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November 2014
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Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain: two edgy districts go conservative

Photo 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12 : Kreuzberg and Friedrichsain Berlin © Ludovic Bischoff. Photo 13, 14, 15 & 16 : Kantine Kohlmann, Courtesy of Kantine Kohlmann.

When the Berlin Wall fell, it was the residents of its immediate vicinity that were the most affected. The iron barrier separated the Kreuzberg area in the West and Friedrichshain in the East. The last trace of this historical scar is visible from the East Side Gallery, which still marks the border between the two ‘villages’, which were populated by the most anti-establishment and marginalised fringes of the two Germanys. In Friedrichshainm like in Kreuzberg, the post-fall squatters are displaced by a race of bohemians. In a former brasserie, Kulturbrauerei, is now filled with restaurants and theatres. This Brooklyn atmosphere is a far cry from the alternative Friedrichshain district of the 1990s. In this era, illicit bars and electro clubs partied throughout the night. Now, hip families have invaded the beautiful restored buildings who hunt down the noisiest clubs.
The RAW Tempel still exists, this former railway depot housing countless clubs, bars and restaurants, giving you a genuine taste of the alternative Friedrichshain of the 90s. Still frequented by many, many tourists…
In comparison, Kreuzberg continues to preserve a little of its marginal character. Of course, bohos have also flocked to the area in their masses. While Oranien Strasse was the wildest street in the area, regulars are surprised today to find a nail-varnish beauty institute and cool clothes stores!
A great restaurant, called Kantine Kohlmann, has just opened, serving German tapas and traditional cuisine, revisited in a chic bohemian salon that perfectly reflects the gentrification of Kreuzberg.
But old punks and drag-queens organise sparkling sequined parties, reassuring themselves that SO36 is still standing. This legendary club, opened since 1978, has witnessed the ever-changing the Berlin music scene including groups of emerging, eager and restless talent. And it is here that one can be sure to listen to what makes up the alternative beat of Berlin.


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