Berlin neighborhood guide - Brunnenstrasse - AWESOME BERLIN

Berlin neighborhood guide – Brunnenstrasse

Brunnenstrasse can be considered the b-side of Torstrasse and, together with this main boulevard, is one of the coolest areas in Mitte. The 2.3 Km long road begins at Rosenthaler Platz and ends at the S- and U-Bahn station Gesundbrunnen, from where the street got its name. We love it so much that we decided it was time for a comprehensive Brunnenstrasse guide through our eyes. We hope you enjoy it. Tip: Avoid Sundays and early mornings as most businesses are closed. For specific opening hours, make sure to visit the establishments’ websites. 

This interesting street connects the hip Mitte with the popular Wedding district. The metro line U8 runs along the entire length of Brunnenstraße, passing by Bernauer Strasse and Voltastrasse stations.

Until the Second World War, Brunnenstrasse was a popular shopping street with many boutiques, cinemas and pubs, including the former department store Jandorf. In fact it was called, along with Friedrichstrasse, the “Ku’damm of the North”.

The construction of the Berlin Wall, during the Cold War years, separated two parts of Berlin – and of Brunnenstrasse. The Wall used to stand alongside Bernauer Strasse, making both ends of the crossing roads dead end streets. Today this spot is marked by a double row of paving stones and it is also a section of Berlin Wall Memorial.

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Photo from the Wall Memorial’s Website

Curiosity: The metro station Bernauer Strasse was closed and became a ghost station, through which the trains ran without a stop from West to West Berlin, directly from Moritzplatz to Voltastrasse.

The perpendicular Bernauer Strasse was also the scene of many escape attempts  from the residential buildings on the south side. Many people simply jumped from the windows and died. The sewage canals and self-excavated tunnels in the clayey subsoil of Bernauer Strasse were also used to flee to West Berlin. Many of the stories are reported on the information columns of the Berlin Wall Memorial. There is even a guided tour promoted by the Berliner Unterwelten association.

Walking Brunnenstrasse all the way up from Rosenthaler Platz to Gesundbrunnen you will notice how the different sides divided by the former Wall present different architecture, street lamps, shops and cafés.

Even though the Wall has fallen in 1989, there is still an imaginary wall, that separates two different populations. The western section of Brunnenstrasse, from Bernauer Strasse to S- and U-Bahn Gesundbrunnen, is the address of truly examples of ugly German architecture and their indefectible satellite dishes. However, it has some points of interest.

The first one is the big red building complex of the former industrial site of the electric supplies company AEG. The factory buildings, constructed at the end of the 19th century, are partially protected and you can walk into the former facilities area.

Volkspark Humboldthain is a large green getaway in a very grey neighborhood. Don’t miss the beautiful Rosengarten and the nice view over Wedding from the top of the Flakturm (Above-ground anti-aircraft gun blockhouse towers constructed by the Nazi Germany). The flak towers are also one of our favorite sunset spots in Berlin.

For the foodies, every third Sunday of the month, the street food market Brunnenmarkt takes place between Bernauer Strasse and Stralsunder Strasse, gathering specialities from the four corners of the world. Volta is a gastropub that serves a tasty gourmet burger, in a very sophisticated ambiance.

Let us focus now on the former eastern section of Brunnenstrasse, from Rosenthaler Platz to Bernauer Strasse. This neighborhood is characterized by its mix of decadent façades and brand new refurbished ones, updated with the latest minimalist architecture trends. It makes a charming contrast with the courtyards full of grafitti, stencil and stickers and the remaining businesses like the watch-workshop Uhrenwerkstatt and the GDR-style Kneipe Zum Bier-michel.

Around Rosenthaler Platz, you will find hotels, Spätis and a plethora of fast food options, like pizza, kebab, burgers, burritos, Currywurst and Asian mix food, that are perfect for midnight cravings. Weinbergspark is one of our favorite summer hang outs. Grab a beer from one of the Spätis nearby and find a free spot to chill on the (often) crowded hilly lawn. A true Berlin experience.Brunnenstrasse neighborhood guide mitte 5

This corner is also the address of the former department store Warenhaus Jandorf, in operation until 1945. It then served as the Institute of Fashion Design during the GDR times. The building, yet to be renovated, is used for exhibitions, art projects and temporary events location like the Berlin Fashion Week  these days. From here, you can also play “peek-a-boo” with our beloved TV Tower.

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Photo from Kaufhaus Jandorf’s Website

In order to help you explore the variety of interesting places Brunnenstrasse offers, we divided its attractions in art galleries, wellness spaces, shops, cafés/restaurants and bars:

Art galleries:

KOW and Zagreus Projekt are two of the most newsworthy galleries on Brunnentrasse. Besides their always fascinating exhibitions, the building used by KOW is a delight: the translucent façade of the concrete box changes its colors according to the intensity of the sun-rays! Zagreus Projekt is a gallery and gastronomic space. The chef, gallery owner and curator Ulrich Krauss organizes exhibitions in relation to food or gastronomic concepts, with a different menu for every new exhibition. Kind of wacky…very Berlin.

brunnenstrasse neighborhood guide mitte

Photo from Zagreu’s Website

Next to both galleries, you can not miss the building with a façade celebrates the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall. It reads: “This house used to be in another country”.

Volume, Galerie Axel Obiger, the architecture office and exhibition space Nord Studio, Art von Frei and Neue Schule für Photographie are also galleries that merit a visit.

