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EXCLUSIVE | Destinations: When in Berlin...

EXCLUSIVE | Destinations: When in Berlin...

When East and West Berlin reunited in 1990, the pendulum marking the center of gay life in the city swung to the ex-Communist East and has stayed put ever since.


Now that the bourgeoisie has definitively slain the last ghosts of socialism, the once-shabby chic, barely legal caf?s and shops of Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte are one by one turning all sleek and image-conscious. Fret not, though -- bears, cubs, Kraut-rockers and skinny boys in skinny pants all get a seat at the bar in what is still the slacker capital of Europe.

"Ich hab noch einen Koffer in Berlin." ("I still keep a suitcase in Berlin.") -- Marlene Dietrich

THE CAFFEINE
Milchhalle
Auguststrasse 58
Get your lactose and carb fix in the heart of the gallery district while watching skater boys dip and pirouette in the park across the street. Delicious shakes and sandwiches, too.


Caras Coffeehouse
Neue Schonhauser Strasse 9
The joe is so beside the point at this see-and-be-seen caf?, with dozens of outdoor tables, in the heart of the Mitte shopping district. Bring your shades--if it's out at all, the sun always shines on Caras.


THE BITE
Modellhut
Alte Schonhauser Strasse 28
Not a millinery, as the name might suggest, but a sumptuous white-tablecloth and gold-leaf locale that is a favorite with Berlin's air-kissing crowd. Impressive menu of aperitifs and digestifs.

Markthalle
Pucklerstrasse 34
Traditional German, without all the oompah music and beer-soaked moustaches. Menu changes daily. Gorgeous old wooden interior makes you want to linger over that schweinebraten.

THE DRINK
Club Culture Houze
62 Duke St. You will need to remove some -- or all -- of your clothes to get into one of this bar's rollicking theme nights. Get over yourself, Sweetie -- everyone looks better under a red light bulb.

Roses
Oranienstrasse 187
For well over a decade, the friendliest, nuttiest gay bar in town. Don't be surprised if you see a guy in a gorilla suit or are called upon to recite poetry. The golden age of cabaret lives, Liebling.

Die Ankerklause
Kottbusser Damm 104
You can leave your sailor suit at home, but bring your in-town-for-one-night-only spirit to this canal-side mini beer hall that wishes it were a ship. Jovial, mixed crowd. Good for brunch, too.

THE GROOVE
Berghain/Panorama
Am Wriezener Bahnhof
Techno lives. Here. In a gigantic former power plant. Includes multiple dance floors, hidden watering holes and a darkroom. So debauched, straight people want in on the action. Check listings for shows by Layo and Bushwacka and other stars of the international beat spinner circuit.


THE THREADS
Bergmann
Bergmannstrasse 2
A small, smartly chosen selection of hip clothes for grown-ups, including blazers, slacks and shoes made by smaller German labels. Worth plunking down for something you won't see on the racks at H+M.

THE ART
Postfuhramt
Oranienburger Strasse 35-36
From Annie Leibovitz to Anton Corbijn, it seems all the big names in photography have had a show in this refurbished building that served as Germany's central post office back when mail was still delivered by horse.

Hamburger Bahnhof
Invalidenstrasse 50-51
Another former industrial space, brilliantly retooled to serve art. Rotating exhibitions of modern and contemporary painting, sculpture and video art. Worth a drive-by at night, when the old train station's cerulean lights are shining.

THE BED
Alexander Plaza
Rosenstrasse 1
A sensitively restored building on a street that was otherwise devastated by the worst impulses of socialist architecture. A two-minute walk from the shops and bustle of Mitte; just nip under the S-Bahn viaduct. First-class breakfast buffet.

THE DAYLIGHT
Badeschiff
Eichenstrasse 4
Berlin's open-air pool complex floats on a barge on the bank of the River Spree. Great on a warm, sunny day. In winter it gets wrapped in a kind of gargantuan North Face jacket to become a sauna.

German pickup lines
Du bist geil.
You are sexy.


Kommst du mit mir zumeinem Hotel?
Will you come with me to my hotel?

Mag dieser Tuchgeruch Chloroform zu dir?
Does this rag smell like chloroform to you?


Tragst du Weltraumhosen? Dein Arsch is nicht von dieser Welt!
Are those space pants? Because your ass is out of this world!


Ich bin in der Stadt neu. Wie kmmoe ich zu deinem Haus?
I'm new in town. Can I have directions to your house?
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