/trans-centric bar welcomes anyone and everyone, especially if they’re willing to slip into something, shall we say, more comfortable? Wigs optional.
Weserstrasse 202, near U-7/U-8 Hermannplatz
An open fire, retro décor, ten kinds of vodka, oh my! Some call the old wooden furniture “trash chic” (or did I misunderstand “très chic”?). The walls are decorated with new works from young Berlin artists.
Friedelstraße 28, near U-8 Schönleinstraße
Kinski is technically a “culture club” that hosts film nights (Tuesday is Western night), DJ sessions and live concerts. But most of all, it’s a fun bar where you can kick back and have a drink with friends.
Kottbusser Damm 104, near U-8 Schönleinstraße
Fads come and go, but Ankerklause’s dropped its anchor long ago and is here to stay. The veritable institution on the canal remains as unpretentious as ever. You can have breakfast on its riverside terrace first thing in the morning, or dance wildly to the eclectic selection on the jukebox into the night.