Last year, British magazine Time Out named Berlin’s Wedding the fourth coolest district in the world. Eat that, Neukölln! The perennially up-and-coming neighbourhood in the northwest of the city will never match its southeastern counterpart for hipster bars, third-wave coffee shops and inflated rent prices, but here you can eat well, drink well and escape reality on incredible dance floors. All very Berlin. Here are 10 cool places worth visiting — and possibly even staying for — in Wedding.
1. Markt am Leopoldplatz
At the weekly flea market on Leopoldplatz you’ll find everything: plates, crockery, shoes, hats, clothes, radios, computer games. Every Saturday, come rain or shine, vendors of all backgrounds gather here to sell their wares. If you’re looking to hone your haggling skills for that upcoming exotic holiday, this is the place to do it: the merchants here will look at you funny if you don’t attempt at least some friendly price banter.
Markt am Leopoldplatz, 13353 Berlin | Every Saturday: winter 10am-3pm, summer 10am-4pm
This bowling alley is a rare gem. Here you can accrue your strikes without being reminded of drab family trips with grandma: there are disco balls hanging from the ceiling, a fireplace in the middle of the room, and downstairs the skittles tumble in a cosy old-school basement. A medium 0.4L beer costs €2.70 here, and at weekends DJs fill the lanes with enjoyable sounds.
Kugelbahn, Grüntaler Str. 51, 13359 Berlin | Daily 8pm- 1am
The Kakadu — Cockatoo auf Englisch — is an excellent place to sit and dine. When it’s grey and cold outside, the rooms and their old, painted tiles impart a very special cosiness. And when the weather is good, you can enjoy the delicious food outside on Soldiner Strasse under trees and straw umbrellas. Combinations such as sweet potatoes with peanut sauce & cheese, or goat’s cheese with onion & pear chutney make the quesadillas irresistible. The cheese toasty is also particularly tasty.
Kakadu, Soldiner Str. 13, 13359 Berlin | Mon-Fri 1pm-11pm (or longer), Sat-Sun 10am-11pm (or longer), public holidays from 10am, kitchen closes one hour before closing time
This bar is one of the newest in Wedding and perhaps the only somewhat hip establishment of its kind in Wedding’s English and African Quarter. The walls are particularly impressive: they look as if thousands of multi-coloured insects have reproduced the swarming shapes that form when two ant trails meet. The furniture is comfy and the air is fresh: no smoking is allowed inside. There are three kinds of beer and wine directly from the producer.
Drehmoment, Glasgower Str. 29, 13349 Berlin | Mon, Wed, Thu 7pm-1am, Fri-Sat 7pm-4am, Tue+Sun closed
5. Vagabund Brauerei
Pilsner, Helles, wheat beer: that’s it. German beer drinkers are generally sceptical about deviations from this holy trinity. But in Berlin there are those happy experiment with beer, and some of them can be found at the Vagabund Brewery in Wedding, where you can sup delicious craft beer. Owners Tom Crozier, David Spengler and Matt Walthall experiment with ingredients such as white peach or kaffir lime leaves.
Vagabund Brauerei, Antwerpener Str. 3, 13353 Berlin | Mon-Fri 5pm-open end (happy hour: 50% off tap beers, 5pm-6pm, Mon-Fri), Sat-Sun 1pm-open end
6. Bibliothek am Luisenbad
The library at Luisenbad is particularly impressive thanks to its location. The Panke River flows right past, and next to the library is an ice cream café if you get hungry while reading. The culinary offerings are as varied as they are inexpensive. If you need a study break, it’s easy to let your thoughts wander as you gaze from the big window at the front and watch the world go by.
Bibliothek am Luisenbad, Badstraße 39, 13357 Berlin | Mon-Fri 10am-7.30pm, Sat 10am-2pm, Sun closed
7. Humboldthain Club
The Humboldthain Club certainly competes with the adjacent park of the same name — in its own unique way. In the club’s outdoor area, lights dangle from trees, seats stretch up the surrounding slopes, and there’s a Tischtennis table in the middle. Inside there’s cheap beer and well-filled wine glasses. Our favourite day at Humboldthain is Tuesday. Every week there’s open decks and open table tennis sessions in the evening: anyone who wants to DJ can, while the rest can play ping-pong on the dance floor.
Humboldthain Club, Hochstraße 46, 13357 Berlin | Opening hours vary depending on the event
8. El Pepe
At El Pepe you feel like you’ve landed in a tapas bar in sunny Spain. Pepe cherishes the concept of the tapas bar: here you drink wine or beer and eat appetisers on the side. At some point, the evening is over and you feel full without the cloying feeling of having eaten huge portions. Particularly delicious here are the bacon-wrapped dates and the Manchego con Membrillo.
El Pepe, Prinzenallee 25, 13359 Berlin | Mon-Sat 6pm-11pm, Sun closed
The Magendoktor is somewhat of a cult drinking establishment in Berlin. Nobody knows exactly how long the pub has been around, but some say it’s been open without interruption since 1975. Here you can drink for 24 hours, play darts, or stare at the wall through increasingly blurred eyes. The clientele are as colourful as Wedding itself: serious drinkers prop up the bar next to hip students, builders clink glasses with start-up founders. And the beer is wonderfully cheap, too.
Magendoktor, Reinickendorfer Str. 111, 13347 Berlin | Always open
10. Soldiner Eck
The Soldiner Eck is another of those cult Kneipen — corner pubs. For 40 years, Inge and Willi have been running the bar where Soldiner Straße and Wriezener Straße meet. The bar is also open 24 hours, and beer here is even cheaper than in the aforementioned Magendoktor. Balloons and tinsel adorn the ceiling and the jukebox blares merrily from a corner. There’s also a pool table, if you’re feeling sporty.
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Original text by Xenia Balzereit