AN EL DORADO OF THE SENSES

Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is Berlin's favourite nightlife district. Countless cafés and restaurants, the most unusual bars and clubs are clustered here in close proximity to each other.

Internationally most renowned among Berlin's clubs is probably the Berghain, known for its extravagant parties and its picky bouncers. But the latest cultural outdoor venue is Haubentaucher, a sprawling clubland of industrial charm inside the brick walls of a former rail yard service building. Combining the infamous local nonchalance with a Mediterranean touch of laissez-faire, the premises exude an eccentric ambience you will find nowhere else. The name refers to a species of loons, and like a loon in its watery element, you are encouraged to dive: into the swimming pool, into your deck chair, into the booze in the cosy beer garden and of course into the crowd of revellers in the club and bars. Musical and culinary delights are to be had at “Kater Blau” and “Fame Katerschmaus.” Speaking of which: the culinary spectrum of the whole quarter leaves nothing to be desired. From simple, no-nonsense, fast and cheap eateries to posh gourmet haunts, Friedrichshain caters to any taste, occasion and budget, making it all the harder to choose a place. The “Michelberger Restaurant,” for one, belongs in the upscale category, being particularly stylish and counting many artists, musicians and design buffs among its regulars. Another, “The Bowl,” is the first so-called “clean eating restaurant” in Berlin. It serves nothing but dishes and drinks that are purely plant-based. Korean barbecue and sushi is available at the “Seoul Kitchen” close to the East Side Gallery. If, however, you prefer home cooking, you should go to the farmers' market on Boxhagener Platz come Saturday. It is both one of the largest (around 100 stalls) and oldest (going back more than 100 years) markets in town, and is known for its regional produce, most of it organic, as well as any kind of fresh food. If your mouth starts watering there and then, go for a tasty snack at one of the food stalls.