One of my favourite pleasures in Berlin is indulging in the afternoon ritual of ‘kaffee und kuchen’ or coffee and cake as we say where I’m from. Not dissimilar to the British ‘afternoon tea’ idea, this is a tradition Germans take very seriously…as well they should.
Moreover, when you’re in Berlin in the winter, as I am now, there’s nothing more comforting than leaving the bone-chilling cold and freezing rain outside and passing an afternoon curled up with a book, some caffeine and a delectable pastry. And with my soft spot for Schoenberg, it’s hard not to devote a post to some of what I think are the best places to wile away the hours…
1. Bilderbuch - this a a truly wonderful place to spend a rainy day (or even a sunny one). With its comfy armchairs, velvet sofas, and books stacked high, it’s got a classic feel to it. In German, Bilderbuch means picture book and of this cafe’s breakfasts are themed in this style (e.g. “Brothers Grimm,” “Thousand and One Nights” or “Hansel and Gretel”).
My tip: try and sit in the back room, which actually houses a grand piano.
Akazienstr. 28 - tel: + 49 30 78706057
2. Sorgenfrei - this is a vintage place filled with kitsch, and basically functions as part coffee shop, part flea market. You can sit in the furniture whilst you sup at your coffee and if you like it, before you leave you can buy it!
There's also a section devoted to second-hand clothes, if you're in the market for a hipster sweater or some flared jeans.
My tip: the warm apple cake with two scoops of vanilla ice-cream!
Goltzstr. 18 - + 49 30 30104071
3. Einstein Stammhaus - this elegant, upmarket cafe/restaurant, set in a net-renaissance villa built in the late 19th century, never fails to delight.
Run old world Vienna style (think waiters dressed traditionally in black and white) it’s perfect for an apfel strudel with whipped cream, not to mention full meals if you’re hungry (I am a vegetarian but am assured the schnitzel is sublime). Oh, and their breakfasts are truly decadent. Upstairs there’s a wonderfully atmospheric called ‘Lebenstern.’ Pricy but worth it!
My tip: in the summer, sit outside in the garden.
Kurfürstenstr. 58 - + 49 30 263919
4. Double Eye - not technically a cafe as there’s little room to sit (although there are a few chairs outside) it’s testament to this little gem's coffee that even in winter you’ll see people huddling outside, clutching a mug of caffeine. The roast here is to die for and the place is full of hipsters (the baristas as well as the clientele!)
So dress warmly and prepare to be delighted.
My tip: order a cafe creme (their version of an Americano).
Akazienstr. 22 - + 49 179 4566960
5. Cafe M - Part cafe, part bar, this is the kind of place where you can start with a coffee and graduate to a cocktail. It has a very 1980s feel to it (no retro sofa design here!) Famous for its breakfasts, I think it was the Rough Guide that labelled it home to the “conventionally unconventional.”
My tip: they have a Happy Hour from 8-10 pm so order a drink, take a seat at the bar and enjoy the live music…
Goltzstrasse 33 - +49 30 2167092