OUT IN THE OPEN AIR
It’s the most glorious month of the summer, so take full advantage of the balmy weather and spend as much time outside as possible. Hilda Hoy rounded up the month’s best options for outdoor food, fun, and events.
Al Fresco Eating
When it comes to dining in the open air, this city has no shortage of options: Outdoor seating being prime dining real estate during the summer, every restaurant that can will set up tables out on the sidewalk or in their courtyard. A few al fresco dining spots stand out, however. Buchholzberlin (Joachimstr. 20, www.buchholzberlin.com) is a hidden gem in Mitte – part café, part design studio specializing in handmade wooden furniture. Tucked away in the backyard is a lush garden with tables and benches scattered amongst the greenery, which includes beds teeming with veggies and herbs used in the menu’s flatbreads, salads, and soups.
Further south in the city, Kreuzberg’s Landwehr Canal is al fresco dining paradise. A stroll along the Paul-Lincke Ufer embankment will take you past one lovely restaurant terrace after another looking out towards the serene canal. Take your pick from ramen noodles at Cocolo (No. 39–40), creative European fusion at Spindler (No. 43, www.spindler-berlin.net), pan-Asian street food at Chan (No. 42, www.chan-berlin.com), and luxurious Michelin-starred cuisine at Horváth (No. 44A, www.restaurant-horvath.de).
For dinner with some beachy vibes, head to the riverside Sage restaurant, which has transformed a former industrial warehouse into a cool spot for modern European cuisine (Köpenicker Str. 18–20, www.sage-restaurant.de). After a meal on the shaded back terrace, move to the beach bar to indulge in a cocktail or two while wiggling your toes in the sand.
Late Nights Under the Stars
Dining outside is just for starters. Drink and dance the night away at Club der Visionäre (Am Flutgraben 1, www.clubdervisionaere.com), a small and often-packed bar and club right on the water where the Landwehr Canal branches off the Spree River. While DJs lay down techno and house tracks inside the little boathouse, revelers canoodle out on the docks and dip their feet into the water.
There are beer gardens aplenty in this town, but Bierhof Rüdersdorf (Rüdersdorfer Str. 70, www.bierhof.berlin) isn’t your average locale – it’s part of the legendary Berghain club in Friedrichshain. It shares not only a location with the massive techno temple, but also the same super-cool, post-industrial aesthetic, having been built out of a former heating plant. These days, however, the only heat generated here is from the sizzling burger grill. Sip on a tall beer and cool down next to the custom-made fountain.
Another standout spot for open-air nightlife is Klunkerkranich (Karl-Marx-Str. 66 – 5th floor, www.klunkerkranich.de), a kooky, makeshift little DIY village built out of recycled materials on the roof of a mall parking lot. The panoramic views simply can’t be beat, and amongst garden beds filled with flowers and herbs is plenty of lounge seating to sprawl on while you chill out and enjoy a sundown cocktail. On most nights of the week, the program includes concerts and parties to keep the fun going until late in the night.
Throughout the month, outdoor events are popping up across the city. Music fans shouldn’t miss the Strænd Festival at the riverside Arena venue on 20 August, featuring two stages of concerts delivering a chilled-out, surf-inspired vibe all day long (www.straendfestival.de). The festival is the culmination of Surf Week Berlin, which brings five back-to-back nights of surf movie screenings to outdoor theaters in Mitte and beyond (www.surfweekberlin.de).
If you’ve missed out on the surf films, don’t fret – Freiluftkino Kreuzberg (Mariannenplatz 2, www.freiluftkino-kreuzberg.de), tucked away in the back courtyard of a historic artists’ center, plays an outdoor movie every night of the week throughout the summer. Though foreign films are usually screened with German subtitles, much of the program is English-speaker-friendly. Lean back in a lounge chair with a cold beer and settle in for some stellar cinematic entertainment.
Summertime is also the peak season for one of Berlin’s most beloved weekend pastimes: hanging out at the flea market. The twice-monthly Nowkölln Flowmarkt is one of the most fun markets of all, taking over a section of the Maybachufer embankment with all sorts of shopping, food, and musical entertainment (www.nowkoelln.de). Stop by on 14 or 28 August to browse the crafts, collectibles, and clothing sold by neighborhood locals and to try out some food truck specialties.