How To Be A “Hipster” In Berlin
Berlin has always attracted artists and musicians – from the now, more or less, “establishment” Thierry Noir to any number of bands wishing to emulate Bowie’s Heroes success. It’s a city that spurns the conventional and flings its arms open to all.
And yet – wherever you get a large collection of artists and musicians, hipsters inevitably follow. While in most places hipsters are very much a minority – gentrifying a small area, Berlin can sometimes feel like a city run by and for the cool kids. While in Berlin it’s a point of pride to remain poor and sexy we’ve got a guide to help you slip into your hipster stride – even if only for a weekend!
Berlin is an undeniably cool city – crumbling, but there are some parts which are cooler than others. Naturally, the shiny western side of Berlin can be too main-stream for most hipsters so you’re better off heading east to discover that slightly poorer side of the city. Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is popular with the cool kids and Neukolln is much loved for its ethnic diversity – have a wander round.
Having the look can be important – thick rimmed glasses, a bad jumper or ironic t-shirt are all essential, and the quickest way to get them authentically would be to rummage through our guide to second hand stores. Some even have coffee shops to practice lounging around in! Alternatively you could spend a fortune in the high end shops near Augustrasse to perfect that shabby-chic look.
Cool Beans, Bars & Bikes
Once you’re happy with your surroundings you’ll need a coffee shop to slouch in – we recommend Mein Haus am See in Mitte for people-watching and Aunt Benny in Friedrichshain for long slow coffees and their cocktails when the evening hits. For bars you should be on the lookout for tiny bars run by a few friends dishing out tasty treats cooked in the back. If you’re just wandering past a place which looks like someone’s front room with a ton of cool looking bikes outside then you’re on to a good one!
For some sounds hit up Lido or Ritter Butzke in the evening – weekday nights usually have more indie offerings.
Galleries and Graffiti
Hamburger Bahnhof offers a great collection of modern art and pop art thrown together with a little bit of conceptual stuff for fun. It’s one of the few places you can see one of Warhol’s impressive giant Mao prints. To take in the flip side you should head over to the east side gallery to see the continuous graffiti from the likes of Thiery Noir (and those who wish to obscure it) on the remains of the Wall.
While it’s easy to sneer at the way hipsters dress, act in public and generally be obnoxious – there is always a strong strain of well trained foodies in any hipster crowd. As such you could pop into our favourite burger bar: The Bird. Wedding and Prenzlauerberg is where hipsters were hanging out ten years ago – they’ve now all got kids and the area is still cool, just a bit cleaner!
As a bonus, some weekends the Falkplatz Park is filled with a decidedly “cool” selection of stalls. A true hipster might come here to pick up a few bits for their pseudo-squat such as an electric bass guitar synth, a WW2 FM transmitter and a variety of odd, ethnic treats. Nearby is the Mauer Park which, on Sunday, is great for the open-air karaoke.
If this is up your street then check out ‘How to be a Hipster in London’. It’s much of the same.