Photo by Ana Garcia de la Blanca
Elegantly restored by art mogul Michael Fuchs and his brigade of nightlife nobility, the Jüdische Mädchenschule, once home to over 1000 Jewish schoolgirls most of whom were later deported or murdered by the Nazis, has now provided Mitte’s über-cool kids with the ultimate all-in-one Mitte hangout. Move over, Soho House.
The JMS has everything the beau monde could want: three variably pricey restaurants (one kosher), three floors of art space and a whole lot of Holocaust history! Even some-time Berliners Brad and Angelina stopped in on their whirlwind Berlinale tour.
The sophisticated Pauly Saal restaurant and bar carries you to the 1920s, those carefree days of silent film, cabaret and gorgeous depravity. Though in order to enjoy a meal of traditional German cuisine selected from regional growers and pickled vegetables one must first pass by a montage of black-and-white photos of the school and the young girls who inhabited it just before they were carted off to their harrowing fates.
While making stylish homage to the Jews of present, the Kosher Classroom restaurant uses this horrific history as a design motif, as diners eat Shabbat dinner under the former classroom’s original blackboard and stuffed birds. How that could ever be appealing is beyond us. (Contrary to present rumour, Fuchs and company took on the historical theme on their own initiative, not at the insistence of the building’s owners, Berlin’s Jüdische Gemeinde.)
Morbid fetishism aside, the JMS is likely destined for success. Although we can’t weigh in on the food until Exberliner’s expert Françoise Poilâne pays a visit, Pauly Saal is probably your best bet – just avert your eyes in the hallways and steer clear of the kosher concept.