Photo by Roehrensee (Wikimedia Commons)
From its walled-in beginnings in 1970s West Berlin to latter-day bands like Beatsteaks, punk culture has had a chokehold on the Hauptstadt for decades. Kreuzberg punk-stronghold SO36 turned 36 this month and in light of its staggering survival, we’re highlighting the five best punk spots – from venues to cinemas to shops – that show that Berlin’s burning… brighter than ever.
Photos by Georg Slickers (Wikimedia Commons), Core Tex Records, Hass Gourmet Team (Myspace), Schwarzes Café, Eiszeit Kino
SO36: The fact that the punk stronghold is still standing all these years later is nothing short of astonishing. The club's history includes being at one time run by famed German artist Martin Kippenberger and hosting early gigs by Berlin punk progenitors Malaria!, Die Tödliche Doris and Einstürzende Neubauten. Today "SO" hosts as many punk shows as it does techno nights, queer events, bingo nights and flea markets, proving that sometimes to find punk, one has to look behind the mohawk.
Core Tex Records crash-landed on Oranienstraße in 1988, the brainfart of four punks, including Steffen “Stoffel” Hack, who later left the shop to start semi-chic tourist dance hotspot Watergate, disproving the adage “once a punk, always a punk”. Aside from records (nothing too adventurous, mostly certified punk classics), there’s punk paraphernalia and Kiez gear, hair dye and hardcore kids sitting on the bench outside – and none of those things can be downloaded.
Eiszeit Kino had radical beginnings in 1983 Schöneberg, not Kreuzberg. After the squatted house they had set up in was evicted, they found temporary housing before permanently settling into their spot on Zeughofstraße in 1985. Their programme is as diverse as it gets: aside from having the balls to show renegade gay punk filmmaker Bruce LaBruce’s films in the 1980s, today they show experimental indie shorts alongside a smattering of more mainstream indie hits, some sexually explicit films and the occasional lobby performance.
Open 24 hours on Charlottenburg mainline Kantstraße, Schwarzes Café is more punk in spirit than anything. It’s hard to find a place brimming with more devil-may-care attitude, yet excellent food and service. After walking underneath the illuminated neon-parrot and past an imposing amount of cassette tapes, you’ve got two options: the slightly more boheme downstairs or an unintimidating but cosy restaurant experience upstairs. Pierced and tatted waiters will bring you a delicious meal from a menu with a photocopied anti-rape flyer from the 1980s in the back.