Berlin Mitte Travel Guide

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Fridas Schwester Restaurant

Fridas Schwester Restaurant

Lars Henke

You can take a stroll through Mitte at almost any time of day or night. Whether shoe shops or designer stores, cafés or bars, restaurants or theatres, you will always find scene meeting-places that are open. And when it comes to nightlife entertainment, Mitte is quite clearly the No. 1 Berlin district at the moment. Oranienburger Straße, now well known from radio and TV, is actually out of fashion again and rather too full of tourist buses. But there are still quite a few places on this street worth a visit. Top of the list are long-established pubs and party locations like Tacheles, Café Silberstein and Obst&Gemuese. WMF (lots of house, drum & bass), is just behind Friedrichstadtpalast. Across the street is Kalkscheune, which offers cabaret, concerts and standard dance evenings as well as special events.

Café Orange has very beautiful interior decor. Opulent chandeliers light the high-ceilinged rooms and the floor and doors are painted ox-blood colour (this is the rust-red colour on old Berlin wooden floors). Italian food is one specialty on the menu. The gallery and pub Assel has a student atmosphere. You can sit in the basement and look at pictures or at the pavement tables outside where you can watch people strolling by.

If you have got sore feet at this point in Oranienburger Straße you can rent a bike at Famos. It costs all of 3 DM per hour. You can also find bikes round the next corner, at Fahrradstation in the Hackesche Höfe. The shop also organises guided bike tours. Places to shop in this area include Riccardo Cartillone, and Barfuß oder Lackschuh, which offer Italian and other quality shoes. Keep your eyes peeled for bargains during the sales! You can also find clubwear in this street, for instance at Stoffwechsel, which sells clubby handbags too.

No matter from which direction you go towards the Hackesche Höfe, you immediately notice the rapid concentration of cafés, restaurants, designer stores and other shops. One of the nicest newer shops is Atemlos, an interior design gallery that sells furniture and lights by international artists. It is packed full of colourful, ornamental things. You may not be able to afford these (yet), but there are also accessories like coloured mats adorned with hearts for people with smaller purses. One pub that's a real institution and a relaxing change from the daily bustle of tourism and commerce in this area is Café Cinema in Rosenthaler Straße. You should also take a look at the eight courtyards of the Hackesche Höfe - particularly because of the fine architecture by the art nouveau architect August Endell.

Meanwhile the scene has shifted a bit further on to the triangle between Hackescher Markt, Rosenthaler Platz and Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. Oxymoron offers house nights, electro and drum & bass. It's pretty mainstream in Sophienclub - from Brit-pop to funk. A classic route takes you down Neue Schönhauser Straße where you find all kinds of way-out shops and restaurants and some unbelievable waiter service - for instance, in Schwarzenraben (apologize for simply saying what you want). At Frida's Schwester right next door the service and atmosphere are both good. Close by is espresso l'una, just the place for fans of Italian bruscettas and similar delicacies.

Further on, in Alte Schönhauser Straße, you find cosy places like Offers or Café Döblin. Sisal and Cantamaggio are also good for satisfying the appetite you work up walking round this area. Recently quite a few shops selling furnishings and bric-á-brac from the 50s to the 70s have opened up around here. Take a look into Schönhauser, Tenderloin Stoffrausch (which sells clothes too) and Stue (a bit more elegant). And nearby in Mitte you can find the Volksbühne, which is not only a very lively theatre but also an excellent place to enjoy yourself generally - for instance, in the Grüner and Roter Salon.

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