Top Stops in the Hipster Capital of Europe

by Andy Steves

Berlin. A city with incredibly serious periods of occupation, turmoil, and historic events, from Nazi Germany through the Cold War, but also a city with a modern day spirit that has taken over the town. From skyscrapers and commerce to nightlife and cuisine, Berlin is a city that runs 24/7. Literally. Most bars and cafes are open around the clock for the young, vibrant population to socialize in until the sun comes up. Be prepared for your preconceived notions about Berliners to be blown away after a trip in the city.

The Hipster Capital of Europe
The Hipster Capital of Europe. Photo by WSA Europe

Eats

Although the city isn't necessarily known for it's sophisticated cuisine, there are plenty of fun, local flavors to try. From Bavarian beer and sausage to imported Italian and Asian influences, you definitely won’t go hungry! 

Konnopke Imbiss - Currywurst is a Berlin staple! It’s a sausage with ketchup and curry and is best eaten with a side of  fries. If you’ve never tried it before, Konnopke Imbiss is THE place to lose your currywurst virginity. 

La Pausa - In a city filled with Italian expats, one step into this place, and it feels like you've been transported to another country. Order pizza by the slice as you would in Italy, sprinkle with red pepper, and you've got a great late night snack after hanging out in Rosenthaler Platz. 

Prater - A beautifully renovated swing-era bar, Prater serves up enormous portions of meat and vegetables, topped off with frothy mugs of delicious German beer. During the summer you can easily spend the better part of the afternoon in its well-shaded beer garden, enjoying the buzz of beer and life. 

Taisu - Located just around the corner from Checkpoint Charlie, Taisu is said to have some of the best sushi in Berlin. Come during lunch and enjoy their 2 for 1 sushi roll lunch special. 

Brauhaus Georgebraeu - This traditional German Brewery located in the old city center doesn't disappoint, with great home brews, hearty dishes, and gruff service. Order the dark or light beer and select from main courses that will stick to your ribs and are great for sharing. Want something a bit on the lighter side? Their Chicken Salad is one of the best you’ll ever have.  

Il Ritrovo-Cucina Casalinga Popolare - Tired of sausage and curry powder? This family of restaurants gives you a dose of punk and pizza. Work your way to a free table, order your preferred toppings from one of the many options, and take in the bustling Friedrichshain scene. 

Aufsturz - Located between two hostels, this place is always packed with an international crowd. Known for their endless beer list, the food is also packed with great, Berliner dishes that are easy on the budget. Ask the friendly staff to help you break down the menu and try a beer you haven't heard of before. Great place to pregame before a night out in Mitte.     

Dolores California Gourmet Burritos - This is one of the best burritos you’ll have across the pond, and famously, the best burrito in Berlin!  Nightlife Crazy town with a little bit for everyone - enough said! 

Prater Garten - Established in 1837, Prater Garten, Berlin’s oldest beer garden, seats over 600 people in a beautiful, outdoor seating area shaded by chestnut trees. If the weather is bad, step inside its indoor beer hall where you can enjoy some of the best sausages and wienerschnitzel Berlin has to offer. 

Die Weinerei - A bar based completely on the honors system; you simply pay €2 to rent a glass and drink as much wine as you want, paying only as much as you think you owe in the tip jar when you leave. It sounds crazy and seems like something that could be easily abused, however, with the charming atmosphere and trusting group mentality, most people wind up paying even more than they should upon leaving. 

Luzia - Complete with an outdoor terrace overlooking the street, Luzia is one of the most popular bars in the Kreuzberg area. Inside you’ll find old velvet armchairs, peeling vintage wallpaper revealing chipped red bricks, mismatched tables, and dimly lit lamps that create a warm, laid back atmosphere. 

Mein Haus Am See - Want to experience the ultimate Hipster scene? Open 24 hours, this place has the best view in town from the top of the stadium style seating in the back of the bar. Once you've had your fill, descend down into the mirrored basement to dance the night away. 

Clarchens Ballhaus - This historic building has seen illegal dueling, dancing bans, and wartime destruction, but it's not over yet. People of all generations flock here to eat, drink, and dance until the sun comes up. Whether you stop by for a pizza or pop in because you can hear the party from the streets, explore the nooks and crannies to create your own memories.  

Friedrichshain - Rather than naming a specific place in this trendy neighborhood, take the time to stroll the streets, and wander into the place that's buzzing. Each cafe, restaurant, and bar has it's own personality, so make a crawl out of it, going from spot to spot until the sun comes up. Recommend places to check out? Spätzle & Knödel, Hops & Barley, and Carmello ice cream are always a sure thing.