Camp cuisine

Hamburger Mary’s hikes up its skirt and flashes you an Ami-inspired experience. The gay-friendly burger joint on the ground floor of a gay-friendly hotel, it offers half pound hamburgers and a rotating cast of drag queen hostesses.

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Photo by Erica Löfman

Looking for a night out on the town like you won’t find anywhere else in Berlin? Hamburger Mary’s hikes up its skirt and flashes you an experience supposedly from the US… though Amis may be just as unfamiliar with the setup as Berliners.

Originally from San Francisco but now just a memory there, the gay-friendly burger joint turned mum-friendly chain restaurant made its leap over the pond just last year, with Berlin the flagship European location.

It’s located on the ground floor of Schöneberg’s Axel Hotel, so visiting homos need not go further than the lobby to get a big chunk of meat – or its black bean patty substitute. The deep pink walls are smattered with portraits of Elvis and Audrey Hepburn. Gay icons or Americana kitsch? The tables get the same TGIF’s-style TLC.

But that’s not to forget Mary’s crowning achievement: its rotating cast of drag queen hostesses. On Fridays, “Dining With the Divas” offers up a pair of traditional Partytransen, shaking their stuff on a platform the size of a postage stamp to an unfazed gay and female crowd. Those with visiting parents shouldn’t worry that Berlin’s decadent and boundary-pushing stage reputation (no live goat-fucking, kids) is going to give them a heart attack, but be prepared for plenty of crowd groping during the Heidi theme song.

And it can be hard to get groped – and, in some cases, literally dragged onstage – when your stomach is stuffed with the namesake halfpound hamburger (from €9.50 and very generous, ask for a side of delicious sweet potato fries, €1 extra) or fried macaroni and cheese balls (€6).

By the time you’ve gorged yourself and survived the entertainment, you’ll be ready to step out and experience Berlin again.

Originally published in issue #121, November 2013.