überlin

Photo of the Day – February 17, 2015

by Zoë Noble

Berlin Görlitzer Park Graffiti
Photo by Zoë Noble

On the Street: The Peacock

by Zoë Noble

Berlin streetstyle of man in blue suit

Berlin streetstyle closeup of brown shoes and blue socks

Berlin streetstyle closeup of man in blue suit

The Bird West

by James Glazebrook

The Bird West Steak

One of our first ways of bringing the überlin community to life was with our Berlin Burger Tour. The plan was to chomp our way across the city, make new friends, while at the same time settling that important question: where can you get Berlin’s best burger? It was a great idea, but we cut the tour short after just three evenings, as Zoë and myself went to The Bird – and we decided that we’d just eaten the best burgers in Berlin! The only problem? We had to go all the way up to Prenzlauer Berg to get them…

Well we have good news for all lazy burger fans who live south of Pberg – The Bird West is now open on Kottbusser Damm, on the border of Kreuzberg and Neukölln! Larger than the original American expat hangout, and much bigger, the new Bird was nonetheless packed when we first visited. Luckily, we managed to get seats at the bar, conveniently close to a broad selection of beers from the US, the rest of the world, and even back home (Brew Dog FTW). A psychic chef surprised us with what we were planning to order anyway – a succulent beast of a burger topped with bacon and cheddar (The Filthy Harry) and an immaculate fillet steak, both accompanied by a epic stacks of perfectly-crisped fries. The New York cheesecake that followed was both totally uncalled for, and an absolute treat.

If you’ve been to The Bird East, you know what to expect from their Western outpost. If you’ve never been to either location, you’ll probably feel like you’re stepping onto American soil when you walk through the door – a sensation supported by the food, the buzzing atmosphere, the excellent customer service… everything about the place. We’ll leave the investigative reporting to Stil in Berlin and declare the Bird our favourite burger in Berlin, and our favourite environment in which to enjoy it.

The Bird West Burger Filthy Harry

überstyle: Goldie Lookin’ Shoes

by Zoë Noble

Berlin Streetstyle Fraenkelufer Woman

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Berlin Portrait: OOi

by James and Zoe

We think that the best way to discover Berlin is through the eyes of the people who live here. For our Berlin Portrait series, we’re asking artists, musicians and other interesting expats to introduce us their corner of the city. Get to know another side of Kreuzberg with OOi, a classically trained viola player and visual artist originally from Australia.

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Introduce yourself!

I am OOi. I am a classical violist and visual artist.

How long have you been here?

I have lived in Berlin for nearly three years.

What brought you here?

Love brought me here – I met my husband in Berlin while I was traveling through Europe alone. But music is something that has kept me here – OOi would have never come into fruition had I not lived in Berlin… various encounters (accidental and intentional) have lead me to create my audio/visual concept and develop my on going apartment concert series. There is also a fantastic creative energy here which has really fuelled my projects.

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Tell us about your neighbourhood, and what you like about it.

I live in Kreuzberg – Wikipedia describes the neighbourhood as “one of Berlin’s cultural centers in the middle of the now reunified city.” I think it’s an accurate statement – there is a large Turkish population in Kreuzberg, and a lot of young German families, as well as expats from all over the world. I really like hearing many different languages on the streets, understanding some conversations and sometimes understanding nothing at all.

I love Kreuzberg because it is close to all my favourite places – Neukölln, Treptow, and the Berlin Philharmonic are all a 10-15 minute bike ride away. I feel so lucky to be living in a central place – I held my first solo performance with Phia in my living room and I think the concert turnout was so great because it was in a convenient location (as well as the great publicity…thank you again überlin!)

That is also another thing I love about Berlin – that there are always performances and parties in the most unexpected places and they always turn out to be the most unforgettable ones!

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What are your five favourite things in your neighbourhood?

Zentral und Landesbibliothek Berlin. I am obsessed with libraries in general, but this one is particularly fantastic. They have a wonderful classical music section, and I am constantly raiding their shelves for CDs, books for research and music scores. I’m really into their manga collection – they’re all in German, which is great for learning the language! The library also loans out books in many other languages, including English.

The U1 line. I love riding the U1 line from Görlitzer Bahnhof (my station) to Warschauer Strasse (the end of the line) and being able to see the bridge, and the old and new buildings along the Spree. It is especially fun in winter, when you can see people walking along the frozen water of the Spree – very surreal.

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Two cafes: Katie’s Blue Cat, a peaceful place I frequent to do my homework and research over a coffee and a delicious Earl Grey shortbread… their other baked goods are equally delicious! Concierge Coffee on Paul Lincke Ufer is a tiny but extremely beautiful space that serves consistently good coffee. There is nothing there like newspapers, magazines or the Internet to distract you and it is located away from the street, so it is a great place to catch up with people sincerely or refocus your thoughts if you are alone. I was also so privileged to be allowed to host my fifth apartment concert event in their space on the middle of October this year.

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Motto Distribution. It sells international, local, mainstream and independent publications covering all subjects and interests. It has an incredible range of fashion magazines (very important), great zines, beautiful books. The location and the staff are really discreet, it’s a wonderful quiet place. It’s like my second library, except I cave in and buy the books once in a while.

Experimontag @ Madame Claude. Every Monday night there is an experimental night in the basement of Madame Claude. I’ve seen so many different styles of music there and I like that the audience is generally very open because they never know what they’re going to get. The rule is to go with no expectations, so you are pleasantly surprised.

