barcreativecommons.com/Till Krech

The capital of Germany has a distinct, eclectic vibe that attracts unconventional people from all over the world. Known for its Bohemian scene, the city has a large number of artistic types that see the world as an intense place with more to be had than just the ordinary 9-to-5 life of a worker bee. Here is where they like to hang out...

Kumpelnest3000

The whole point of Kumpelnest was to be an art space for performers on the edge of convention. The decor is purposefully tacky, which they proudly proclaim is like “a lamp shop run by Lady Gaga’s grandmother”. Well, if Lady G’s grandmother sold lamps in a brothel that might be more correct. As it is, this is the place to come if you don’t feel like you fit properly into any of society’s moulds and you really don’t care. And no one in the bar cares either, as long as you’re there to have fun and don’t mind the occasional transvestite napping in the corner. The music on the dance floor is completely unpredictable, but everyone dances to it anyway.

Soju Bar

sojucreativecommons.com/Tim Lucas

Do you do your best singing in the shower? Would you settle for a toilet stall? If you’re there for the karaoke, head straight for the bathrooms because that’s where it is – but then you knew this place was different as soon as you realized you had to walk into a closed restaurant to get inside. The Angry Chicken restaurant and Soju are owned by the same person, so perhaps it’s not as clandestine as it seems, but it certainly sets the tone for the microbar that feels like a street corner in Korea. In addition to being one of the best microbars in the city, they all serve up some great Korean food and of course, plenty of soju.

Minibar

A tiny little spot with pretty much nothing to recommend it – no decor, no pictures, no view, and yet it is always packed. Many young Berliners treat this like their best friend’s living room in that there’s always room to flop on the couch and usually beer in the fridge. Better than that--they’ll even bring you the beer. The Minibar is one of the favourite hangouts for artistic souls, particularly those that are currently in a slump. It’s not the cheap drinks that brings them--because drinks here are not inexpensive--it’s the lack of fanciness that lets a miserable artist get a good mope going and the shared commiseration with friends. Well, that and the great music.

Kaffee Burger

The place to go for literary types, this very 'East Germany' pub is run by Russians and hosts readings, talks and poetry slams on most evenings. Indie film screenings are periodically scheduled and twice a month they have a Russian disco. If you aren’t hooked yet, look at the schedule for live concerts, or just show up for the incredible mix of music that keeps the party going all night long. The atmosphere is fun and even non-dancers can have a great time discussing Chekov. Another bonus is the cheap drinks and nearby youth hostel for patrons that have a little too much of the Russian vodka. Oh, and Kaffee Burger isn’t a cafe. Nor does it serve burgers.

Neue Odessa

The classical decor, trendy neighbourhood and carved wooden tables might make you feel as though you’re in some classy place in the centre of the city, but look again. The style is from at least a decade ago and nothing here has been trendy for at least 15 years. Even the drinks are old school with nothing fancier than a Moscow Mule servered in the classic Moscow Mule mug on the menu. It’s the step back into the last century that draws the creative crowd to the bar that time is forgetting. The atmosphere and lower-priced drinks are perfect for letting go of the modern glitz without being a place to drink yourself into Hemingway status. You can have a drink and chat with a fellow hipster as you wait for the music to start but watch out for the kick those Mules have or you may find yourself kicking up your heels on the dance floor!