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The Wall may have fallen more than two decades ago, but a division still persists in modern-day Berlin. Visit these three hip haunts in the former East.
It’s been more than two decades since reunification, but locals in the German capital still often refer to themselves as Ossies and Wessies, or East Berliners and West Berliners. These days, however, the eastern half of the city is thriving.
Originally an East Berlin artists’ squat in the 1980s known as the Künstlerheim Luise, or “artist’s home Luise,” this unusual boutique hotel officially opened its doors to guests in 1995. Although the owners have spruced up the place a bit since its wilder days, it retains a decidedly funky flair. Fifty artists were commissioned to decorate the rooms according to their own taste and vision. In return, each receives a small share of the profits from their room, as well as a number of free nights at the hotel. Despite its convenient location near Mitte’s attractions, the hotel remains one of Berlin’s more affordable accommodation options. Some of the suites are positively luxe, but a few of the single rooms clock in at less than €40. As a result, the place remains enormously popular with visiting boho types.
Curiously, the owner of this quirky shop isn’t named Paul. Instead, the place draws its moniker from a Beastie Boys album the East Berliner remembers listening to back in the ‘90s. From retro Star Wars collectables to vintage threads to some seriously pumped up kicks, this store has a bit of everything. It’s best to set aside a leisurely afternoon to rummage around in search of buried treasure.
Want to blend in during your time in Berlin? The first thing you’ll need to do is to dress the part, which is where this thoughtfully curated boutique in Mitte by a South African designer comes into play. Items here err on the minimalist side, with clean-cut silhouettes often in dark shades—perfect for a night out in Kreuzberg. You’ll also find a sizable collection of items in sheer fabrics, mesh, leather, and latex created with KitKatClub and other equally notorious venues in mind.