You might have remembered that I posted about going to Berlin for a long weekend to see Sam Smith, my current obsession. Well…it happened. And it was even better than I could have predicted.
It goes without saying just how incredible Sam Smith’s performance was, but I’ll say it anyway. I can’t remember the last time I was that blown away by a gig – every note was perfect, and he seemed genuinely humbled and wowed to be performing for us. He’s only 21, and though his youth showed through in his lack of arrogance on stage, his professionalism and skill totally outstripped his age. GO SAM GO.
Apart from the concert, which was always going to be something to remember, I completely, totally and utterly fell in love with Berlin itself. Head over heels. A no-turning-back-now-I’ve-got-to-learn-German-and-live-there kind of love. The atmosphere and vibrance of the city totally infected me and I can’t stop thinking about it/stalking it on the internet/daydreaming about my life there! My plans have all shifted a bit after my four nights in Kreuzberg, and once I’m fully confident in my Italian I’ll be starting the long road of learning ANOTHER language. And I cannot wait.
I have many many MANY recommendations from my time in the city, but three particular nightlife haunts really made an impression. Whilst everyone visiting Berlin is probably aware of the exclusivity which surrounds the nightclubs there, it doesn’t really hit you until you’re standing in line for a club at three in the morning, entry money clenched tightly in your fist, being rejected after a fleeting and perfunctory once over. As a 22 year old tall blonde girl living in Italy this year, I’ve had seven months of standing out and being rewarded for looking different – so let me tell you it is most definitely a sobering experience being rejected from anywhere! Whilst Italy and Berlin are potentially the most extreme of each end of the spectrum (thanks for the confidence boost, Italia! You not so much, Berlin…) it is definitely realistic advice that you have to keep it cool if you want to get into the clubs in Berlin. Seriously, look like you wish you were anywhere else in the world but in the queue trying to get into their club. Don’t smile. Don’t laugh. DO NOT SPEAK ENGLISH.
Despite being so mercilessly tossed aside at the first club, our gang persevered and the next place we tried let us in, as thankfully we had some German-speakers amongst us, and it ended up being THE BEST PLACE EVER. Did I just blow my cool-cover? It was a giant old squatters’ house on three different levels that had been sort of renovated. It was edgy (sorry about that word), shabby-chic and achingly cool, like a sassy girl wearing a man’s jumper that she found in a skip. There was a boat in garden…a boat. It was essentially the house party to end all house parties. We arrived at 4am and didn’t leave until 7.30 the next morning, in true Berlin fashion.
On a slightly less exclusive note, we stumbled upon a great bar in Kreuzberg which I whole-heartedly recommend, Rummels Perle. It has a great chilled vintage feel, with atmospheric lighting, beautifully mismatched decor and a great DJ. And they’ll let you in even if you speak English. Which I do.
Finally, Butcher’s Bar. This is a bar situated at the back of an old butchers, which is accessed through the back of a red telephone box at the back of the shop. I know, amazing right?! We passed the door lady’s muster and soon enough we were in the smoky secret back room decorated with meat hooks and red lighting. Though the prices are a bit steeper, it is a really great place to get your first drink and soak up the feeling of Berlin secrecy and exclusivity. While this place does has the exclusive feel to it, I’ve since been told it does actually let most people in. So don’t fret too much, use it as your dry run and ACT COOL….Then grin like a loon when you get let in through the telephone box.
Moral of the story? Go to Berlin. Love it. Just don’t let anyone there know that.