After German band Virginia Jetzt! split up, Mathias Hielscher went on to co-found website ‘Mit Vergnügen‘ with the former booker of legendary Berlin club Magnet. Every day, regular readers are treated to a hand-picked selection of exhibition reviews, party tips and concert recommendations in the German capital. We had a chat with Mathias about Berlin in general and his favourite corner in particular: Kreuzberg’s Schlesi.
Berlin is still cool, especially if you’re into unusual parties. Five years ago I met a legendary party host in Berlin and he advised me to ‘just do what you are’. So we started parties for people our age, people like us, and they’ve grown up with us. Now I don’t want to stay out until 7 in the morning, our parties are more civilised.
One of my favourite gig venues is Lido. It’s not not too big but it’s not one of these dirty black holes, it’s got a nice wooden floor and an area you can escape to if you don’t like the music. There is lots of live music in Berlin. If you’re a musician, it’s easy to score gigs but it’s not like you can turn up and say you’re from London, and just because you have a haircut like Liam Gallagher and you get booked anywhere. You also need to have a Wonderwall.
The Michelberger Hotel, I would start there. It’s kind of the place where it all started for me, the blog and the business and everything, when it was just a building site and they used to have parties. Now it’s a cool hotel with concerts in the lobby. I like hotel lobbies in general and this one is special, a bit rough.
It’s next door to Monster Ronson’s karaoke bar. I’m no singer, but this place makes me sing. You can rent little cabins and you and your friends can go sing out of tune, except on Monday when all the cabins are open and the people mix and sing together. It’s incredible fun.
Across the Spree there’s a place called the FluxBau, which is connected to alternative radio station Flux FM, they’re pretty tuned in with what’s going on in the city. It’s a mixture between club and restaurant with a beautiful view on the river and a cheese fondue on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s full of mismatched furniture, the kind of stuff you find on the streets. It’s messy.
A bit like the neighbourhood, Schlesi, which is kind of where everything is happening right now, a Chelsea in Berlin, right on the former border with the multi-cultural thing going on – Turkish people, the hipsters, the young kids and the old kids, the old bars with the old alcoholics next door to the funky places where designers sell awful-looking stuff, kebab shops.
Most kebab places play Turkish music, but every time I go to Nil, there’s a nice RnB or hip-hop thing going on. It’s a Sudanese kebab shop with only two tables, and the owner has recently discovered Frank Ocean. It’s the kind of place you go after a party for a falafel and a chat with the owner. I don’t know if he’s Sudanese, all I know is he’s a Frank Ocean fan.
I love the Görlitzer Park, though you wouldn’t even really call it a park. In winter there’s nothing but drug dealers, but in summer there’s no green left because there are so many people having BBQs or running, or huge Turkish families celebrating their birthday with 50 people, crazy people coming out of the club on cocaine, families. There’s even a very very tiny petting zoo. It’s a funny place. It’s nature, Berlin-style.
Summer here is great. I like to go to for ice-cream in a little place called Eis Aldemir. It’s not the best ice cream shop in the world but you can sit outside on the street and pretend you’re in Portugal or Spain or somewhere, with kids playing and running with water.Lido, Cuvrystraße 7 – 10997 Berlin Michelberger Hotel, Warschauer Straße 39/40 – 10243 Berlin Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke, Warschauer Straße 34 – 10243 Berlin Nil, Oppelnerstr.4 – 10997 Berlin Petting zoo in Görlitzer Park, Wiener Straße 59 – 10999 Berlin FluxBau, Pfuelstraße 5 10997 Berlin Eis Aldemir, Falckensteinstraße 7 – 10997 Berlin