Antiques; oddballs; sherbet vodka
Berlin has mightily strong dive-bar scene, and the district of Kreuzberg boasts over thirty (that we know of) by itself. Rumour has it that the bar in question, Bei Schlawinchen, has never closed in thirty years! I dread to think about the place’s hygiene… The bar’s muggy, smoky interior is adorned with antiques, collectibles and miscellaneous junk, the majority of which is hanging precariously from the ceiling – the sword of Damocles dangling above the blend of unwitting tourists and reckless regulars. The crew that frequent the bar on a daily basis have, naturally, assumed control of their favourite table – good luck to anyone sitting in it when they come in. I witnessed first hand their method of squeezing in tighter and tighter on the table until the poor souls who unknowingly sat there can barely breathe. A conversation might have been a more tactful resolution but, after all, this is one of Berlin’s most notorious ‚Kneipes’* – oddball behaviour is a big part of the reason for visiting. In the corner there’s a fiercely competitive game of table football (Kicker in German), that seems to run continuously in a winner-stays-on format – I’ve noticed Berliners all seem ridiculously good at this game. A rather baffling trend amongst the patrons is to drink shots of vodka with sherbet chasers. They pick their flavour, pour half a pack of sugar into their mouths, down a vodka and then finish the rest of the contents. All of this without fanfare, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.
*- Kneipe – dive-bar
Address: Schönleinstraße 34, 10967 Berlin
Nearby: Turkish cafes everywhere, Geist im Glas brunch and bar
Price: 1 out 5