The Luxury of Space

It might sound dumb, but it’s truly one of the things that make Berlin great. Almost every day, I discover a new cafe or bar (or, most often, cafe by day, bar by night) with a spacious setup of comfortable couches against a backdrop of exposed brick or third-world-styled (African or South American) wall decorations. The music, in contrast to that of the clubs here, is usually great — in a bar last night, it was Louis Armstrong-era jazz; in a cafe today, an eclectic mix of folky rock.

If places like these existed in New York or DC, they’d be jam-packed and pricey. But here, there are just so many of them, they really couldn’t all fill up. At the cafe today, I had an entire room of velvet couches to myself. (DCers: Imagine Tryst, only comfier and mostly empty.) And just like everywhere else in town, a beer will run you two to four euros.

The other thing that was great about Berlin’s cafe and bar scene is the wealth of outdoor seating. Very few bars and cafes are indoor-only; most have plenty of space outside, often under awnings that prevent the near-daily rain from interrupting your coffee or beer. I use the past tense, though, because for the last few days it’s simply been too cold to sit outside, even in the afternoon. One of my roommates tells me September is often warmer than August here. If she’s right, I’ll be taking my drinks outside again soon.

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