Photo credit: yelp.com
Berlin’s characteristic identity lies in the diversity of its neighbourhoods, so if you’re visiting Berlin but aren’t sure where to start, check out our neighbourhood guide to Neukölln. Our local Jess has put together a Berlin area guide to this artistic and progressive quarter in the south east of the city of the best spots to eat, drink, relax and party like a local Berliner! Neukölln, also known as ‘Little Istanbul’, is loved by locals for its laid back vibes, graffiti covered streets and self expression, so come and see for yourself why this is one of our favourite Berlin neighbourhoods!
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Neukölln by day and Neukölln by night are two very different things. By day there are cafes galore, restaurants and turkish markets. The street Pflügerstraße and its surrounding side streets are a popular brunch area, as the entire street is lined with one cafe after the other, all serving brunch until 16.00. Another popular choice is Five Elephant Cafe, known for it’s cheesecake despite not serving meals. Other than that there are plentiful variations of döner (kebab) shops and chicken shops that on weekends are open into the early hours of morning, in case you need some post-clubbing nourishment before bed. Most of them also sell turkish-style soup and traditional turkish tea, if in the moment that is something you feel like you would prefer. These shops are located on almost every corner, and all the way down Sonnenallee, Karl-Marx-Straße, and around the Hermannplatz area.
Photo credit: berlinfoodstories.com
At night Neukölln reveals its array of bars (a lot of the cafes also become bars). If anything could be considered a “Berlin bar” then it is definitely located in the Neukölln area. This is the neighbourhood with the least night time tourists and is very popular among locals. Some personal favourites include Mama Bar, Geist im Glas, Raumfahrer, and FUK;S, where they only serve bottled beer. Bei Schlawinchen, though this is more of a pub, is famous for (and very proud of) having being open all hours for thirty years! There’s also Klunkerkranich, which is located on the rooftop of the Neukölln Arcaden and provides a spectacular sunset view in the summer. If you are into the queer scene then a cosy bar called The CLUB will definitely be something you enjoy. They also host many events and alternative drag shows weekly, just check them out of Facebook and see what events they have lined up. Alternatively, popular drag queen Olympia Bukkakis hosts a 2 hour drag show every Friday night at Engels Bar. Doors are at 21.30 and the show starts at 22.00.
Photo credit: we-heart.com - Klunkerkranich
Neukölln is an area that’s cheap - but not lacking in restaurants and bars. It is also home to several clubs that you could call a “Berliner club”. A “Berliner club” will typically have an urban, run-down look to it, hold little to no tourists, and play only techno. Some of these include Club de Visionaere, Loftus Hall, Keller, and Griessmühle (the latter located in an old grain factory). For those who prefer the queer scene, SchwuZ is the largest gay club in Berlin that’s not Berghain, and it is constantly hosting parties such as Madonnamania, PopKicker, Yo! Sissy Music Festival, and Electronic Thursdays.
Photo credit: Korentin Coop (Flickr)
In the summer the entire path around the Landwehrkanal is very popular. Most locals hang out and have a beer by the canal on either Maybachufer or Paul-Lincke-Ufer. The atmosphere is always very chilled and carefree, especially when the sun is shining down and there is a slight breeze. You can also do the same in Tempelhofer Feld: a huge flat grass area that used to be an airport with easy access from stations: S-Tempelhof, U-Boddinstraße, U-Leinestraße. This spot provides the setting for probably the most spectacular sunset view in Berlin, and you can also do anything from windsurfing to driving a segway to strap-lining to gardening to barbecuing. Everything goes. Except barbecuing on non-designated areas. Burning the grass is not acceptable.
Photo credit: blog.visitberlin.de
On days with nice weather it is also just enough to walk around and explore this part of the city. It is possibly the most international part of Berlin, in some areas it is even possible to hear more english spoken than German. Around every corner there is something to discover. Small independent clothing stores, flea markets selling everything weird you can imagine, graffiti and little pockets of green parks.