Will Potsdamer Straße ever be a nightlife drag? Right now, Berlin scenester Lena Braun is reclaiming what she sees as the street’s rightful legacy. Four blocks south of legendary West Berlin gay bar Kumpelnest 3000 and the “Potse” gallery row, among gaudy döner shops and neon Spätis, is where the artist, gallerist and bar proprietress has chosen to open her latest venture, Barbiche. You may remember Braun as Queen Barbie of Barbie Deinhoff’s on Schlesische Straße, presiding over the bar back when it was a chaotic queer mishmash of performance, hedonism and Kreuzberg riff-raff. Barbiche, a portmanteau of Barbie and Braun’s 1988 gallery Bichette, might seem less anarchic than her previous ventures at first. On off nights, it comes off like a sophisticated café where you can sip a Truman Capote Screwdriver (€6) next to Damen in pearls and faux fur while checking out the art adorning the deep magenta walls – last month featured Minette Dreier, famous for her floral Berghain flyer and paintings of Berlin personalities (from March 3, Wolfgang Brückner, Lilly Grote and Elfi Mikesch will be up). But other nights get rowdier, justifying Braun’s description of the place as a “miniature cabaret”. The jam-packed event programme features everything from readings to DJ nights, a singer-songwriter lounge curated by indie scene queen Kitty Solaris to a “Barbitches” talk show from Braun herself. At this point whatever Braun does is bound to prick up ears, but these new digs in a “new” area of town, with just the right mix of old-West nightflair, are sure to be a magnet for any long-term arty Berliner, German or not.
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