Cool vibes at Michelberger Hotel
This year, Minnis2Society celebrated the New Year and welcomed in 2020 from Berlin!
Just as this year’s New Years Eve was a stark contrast to that of last year, (Mr Minnis2Society was ill and asleep in bed while Mrs Minnis2Society quietly watched the fireworks on the iPad), contrast was the theme of the trip. New and old, organised and chaotic, friendly and threatening, east and west: Berlin was a tale of two halves, and below are our recommendations of the bits we loved.
After a very smooth trip on EasyJet and Germany’s fantastic (and cheap) public transport system, we arrived on time and able to check straight into our hotel…
MICHELBERGER HOTEL – We LOVED staying at Michelberger! Located to the east, near the quirky Kreuzberg area and around the corner from the East Side Gallery graffiti on the remnant of the Berlin Wall, it’s also just an hours walk or short train ride to the city centre.
The hotel is cool and trendy, whilst being friendly and unpretentious. The rooms are simple but comfortable, staff are friendly and helpful, the food is high quality yet affordable and there are some quirky bits of styling and tech. https://www.michelbergerhotel.com/en/
🧖♀️ Relax in the free private sauna located in the central courtyard, available during the winter months (just book a time slot at reception and it will be all yours for an hour).
🍸 Drink the Michelberger Sour cocktail – an addictive mix of Michelberger Forest herbal liquor, citrus flavours and a hearty punch of ginger. 👊 Great to warm you up on a cold night!
👀 Watch The Big Lebowski. You’ll have no choice with this one, it’s on eternal loop on TV screens around the hotel and in your room!
… EAT …
This Vietnamese restaurant was a 15 min walk from Michelberger and from the outside it doesn’t look like much. The worn decor and torn lanterns wouldn’t catch your attention, but once you’re through the thick plastic curtain, it’s a different world inside. Welcoming, warm and authentic, the atmosphere is buzzing, and the service is impeccable. Not luxurious or expensive, just efficient, friendly and helpful. But what really makes this place amazing is the food – absolutely delicious! No need to book for 2 people, just walk on in. https://umami-restaurants.de/en/home/
… DRINK …
We were recommended a couple of bars and both were walking distance from our hotel. The first we visited was Madame Claude, a small, dark rabbit warren leading to Alice in Wonderland where, when your eyes adjust through the dark and smoke (yes, smoking is still allowed in this place), you realise all the subtle decor inside is upside down. Tables, rugs, lampshades, and more adorn the walls and ceilings. We enjoyed a beer in the friendly atmosphere, but after a while the small space and cigarette smoke started to get the better of us, so we moved on.
Another bar we recommend giving a go is Das Hotel (it’s not a hotel), another small and cosy hideaway. Here, the rough and ready shabby chic vibe, with paint hanging off the walls with random murals and graffiti, nicely contrasts with the feminine flowers poking out from jars all across the ceiling and on the tables.
… AND BE MERRY! – On our second night we went with friends to a Bavarian themed restaurant in the city centre, where we got our fill of meat, beer, live music and lederhosen. Hofbräu Wirtshaus Berlin is a taste of Oktoberfest all year round and although it’s busy, touristy, and a little impersonal, we found it good value, speedy service and a lot of fun – especially with friends or in a group. Probably not quite the right place for a romantic meal for two, so if you’re a couple go along and makes some friends! https://www.hofbraeu-wirtshaus.de/en/berlin/
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Our final night in Berlin was New Year’s Eve and we had explored ideas of bars and clubs for some authentic Berlin nightlife and get under the surface of the city (sometimes literally). But in the end, NYE wasn’t the time to fight (and pay) your way into a club for head-banging beats – take to the streets instead and you get as much of a thrill. As we wandered Kreuzberg from as early as 7pm, there were shouts, screams, sirens and all sorts of explosives going off in all directions. Every person left, right and centre seemed to be poking bangers into manholes (ahem) in the street, or aiming for the nearest target even if that was a car or train! It was great fun, but by the stroke of midnight we were back in the safety of our hotel, enjoying a Michelberger sour cocktail, and admiring the sparklers in the sky from the doorstep. We survived to tell the tale and feel ready to take on anything that 2020 throws at us!
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