City Guide: Berlin

Kleid & Schuh boutique.

Kleid & Schuh boutique.

Tip: “After 8 pm, the living-room-style Weinerei Forum café (Fehrbelliner Strasse 57) turns into a wine bar that works on the honor principle: You ‘rent’ a wine glass for two euros, then help yourself to as much vino as you like and decide what you want to pay.”
– Claudia Kapp, Virtuoso travel advisor, Santa Barbara
 
WHY GO
In a once-neglected part of Berlin’s former Communist east, the now-gentrified neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg has tree-lined streets and restored nineteenth-century buildings, most of which survived World War II bombing. Visit the Berlin Wall Memorial, find local designers at the Mauerpark Sunday market, and learn about life under the Soviets at Kulturbrauerei, a museum inside a brewery-turned-cultural center. The best streets fan out from pretty Kollwitzplatz: Follow the couples pushing strollers along wide sidewalks to cafés and restaurants, many with outdoor terraces facing low-traffic thoroughfares.
 
EAT
Berliners love a leisurely breakfast. Order it anytime on the terrace (blankets provided) at Café-Restaurant Anna Blume (Kollwitzstrasse 83). Share the three-tier platter, piled high with fresh fruit, meats, cheeses, smoked salmon, and veggies.
 
President Clinton chose the refined Gugelhof (Knaackstrasse 37) for a traditional Alsatian meal when he visited Berlin in 2000. Candles and flowers decorate rustic wooden tables, and classic specialties include asparagus cream soup and fresh trout braised in riesling.
 
Pâtissier Guido Fuhrmann creates edible works of art at Werkstatt der Süsse (Husemannstrasse 25). Choose from 20 types of tarts made with seasonal ingredients such as lavender and wild blueberries.

DRINK
Chestnut trees shade long tables at PraterGarten (Kastanienallee 7-9), Berlin’s oldest beer garden, where families, thirsty construction workers, and tourists mingle over glasses of house-brewed pilsner and bratwurst sandwiches.
 
At the more intimate Bryk Bar (Rykestrasse 18), parsley-flecked popcorn accompanies cocktails spiked with fruit vinegars and fresh herbs.
 
Candles flicker atop marble tables at cozy Kaffeehaus SowohlAlsAuch (Kollwitzstrasse 88). Warm up with rum-laced hot chocolate or tea infused with whiskey.
 
SHOP

Find silver and gold pendants, rings, and bracelets handcrafted by jewelry designer Matthias Frank at his Schmucklabor gallery and workshop (Husemannstrasse 4).
 
Sven Peter sells photos of more than 100 city scenes at his DulceMedia stall at the Mauerpark flea market (Bernauerstrasse 63-64).
 
Shop for breezy, casual dresses at Kleid & Schuh – German for “dress and shoe” (Sredzkistrasse 34). The limited-edition line is made at the brand’s atelier just down the block.
 
STAY
Overlooking the Brandenburg Gate, Hotel Adlon Kempinski first opened in 1907 as Europe’s premier luxury lodging. The building burned shortly after World War II ended and was rebuilt after the fall of the Berlin Wall, incorporating many original design details in its 385 rooms and suites. Book a yoga lesson, borrow a bike for a ride in nearby Tiergarten park, or sample currywurst and Champagne on the terrace facing the U.S. embassy. Doubles from $350, including a welcome amenity, breakfast daily, and a $90 hotel credit.
 
With 195 rooms, Regent Berlin faces the domes of two historic churches and the city’s famous concert hall on Gendarmenmarkt square. In-room information includes insight from the hotel’s doormen, chefs, and housekeepers on how to spend a perfect day in Berlin. Don’t miss afternoon tea served fireside in the lounge. Doubles from $290, including breakfast daily and a $100 dining credit.

By Carol Pucci
Photography by Clara Tuma