Lifestyle & Culture

Lily Cichanowicz: Berlin’s coolest spots for creative minds

With its hordes of youths donning black wardrobes and athletic wear, its thriving creative scene, and its ever-increasing startup potential, Berlin may very well be the hipster capital of the world.

At the very least, our fair city plays the part quite well when superimposed with an Instagram filter or written about in the blogosphere. Attracting talented creatives and hip youths, Berlin is burgeoning with cool spots for mingling with like-minded people, getting inspired, and executing innovative ideas.

Work: Betahaus

While pulling off the whole Berlin-hipster thing might seem like a big game of ‘m’as tu vu from the outside looking in, those who truly take this quest seriously have to substantiate it somehow. The best way to do this is to get involved in the startup world. Whether you want to devote a few years to learning how to code or just intermingle with the brightest in the business, flock to Betahaus to penetrate the hipster industry — er, we mean startup world. Extra points go to the bloggers who’ve reached influencer status. If this is something you aspire to, check out Blogfabrik in Kreuzberg, an exclusive co-working space for successful bloggers to write and mingle.

Betahaus, Prinzessinnenstraße 19-20, Berlin, Germany, +49 030 609809270

Courtesy of Betahus

Hang out: Michelberger

Once you’ve put in an extraordinary amount of time on your new MVP and are sufficiently hopped up on Club Mate, it’s time to chill out. Gather your coolest looking friends and head to Michelberger Hotel. Named after the famous French singer, stand out from the crowd by pronouncing the name the French way. Ideal for kicking it both day and night, Michelberger’s interior bears the perfect ratio between industrial chic and minimalist – ideal for the backdrop of your Instagram photos. They serve swanky cocktails and host DJs who cultivate chill beats to transition your evening to one of several hours’ worth of electronic-fueled swaying at one of the city’s notorious underground techno clubs, but more on this later.

Warschauer Str. 39-40, Berlin, Germany, +49 030 29778590

Courtesy of Michelberger Hotel

Shop: Voo Store

There are definitely a multitude of different shops for creating the perfect Berlin hipster wardrobe. Be sure to limit your gluten-free, dairy-free, bio, cold-pressed juice filled dietary expenses to afford the necessary duds, which lie at the foundation of any true hipster persona. Splurge on some high-end garments at Voo Store, one of the most hipster shops in the city. Supplement these gems with a whole lot of black — let us recommend Darklands for this, and pepper the whole thing with a few quirky vintage Flohmarkt pieces for clubbing. At last, you have the recipe for the perfect Berlin hipster look.

Oranienstraße 24, Berlin, Germany, +49 030 6957972710

Courtesy of Voo Store

Gallery: Sammlung Boros

Berlin is chock full of alternative contemporary gallery spaces. The more arcane the better here, but it is also possible for the obscurity to morph into enigma and even legend status, as is the case with the Sammlung Boros Collection. If you aren’t super familiar with the Berlin gallery scene yet, you can always wow your hipster peers by booking an appointment at this famous bunker-turned-gallery in Berlin Mitte. It’s the perfect subject for all your low-key, high brow discussions. Since many people have never actually made it to Sammlung Boros, you’ll be blessed with some esoteric immunity.

Reinhardtstraße 20, Berlin, Germany, +49 030 27594065

Danh Vo Numbers (6), 2011; Trio, 2010; We the people (detail), 2011 Foto: © NOSHE

Nightlife: Berghain

While Michelberger is certainly very posh, it would be very un-Berlin to call it a night after a few cocktails. In this city, the ‘night’ isn’t over until daybreak. There are plenty of pretty cool clubs around the city, but if you’re going for the real hipster look and feel, nothing beats Berghain. You could try your luck by going on a Friday or Saturday night; the hours spent waiting in line are a hipster rite of passage. No points deducted, however, if you prefer to go on a Sunday afternoon, a tried-and-true hipster secret for entry into the mysterious nightclub.

Am Wriezener Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany

© Michael Mayer

Eat: Cocolo Ramen

If you must eat some actual food – the Berlin hipster lifestyle is a pretty active one after all – there are a few approved options. For breakfast, it’s worth making the trek from Kreuzberg or Neukölln into Mitte – by bike, of course – to enjoy an utterly Instagrammable açaí bowl at Daluma.  Berlin’s cold, dreary, industrial aesthetic may be the perfect backdrop for a hipster lifestyle, but it is also an ideal breeding ground for the common cold. Thus, it’s a good idea to wash it down with a cold-pressed green juice or fortify that immune system with a lemon-cayenne shot. For lunch and dinner, return to X-berg by the canal, every hipster’s comfort zone, for some satisfying, picturesque ramen at Cocolo Ramen.

Daluma: Weinbergsweg 3, Berlin, Germany 030 20950255

Cocolo Ramen: Paul-Lincke-Ufer 39-40, Berlin, Germany, +49 030 98339073

© Matt Biddulph

Pick-me-up: Silo Coffee

Equally as important to sustenance is getting that much needed pick-me-up for making it through the gauntlet of hipster activities that are bound to fill one’s day in Berlin. There are definitely a multitude of third wave coffee shops in Berlin, and all of them will fit the bill when it comes to inspiring the right hipster surroundings, but Silo Coffee in Friedrichshain pair their excellent coffee, high standards, and attention to detail with proximity to other hipster hotspots like the Boxi weekend markets, many of Berlin’s clubs (extra points if you head here for breakfast after an all-nighter!), and central location with regard to Berlin’s most happening neighborhoods.

Gabriel-Max-Straße 4, Berlin, Germany

© Unsplash

Get inspired: Bless

While all these places are basically essential on any hipster’s itinerary, there is always a need for that extra dose of inspiration for staying in the loop. For this purpose, it’s best to frequent some of the city’s most intriguing concept stores. One of our favorites is Bless. This place is arranged to inspire with the latest styles in such a way that might actually be applicable to your daily life, as it is arranged to resemble an apartment, and at times, the curator actually does live here! They sell clothes, home goods, and some of the best design accessories around. For those instead looking to get cognitively inspired, Do You Read Me?! is a must. This bookstore on the trendy Auguststrasse circulates all of Berlin’s most intriguing indie publications and periodicals.

Bless: Oderberger Str. 60, Berlin, Germany, +49 030 27596566
Do You Read Me?!: Auguststraße 28, Berlin, Germany +49 030 69549695

Live: Neukölln

While you’re not out and about perusing the streets and interacting with some of Berlin’s most extraordinary and inspiring creatives, you’ll need to find a place to lay your head – and quick! Berlin is known for its affordable rents, but this is rapidly changing. Even though Kreuzberg is typically regarded as the most hipster neighborhood in Berlin, we recommend settling in Neukölln, a district that is already growing more established than up-and-coming as a hive for creative energy. There are still spacious apartments available here, and new cafés, restaurants, shops, and other points of interest are cropping up on the daily.


About the author:

Lily Cichanowicz is an American freelance writer and journalist currently based in Berlin. In the form of cultural analysis, her writing is a critical exploration of everything from the personal to the political, and her aim is to share the insights she has with readers.

On her website, you can find a curated selection of her favorite pieces.

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