So now you’ve been on a journey back in time. You’ve experienced Berlin how it once was and you’ve hopefully come to understand what has shaped the German capital as we know it today.
If you’re just half as intrigued as I am about getting a taste of the grand past of the city, you’ll be pleased to know that there are still a handful of places (or more) where you can get your cravings fulfilled. So where in Berlin can you find a bit of that golden era nowadays? Come, I’ll show you.
Adlon Hotel Kempinski
Of course I had to include “The Adlon” on top of the list! This is without a doubt the crown jewel of hotels in Berlin. It originally opened in 1907 and has been serving a long list of celebrities and politicians ever since. The hotel received extensive renovations and re-opened as a Kempinski hotel in 1997. You don’t have to stay here to experience the grandeur of past times; simply check in for a cup of coffee, a glass of champagne or a dinner in one of the gourmet restaurants.
I’ve written several posts about “The Adlon”, latest in 2017 when I stayed here for two nights. Read about my experience here.
Nestling a few hundred meters from the busy Alexanderplatz, Nikolaiviertel is a small oasis in a city that never sleeps. With its cobbled-stoned streets, timber-framed houses and ‘pedestrians only’ policy, you’ll immediately feel transported back in time. Bear in mind, though, that the area was heavily destroyed during the war, which means the current houses are not old (they were erected in 1987). But if you close your eyes, you can almost imagine that both Goethe, Kirkegaard and Humboldt had their fun here.
It might not be as famous as its bigger sister, the TV Tower, but this landmark actually came first! The radio tower was erected right in the middle of the Weimar years (between 1924-1926) in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, and it quickly became a symbol of the golden era of Berlin. The world’s first radio program was transmitted from here in 1935 and the last one aired in 1963. Today, visitors can enjoy a nice dinner 55 meters above ground level, with a stunning view of the city. The atmosphere and interior of the restaurant is an ode to the 1920s.
Click here for more information.
Babylon is Berlin’s beloved old cinema located at Rosa-Luxembourg Platz. It was erected in 1928/29 in a building typical for its time, and due to careful restoration, it still oozes of 1920s charm. No matter what movie you’re watching here, you’ll feel as if you’re transported back in time. One can still find silent movies (with piano accompaniment!) on the programs, just like 90 years ago, but also indie movies, French and Spanish movies and small productions.
Tip: On November 17th 2019, Babylon is presenting the 90-year-old German cult classic ‘Metropolis’ on the big screen. With music performed LIVE by the Babylon Orchester, this is set to be a one-of-a-kind film experience that undoubtedly will transport you straight back to the golden era! Ticket price: €25.
For more informartion, click here.
Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome
Located on Bebelplatz in Mitte, this grand hotel certainly also brings out Berlin’s historical legacy at its finest. Built between 1887-1889, Hotel de Rome served as the HQ of the prestigious Dresdner Bank up until 1945 and originally housed three floors. The building was heavily damaged during WWII, but was rebuilt to its former glory in 1952. The following decades were quite turbulent until it could finally open as a Rocco Forte hotel in 2006. The name ‘Hotel de Rome’ is an ode to a former grand hotel that used to lie just 400 meters from the current hotel. Today, this magnificent place houses 108 rooms, a spa and a spectacular rooftop terrace with views of a more elegant part of town.
Click here to get more information.
The story of this legendary Berliner dance hall begins in 1913 when Fritz Bühler and his wife Clara opens Bühlers Ballhaus. The old building from 1885 still houses a dance hall on the ground floor while the first floor is occupied by a mirror hall for parties and events. After Fritz’ death, Clara decided to take over, and the place was collegially known as ‘Clärchens Ballhaus’. For 91 years, the institution was run by the same family, and it’s one of the last remaining grand dance halls from the golden era of Berlin. The building is protected as a denkmal, but the place is still full of guests every weekend! You’ll find a restaurant, regular dance evenings, a nightclub with local DJ’s playing and dance courses. A place that simply needs to be experienced!
Click here for more info.
Some call it the hottest Burlesque bar in Berlin and I guess that covers it well! Prinzipal is a living and breathing ode to the glamorous past of the city. Nostalgic jazz vibes, daring Burlesque shows and fantastic cocktails - doesn’t it sound a bit like you’re about to board a time machine back to the 1920s? I’m pretty sure this is as close as you get in modern Berlin!
It’s always recommended to book a table in advance, especially for the Burlesque shows on Saturday evenings.
More information here.
In 2017, a grand new five-star hotel saw the light of day in Berlin’s buzzing Kreuzberg neighborhood. A funny combination, one might think (luxury hotel and Kreuzberg), but it works surprisingly well together. If only the walls of Orania Berlin could speak, they’d tell amazing stories from a bygone era. And it all begins in 1912. Originally an office building housing a café, Oranienpalast, on the ground floor, the venue quickly became a hot spot for local party goers and cabaret lovers. Oranienpalast was hosting some of the most spectacular cabaret evenings from its opening in 1913 to its closing in 1924. The next many decades were a bit chaotic for this beautiful old house - until Orania Berlin could finally open its doors a few years ago. To honor its glamorous past, the hotel is hosting weekly jazz evenings on the ground floor - in the same place as Oranienpalast used to be.
Click here for more info.