“BAIZ bleibt!” This defiant graffito, sprayed throughout the city, declared that the anarchist bar on Torstraße would remain. BAIZ was one of the last places to get cheap beer with punk attitude in Mitte.
But as we reported last summer, their building is being converted into luxury flats and the BAIZ crew, along with all their neighbours, has been given the boot. It was 11am on February 23 when the last drink was served: an absinthe for antifascist activist Lotte – who was only 10 years old when BAIZ opened in 2003.
“I’ll miss the graffiti in the restroom,” she sighed. Now “BAIZ will remain!” – but in Prenzlauer Berg. That very afternoon, Lotte and 500 more friends showed up to help the bar move. They formed a one-kilometre human chain to pass bar stools, boxes and glasses hand to hand from the old to the new location.
After exactly 192 items, everything was in the new space at the corner of Wörther Straße and Schönhauser Allee, a stone’s throw away from the very bourgeois Kollwitzplatz. Why there? It’s the closest location they could find, and it’s seven minutes’ walk from their old location, one stop away on the U2, making the switch painless for regulars.
By the time you’re reading this, the new location will be renovated and BAIZ will be back with cheap beer, free table football, Soviet film screenings and anarchist flair. The only difference? The new bathrooms will be squeaky white… but not for long.
BAIZ, Wörther Str. 1, Prenzlauer Berg, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz, Mon-Sun 16-close
Originally published in issue #126, April 2014.