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To see OOi perform, as a musician or VJ, or to attend one of her wonderful house concerts, visit her website

Photos by Zoë Noble Photography

Berlin Portrait: Dolly Demoratti of Mother Drucker

by James Glazebrook

We think that the best way to discover Berlin is through the eyes of the people who live here. For our Berlin Portrait series, we’re asking artists, musicians and other interesting Berliners to introduce us their corner of the city. Discover creative Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain with Dolly Demoratti, owner of the Mother Drucker print studio.

Dolly Demoratti Portrait in her Urbanspree Studio

So tell us: how did you end up in Berlin?

I followed a girl out here. I met somebody in London, and they said they were coming here in a few months’ time, so I ended up quitting my job and coming out here. It felt like the right time to do it… as it happens, she’s back in England and I’m out here! But it worked out really well for me, and I’m glad I made that leap.

And how long have you been here?

About three or four years… I purposefully don’t keep count. I feel slightly embarrassed because I still know so little German, so people always ask me, “how long have you been here for?” and I’ve been saying “a year” for about three years now!

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Do you feel settled here?

I definitely feel like it’s my home. I’m very happy here and I think I have more friends than I did in London, and I have a much nicer way of life. I’m working on what I always wanted to work on, which wouldn’t have been possible in London. My best friends are German, so I guess I am quite integrated here.

I don’t speak good German, which does make me feel like a bit of an outsider – but there are so many people passing through Berlin, staying for one or two years, that it’s easy to not speak the language and still feel involved in what’s happening here.

What’s the best thing about living in Berlin?

That I get to do the thing that I always want to, and get to have a studio of my own. When I was about 16, I built a darkroom in my bedroom – I’ve had an obsession with printing in all its forms since a young age. So now to be here, and have a studio – with my own printing press – is just great.

Dolly Demoratti Portrait in her Urbanspree Studio

And what are your favourite places in Berlin?

Urban Spree, where my studio is, is developing all the time. It’s an art space, with an “atelier”, sharing vibe, and now a venue for gigs and parties. They asked me to move in here before Urban Spree had opened, and even knocked down a wall for me! I had the first exhibition in the main hall, which was completely trashed – of all these shiny, perfect bicycles hanging in this fucked-up space…

Dolly Demoratti Portrait in her Urbanspree Studio

Markthalle Neun on Eisenbahnstraße is fantastic. I had my first studio on that street, right when they re-opened the market. I really liked the community vibe of what Markthalle Neun did, going around the block asking everyone what they should do with the space – it was a community decision. People were proposing different ideas like – someone wanted to open a kind of Victorian swimming pool – and in the end, the consensus was to take it back to its original use: a food market. Any kind of restoration of anything, rather than scrapping it or changing or modernising it… I just love it when things are taken back to their original state.

Dolly Demoratti Portrait at Urbanspree

The Künstlerhaus Bethanien is another building that survived the war. They have the most fantastic print studio there, which so many people don’t know about. Downstairs, it’s almost a museum of old machinery to do with printing, lots of letterpresses and cutting machines, and it just smells so old! You can only get there via one lift in the print studio, which no one knows is there.

…and I go to Tempelhof most Sundays, to either exercise or just cruise around on my bike. I love it out there…

Dolly Demoratti Portrait at Urbanspree

Dolly Demoratti Portrait against Fingaz Grafitti

Dolly Demoratti Portrait sitting in front Fingaz Grafitti

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Dolly is organising Druck Berlin 2013, an art festival focused on screen printing, at Stadtbad Wedding. Check out the Druck Berlin website for full details.

Eat the World’s culinary tour of Kreuzberg

by James Glazebrook

Eat the World have hit upon a neat idea: cultural walking tours with frequent stops at local food outlets, so visitors can discover an area through its cuisine. We love to eat – which anyone who’s seen our Food and Drink section or ever-expanding waistlines will know – and we love Kreuzberg, so we thought we’d join a group of tourists as they ate their way through our neighbourhood.

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The Eat the World Kreuzberg Tour started in our beloved Graefekiez, although luckily – and shamefully – we had never eaten in any of the places we visited before. As we walked from the Sudanese Imbiss Nil, which we’re now regulars at, to a lovely bio bakery – via an unremarkable Indian restaurant – we learned all about what apparently gets called “the Tuscany of Berlin”. We were told that much of our neighbourhood is under landmark protection, including the beautiful Admiralbrücke, which, according to our guide, is why (cringe) all the rich people live here!

Admiralbrücke

punk statue

Crossing the Landwehrkanal, we passed the grand sculpture on Admiralstrasse, with punk figures making for a suitable entranceway to SO36, and sampled the freshest, tastiest börek we’ve ever had at Leylak on Kottbusser Strasse. We then stopped for great dürum and a decent slice of pizza, before walking to Oranienplatz and checking out the site of the former Luisenstadt Canal. We’d never heard of this waterway before, which used to run north-south between the River Spree and the Landwehrkanal, but we were more excited about getting to Küchenkaiser around the corner, where delicious cake has been baked since 1866!

Kuchen Kaiser Berlin

Overall, we had a very pleasant few hours with our nice, knowledgable Eat the World guide. The Kreuzberg tour showcased the range of food on offer in this colourful neighbourhood, although not necessarily the best it has to offer. As we live locally, we’re probably spoiled for choice, and a little picky, but we were happy to try out some new places (especially Nil and Leylak!) while learning a lot more about our immediate area. Not necessarily for the most demanding of foodies, the Eat the World Kreuzberg tour is a good introduction to Berlin’s most (in)famous ‘hood, as well as a tasty way to spend a day!