Wellness spaces:

Brunnenstrasse seems to be the address for yoga lovers. There are at least three yoga studios: the well known Jivamukti Yoga Berlin, that also has a yummy vegan canteen, the yoga center and small organic grocery shop Vielfalter and the yoga school Ashtanga Yoga Berlin. To make your heart beat faster and healthier, Becycle offers indoor cycling and HITT classes. Next to it, at My Goodness, you can recharge your batteries with a healthy and plant based whole food.

Shops:

Shopping maniacs will not be disappointed by a stroll along Brunnenstrasse. Some of the most interesting boutiques in Berlin have their address here.

Bridal clothing and accessories can be found at Kaviar Gauche Vintage (limited edition items and press samples from the successful German fashion label). The girls can find more German womenswear at Hannes Roether and local designed and made bijoux at Nuts & Pearls Jewelry.

Civilist is the garments provider for the Berliner cool kids, with its always amazingly curated streetwear collections. It is where you can cope capsule collections items from adidas/Palace and from upcoming brands like Dime and Bronze 56K. The next door space is dedicated do Nike SB and Vans Syndicate sneakers.

Ben Weide offers menswear collections focused on functionality, with hints of minimalism and sportswear. The clothes are almost only locally produced (they are made in a 300 Km radius around Berlin).

Handmade in Germany, Elena Mancu “makes clothing for women who seek to refine their style without being obsessed by fashion”. Expect clear cuts and hidden details on her pieces. More made in Germany can be found at DRESP. The brand creates and sells high-end women sportswear that can also be your outfit for a Sunday afternoon at Berghain, after your crossfit training session. ; – )Brunnenstrasse neighborhood guide mitte 2

Argot Life Store and Studio 183 are the two concept-stores of Brunnenstrasse. On the first one, you can find selected magazines, coffee cups, sunglasses and made in France tricots. Studio 183 “integrates high quality design, fashion and art and offers a platform for young designers and entrepeneurs to sell their products in a curated retail context”. Located on the ground floor of a building that once was a house art project.

For the vintage lovers, Ghata Berlin displays a selection of clothes, bags and shoes from the 20th century and Cafe Irma offers not only coffee, but also GDR memorabilia, like plastic chicken-shaped boiled eggs holders.

Bookworms can be fed by the second-hand books at Handbestand. They have a lovely terrace which is perfect for a coffee and cake combo to accompany a reading session. Ocelot is “not just another bookstore”. The cosy oak interiors invite you to read over coffee. The space also hosts talks, exhibitions and small concerts. If their book selection can’t provide what you are looking for, the Phillip Schaefer public library is located on the courtyard of the building!

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Photo from Ocelot’s Website

Brunnenstrasse also offers options of furniture and design shops: finest Scandinavian pieces of Wohnkultur 66, houseware supplier Objets Trouvés Berlin, contemporary design at Brunnen 190, bedding store Polkra, upclycling boutique Nutz&Zier, exquisite stone fashion, tech-accessories of Roxxlyn and urban design of S.Wert, a good place to find a souvenir from Berlin to take home.

Cafés/restaurants:

Besides the fast food options at Rosenthaler Platz, along Brunnenstrasse you can find many other places that serve nice and tasty food.

Following a successful Kreuzberger/Neuköllner café style, Hermann Eicke, whose name pays homage to the creator of the first coffee machine, has good fresh bagels and sandwiches, and Joris makes yummy baked potato topped with creative ingredients and decent salads.

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Photo from Joris’ Website

For the Polish street food fans, Schmeckerei/Pierogi serves pierogi and soups and Tak Tak Polish Deli proposes organic “handmade Polish comfort food”, including meat free pierogi and bigos.

On the corner of Bernauer Strasse, Central Café Bar is a good vegetarian option during a visit to the Berlin Wall Memorial. Next door, L’Épicerie Brunnenstrasse is a grocery shop with a nice cheese and wine selection. Across the street, the main attraction of Ost-West Café is the very photographable East German Trabant police car, parked outside.

Almost on the corner of Invalindenstrasse, Unicorn.Berlin offers coworking spaces, healthy food, meeting rooms and an event space.

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Photo from Unicorn’s Website

Asian food can be found at the Chinese noodle house The Tree and at the Japanese grillhouse Aiko, with their lovely  – and symmetric displayed – paper lanterns.

Sweet tooths will be delighted with the french pastries of Du Bonheur and with the original ice cream flavors of Die Eisfabrik.

If it is not enough yet, try the delicious Austrian food at the deli Feinkost Minutillo and the greasy burgers of Rosenburger.

Bars:

Either to start or finish your evening, bar options do not lack on Brunnenstrasse. Kim Bar is open from Tuesday to Saturday and is a good choice for music and drinks.

Bar Milano needs no further introduction. It is our favorite spot for a Negroni night opener! Tarantino’s is a cocktail bar dedicated to the universe of the American filmmaker.

bar milano aperitivo italiano

Bar Milano

Buck and Breck is a somehow secret doorway speakeasy and it was elected one of the best bars in Europe. In one only intimate and dark room, the cocktail bar, that is also a Champagne house, has a black communal table, in front of which the bartender mixes your drink. Reservation is mandatory.

Sharlie Cheen is a more affordable cocktail bar option and has a very “instragramable” ceiling, with its hexagonal lamps.

Open 24 hours, Mein Haus am See is a café/bar/club with a mix crowd and a small stage for live concerts.

As you can see, you can basically spend quite some time just exploring Brunnenstrasse and the areas around it. Make sure to also check our guide to Torstrasse and if you are in the mood for something more Kreuzberg, explore our guide to Graefestrasse.

*This article was written by Domingos Lepores and edited by Tulio Edreira.

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