Street art, squats, subculture and the underground scene – all of that can be found in East Berlin in it’s true authentic sauce. Fellow taking mini pig for a morning walk. Older couple with their curly one-eyed dog chatting night away with group of punks. Hungry for a burger? You can get one with 60 cents from Burgermeister, restaurant that used to be a public restroom and is now converted in a take away burger shop. In need of great shopping experience? How about growling in from a living room window where the lady makes them on spot sort of store? If your a vegan your in heaven. If you love street arts.. Walk right into the “gallery”.
Standing in front of Tachles, in the former Jewish quarter of Berlin, you really get the idea what a thrill it must have been an artist and a squatter during those times. The building that ironically belonged to a Pank was occupied by squatters and artists in the aftermath of the tumbling of the Berlin Wall. For 22 years, the punks, anarchists, hippies, artists and squatters of all types had hung on, sometimes quarrelling, often creating art and music, always partying. In 2009, police kicked out the anarcho-punk residents of the last open squat in the city at Brunnenstrasse 183. Tacheles hung on for a few more years before the owner HSH Nordbank finally evicted the remaining artists in September 2012. Today you cant see the building from inside but you can still appreciate the art on its walls.
On the first picture you can see work by Berlin’s artist who goes by the moniker Mein Lieber Prost. He paints characters which look like they’re smiling at you or mocking you. The little figures bursting into laughter, while at the same time pointing their fingers at the audience, initiate direct interaction between the artwork and the beholder. The second picture is one of Gregos work. The French street artist sculpts self portraits and has installed more than 500 of them mostly in Paris and other French towns, but you’ll find him in one of the alleys sneaking between the hidden courtyards of Hackescher Markt.
Street art alley in Hackescher Markta. Courtyard can be found at Rosenthaler Strasse 39. Among other wonderful artists you can also find Jimmy C aka. James Cochran portrait of Anne Frank. Make sure to visit also the wonderful cafes on the street (only cash payments)
If you are looking for a night with a unique setting and a one-of-a-kind experience, the Ballhaus (on the picture) is the perfect fit. The Clärchen’s Ballhaus was established during the DDR era and was a place where many officials spent their weekends. Despite the few renovations, the restaurant/club remains stuck in the past: silver plastic tassels dominate the walls, blue neon lights and a spinning disco ball. Almost solely plays 20thCentury music, whether it be Sinatra-esque jazz, Aretha Franklin’s anthems or Bronski Beat’s staple hits. Aside from the traditional German food (eg. spätzle and schnitzel) and music selection, the most notable characteristic of the Ballhaus is the variety of guest-type. The club appears to attract people across the whole age spectrum, most likely due to its effortless positive atmosphere. If your need for more hipsterfied place – Cassiopeia is the place to go. Located on Revaler Strasse and has great R&B and hip-hop scene. Beer garden courtyard and rock-climbing, checked!
From the courtyard of The Clärchen’s Ballhaus you will find work of another famous street artist – XOOOOX. Contemporary stencil masters who was among the first Berlin artists to gain prominence on the international art market. Now in the mid-thirties, XOOOOX became known for his monochromatic, black and white stencils of young, beautiful women followed by bubbly tags of x’s and o’s. Female figures by XOOOOX open some important conversations regarding fashion culture, beauty standards and the ideology of late capitalism.
Jeepers-Creepers. Last but not least, work by BLU (on the picture). Italian artist who has works all over the city, in the shape of odd, futuristic-like cartoons. The most well-known is this giant, building-tall man, who’s actually made up of a lot of smaller, naked, pink humans.