So, it finally happened. After a three and a half years of uncertainty, political upheaval and general foolishness, the UK will officially exit the EU after 47 years on Friday, January 31st.
But what will the 18,000 or so Brits living in Berlin do on the big day? From fish & chips to tea, here’s how to mark Brexit day like a true UK citizen.
1. Broken English
Baked beans, Tetley tea bags, shortbread, HP Sauce, proper marmalade: this is where exiled Brits come to stock up on home comforts in Berlin. For 24 years, Broken English did a roaring trade — until the long-time owner quit last year, citing the impending hassle of Brexit customs bureaucracy. Happily, German-born Anglophile Antje Blank stepped into the breach and reopened the store in a new Bergmannkiez location to keep us all supplied with proper biscuits and tea.
Broken English, Arndtstraße 29, 10965 Berlin | Mon-Fri 11-6pm, Sat 11am-4pm
2. Das Gift
The only way to mark Brexit day like a true Brit is to get drunk, preferably in a bar full of other Brits who understand the pain and shame. Neukölln bar Das Gift, run by Barry Burns of Scottish post-rockers Mogwai, offers proper breakfast fry-ups, Walkers crisps, cider, and craft beer, plus a weekly quiz and lots of solid tunes on the jukebox. They even live-streamed the recent UK election results to a jam-packed audience of heartbroken compatriots.
Das Gift, Donaustraße 119, 12043 Berlin | Mon–Fri from 5pm, Sat + Sun from 12pm, Scottish breakfast 12pm-5pm
3. British Shorts Exhibition: British Culture Archive
Each year, the cream of UK and Irish filmmaking talent decamps to Berlin for the British Shorts film festival. This year’s screenings wrapped up last week, but there’s still the chance to see the accompanying exhibition, curated in collaboration with the British Culture Archive, at Sputnik Kino until 23rd February, featuring documentary photography from the 70s, 80s, and 90s by Tish Murtha, Richard Davis and Rob Bremner.
Sputnik Kino, Hasenheide 54/5th, 10967 Berlin | Daily until February 23rd, from 5pm-9pm
4. Der Fischladen
No list of British things would be complete without fish and chips. A reliable choice is Prenzlauer Berg’s Der Fischladen, which offers crispy-battered premium fillets and thick, chunky chips — just how they should be. It all comes served with English malt vinegar, curry sauce (!) and a nice spicy ketchup. The oysters are spectacular, too.
Der Fischladen, Schönhauser Allee 128, 10437 Berlin | Mon–Sat 10am–10pm, Sun 1pm–10pm
5. Salt n Bone
The owners of this gastropub are Irish, through and through. So not British, but close enough. There are six beers on tap as well as a selection of illustrious bottled varieties from around the globe. And then there’s the pub food. Start off with a Scotch egg, a deep-fried, hard-boiled egg encased in sausage meat and bread crumbs. Beer and meat both play a leading role at Salt n Bone. There are ribs, rotisserie chickens, burgers, fish and chips, and a few vegetarian dishes for good measure.
Salt n Bone, Schliemannstraße 31, 10437 Berlin | Mon–Fri from 6pm, Sat + Sun from 5pm, kitchen open until 11pm, Sun until 10pm, bar open end
6. Café Mint at the Botanical Gardens in Pankow
If there’s one thing that’s going to get us all through 5 years of Boris Johnson and a continental divorce, it’s a decent cup of tea. And the very best way to drink tea is accompanied by freshly-baked scones, clotted cream and jam — and possibly some cake on the side. One of our favourite places to get a proper ‘cream tea’ in Berlin is at Cafe Mint, a genteel, cactus-filled cafe in the old greenhouse at Botanischer Volkspark Blankenfelde-Pankow, run by Irishman Tom Rolleston.
Café Mint, Botanischen Volkspark Blankenfelde-Pankow, 13159 Berlin | Thu to Sun & public holidays, 11am-5pm
7. The Berlin New Stand-Up Award
Apart from tea and booze, the only other thing we’ve got to fall back on is humour. Bleak, dark humour. Fortunately there’s a booming English comedy scene in Berlin, and right now The Berlin New Stand-Up Award is hosting its second annual competition in venues across the city, until March. The first round kicked off earlier this week, and tonight’s heat takes place at 800A. Go laugh until you cry.
800A, Stettiner Str. 19, 13357 Berlin | Heat 5, January 31st, 8.30pm
8. Hirsch & Hase
For an immersive British gastropub experience, head to Wedding. The changing menu at Hirsch & Hase includes specialties such as haggis, which is much more nuanced than it sounds, salmon in a traditional British whiskey marinade, and crispy pig’s ear. There’s an affordable lunch menu on Fridays, a Scottish breakfast on Saturdays, and a Sunday roast, served either vegetarian or with beef shoulder. And, as befits a pub, the beer menu is curated with both expertise and elan.
Hirsch & Hase, Brunnenstraße 73, Brunnenstraße 73, 13355 Berlin | Tue-Thu 4pm-midnight, Fri12pm-2am, Sat 11am-2am, Sun 1pm-11pm
9. I Love You, Goodbye (The Brexit and Beyond Edition)
To mark the end of the uncertainty, a six-hour theatrical ‘performance/happening’ will take place at HAU tonight, on the day divorce proceedings begin. German-British performance collective Gob Squad reflects in its usual entertaining way on the consequences of Brexit for everyday life, culture and politics. Performers cook regional dishes and explain their origins to an inquisitive parliament, presided over by a ruthless Mr or Madam Speaker. We are intrigued.
HAU1, Stresemannstraße 29, 10963 Berlin | January 31st, 7pm
10. Sort out a visa
Last but not least, book that Ausländerbehörde appointment.