Berlin

With fantastic museums and a buzzing nightlife, Berlin has both upscale chic and street-style cool.  So grab a rent-a-bike (the city is larger than you’d expect) or hop on their super-quick underground system, and make your way around town.

Bar/restaurant/dancing: Clärchen’s Ballhaus Augustrasse 24 (www.ballhaus.de) is a charming old school dancehall that opened in 1913 and runs a programme of tango, swing or salsa lessons – all are welcome and it’s open to the early hours of the morning.  Or if dancing isn’t your thing, you can always just stop by for a pizza and beer.

Restaurant: Grill Royale Friedrichstraße 105b (www.grillroyal.com).  Sitting on the banks of the river Spree, Grill Royale is one of Berlin’s swankiest hangouts.  Order either of their classic dishes, the shrimp or the steak, and you won’t be disappointed.  (Or you can visit their latest outpost, Pauly Saal, set in Jüdische Mädchenschule, a new art gallery/restaurant enclave in an old Jewish girls’ school, which has a modern German menu. Auguststraße 11-13, Mitte, (www.maedchenschule.org)

Restaurant: Borchardt, Französische Strasse 47. Named after the wine merchant who originally supplied the Kaiser with imported delicacies from his delicatessen at this address, this chic Parisian-style brasserie re-opened in 1992 and serves up one of the best schnitzels in town.

Museums: If it’s Museums you’re after, then you’ve come to the right city.  Berlin is stuffed with them and we’ve yet to come across a disappointing one.  Top of our list are the Jewish Museum (explores the history of the Jews with an amazing, must-see extension design by Daniel Libeskind, www.jmberlin.de), the Neues Museum (rebuilt by David Chipperfield, this museum has everything from Egyptian busts to trojan antiquities), the Stasi Museum (behind the scenes of the infamous Stasi network, www.stasimuseum.de), Bauhaus Archives – Museum of Design (display of ceramics, furniture and models by the Bauhaus architects and artists, www.bauhaus.de), Museum Berggruen (an amazing collection given by a private collector to Berlin with over 100 Picasso’s, Museum Berggruen) and the Allied Museum (a fascinating history of Berlin from WWII to the fall of the wall, including a guardhouse from Checkpoint Charlie, www.alliiertenmuseum.de.)

Bar: Solar, Stresemannstraße 76 (www.solarberlin.com) For one of the best views of the city head to the Solar Bar which is on the 16th and 17th floor of a skyscraper.  With a 14 page drinks menu, all you have to do is make your choice and then sit back and enjoy the stunning views of the Reichstag.

Helmut Newton Foundation Jebensstrasse 2 (www.helmut-newton.com) has a fantastic rotating gallery of, yes that’s right, Helmut Newton photographs.

Hotel: Hotel de Rome, Behrenstraße 37 (www.hotelderome.com) Right in the centre of Berlin with the finest museums and shops on the doorstep, this grand hotel has super comfortable rooms and a great spa.

Hotel: Soho House, Torstrasse 1 (www.sohohouseberlin.com) is a private members club (non-members can stay) with 40 bedrooms in a restored Bauhaus building with a rooftop pool and lively bar.

Shopping: Lunettes, Torstrasse 172 (www.lunettes-brillenagentur.de) sells a stylish selection of never-been-worn vintage and designer sunglasses, from 1900s horn-rimmed to 50s cat-eyes to 80s wayfarers.



— Francesca
21st March 2012