Potsdam Travel Guide

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Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam

Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam

Tracy Scriver

The Potsdam scene is not at all that big, but it's certainly very diverse. Parties are a bit thin on the ground, but the motto is "if you look, you'll find something". You don't have to look for cafe's in Potsdam, you find them en masse, and some pub and cafe owners compensate for the lack of parties by organising their own events.

The boat pub Theaterschiff is anchored near Lange Brücke. Here you can relax in a cosy maritime atmosphere and eat simple homely food from the galley at reasonable prices, or try out one of the many kinds of beer. Apart from being a pub and restaurant, this pleasant sailor's dive is also a cultural meeting-place:on Wednesdays guests are invited to "cinema on the boat" and Thursdays a jazz band plays. Now and again there are salsa and Caribbean nights for Latino fans. Rhytmic sounds can also frequently be heard on this cultural boat: the percussion nights are a big treat for drum lovers. In summer you can enjoy your beer in the sun on the upper deck.

Das Quartier also has a big cultural programme. You met all sorts here, from squatters to lawyers. Fridays are dedicated to parties. Whether it's a medley (music from the '70s, '80s and '90s), gender-blender or rainbow parties (organised by the Gay men/Lesbian Connection Potsdam), there's something for everybody. You can also show off your skill at billiards or darts here. You really shouldn't miss the last Saturday of the month - soul and Black music (live) create a really rollicking atmosphere. And admission is usually free. In warm weather there's a peaceful garden in the backyard.

If you want to take a trip through the world wide web you can pop into the Internet Cafe in the Staudenhof. Ten terminals are on offer here from 10 am. Next door there's a complete internet menu for 15 DM. If you prefer the more conventional media of the printed word, the place for you is the Lesecafe at Potsdam University. Here you can browse to your hearts content, listen in on authors' conversations or hear lectures. Radio Eins Cafe plays high-quality music and pleasant service. What's special here is that only the very best records are played. The tips are invested in expanding the musical stock. So you get a real feast for the ears here. In the Dutch Quarter you find a cafe on every third corner.

M 18 is reputed to be Potsdam's cult pub. Tables, chairs and the bar are cobbled together from ancient materials, mainly from the Dutch quarter, where you can see little houses in typial Dutch style just like along the canals in Amsterdam. In the Fireside Room there's a relaxed atmosphere, behind the bar it's bustling. M 18 offers more than 30 kinds of beer and a mignificent beergarden, where the benches are ranged around a gracious walnut tree. Just around the corner is Cafe La Leander - pub for gay and lesbians where heteros are also very welcome. The waiters and waitresses are particularly friendly here and there's a big selection of teas. In the early evening music from the '20s to the '40s is played. On Fridays and Saturdays from 10 pm the weekend is celebrated musically by different DJs. Ten metres further you can listen to guitar and piano music in Cafe Lapis Lazuli and try out the food, which is lovingly prepared. You get hot meals here till midnight.

Night owls have a hard time in Potsdam. Only a few cafes are still open after 2 am. Cafe Guam, called "loser hole" in scene slang, still admits guests after all the other pubs have closed. Here you can drink a couple of nightcap beers in the company of the Potsdam scene. Don't be put off by the posh appearance of Cafe Heider. The city's oldest cafe not only offers lots of big and small delicacies at reasonable prices, but also a very hystoric ambience. On the walls are photos of Potsdam 100 years ago and the tables are almost as old too. In summer you can sip your tea on a big sunny terrace.

If you prefer professionally mixed cocktails, the Liquor Store is a good place to find them. Between 6 pm and 9 pm drinks cost here 10 DM. The blue bottle Jazz-Keller is really a must. Almost every evening you can hear a big variety of jazz sounds and the multi-cultural audience creates a good atmosphere.

You can expand your wardrobe at G-Punkt, a way-out scene shop that sells everything from spray cans and cool clothes to head shop bits ans pieces. Brando 4 in the Stern Center also offers scene clothes but they're rather more pricey. Close by is Görtz M, where you'll find the right shoes to suit your outfit.

If you're looking for big parties at night, you're sure to have a good time in Waschhaus at the weekend. Concerts and parties of all varieties are held here, or cult films are shown. Now and then there are also theatre performances. Almost every Wednesday evening you can dance the night away starting from 10 pm - admission free. On the firtst Saturday of the month the alternative disco "Brennstoff" is held in Waschhaus. In fine weather open-air film shows are held. Just as attractive for party enthusiasts and night owls is Lindenpark in Babelsberg. With a big auditorium, a party cellar and a outdoor stage, it offers a big variety of entertainment. The guests are a bit younger than in Waschhaus, the parties often bigger and the music more towards mainsteam. Waldschloss is also part of Lindenpark e.V. but offers a completely contrasting programme with events such a theatre plays, sometimes from Eastern Europe, and courses in tango and drumming. Afterwards you can pop into Fritzkneipe, which is right there in the building, and order a dish from the legendary good, cheap menu or, on Tuesdays, dance to the ballroom music till you drop.

In the Filmmuseum people interested in cinema and TV can learn about the history of the DEFA studios and visit an exhibition. In the afternoons and evenings quality cult cinema is shown at cheap prices. The Cafe im Filmmuseum offers the weary exhibition visitor home-made cakes and hot meals. Cinema fans should really not miss out on Kino Melody. The original, cosy atmosphere guarantees a lovely cinema experience. Last of all, a good tip for succesfully exploring the Potsdam scene: the monthly city magazine "Events", which you can find in most cafes and pubs, gives useful, up-to-date information on what's on here.

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