Stepping out of the elevator and into PanAm Lounge is like travelling back in time a few decades. This private party and event venue in the heart of the old West not only boasts breathtaking views of the Gedächtniskirche and Siegessäule – it has also managed to retain its original 1960s décor, down to the very last ashtray (not to mention the hand-painted wallpaper featuring a scene from the Boston Tea Party). “It’s like entering a film [read: Catch Me If You Can]: it’s a complete conservation of sexy, stylish 1966,” boasts PanAm’s owner Natascha Bonnermann. This time machine experience swept the former dancer off her feet.
When, in 2005, the lounge reopened after years of disuse, it was she who had awakened the former penthouse suite of the “PanAm ghetto” from its Sleeping Beauty state to create a sense of personalized intimacy, “like being at home at Rock Hudson’s”. And for those too young to catch that cultural reference – well, Bonnermann insists the Lounge’s allure spans generations: that its heydays live on in a sort of collective consciousness… It’s that cool. “You are never alone here,” she says, running her hands along the wood-paneled wall and over the back of a leather armchair. “All of the generations of PanAm are here… You can feel the spirit.” Once the hub of PanAm airline employees in the 1960s and 1970s, today’s lounge caters to clients of differing budgets and visions by offering all-inclusive packages that can include food and entertainment. Oh – and did we mention that the staff dress up as stewardesses and airline pilots?