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Berlin

Literary cafe: a classic with hidden twists

Berlin's Literaturhaus cafe and garden

Image credit: gogermany.about.com/

We know, of course, that Berlin's charming Literaturhaus café is already a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike, but bear with us: even in a place as popular as this, there are still one or two hidden highlights that many simply miss.

First, however (in case you haven't yet read through your Berlin guidebook) a little bit of background info.

Handily located just off the Kurfürstendamm, the converted belle époque villa makes for one of Berlin's loveliest spots for Kaffee and Kuchen, and is ideally suited to year-round atmospheric eating. In summer, most try to bag a table in the pretty front garden, while in colder months the 'Wintergarten' conservatory vies for popularity with grand, turn-of-twentieth century rooms.

But back to those hidden treats.

Literaturhaus cafe, Berlin: many visitors miss this sculpture garden
A 'secret garden that forms part of the Wintergarten Literarturhaus cafe, one of Berlin's most popular eateries

To start with, the café garden is far larger than you might think. Connected by an ivy-clad gate in the wall to the adjacent Käthe Kollwitz museum, be sure to explore the adjoining green spaces where you'll find a 'secret' outdoor museum of contemporary sculpture.

Contemporary sculpture in the lovely 'hidden' gardens on Fasanenstrasse, Berlin

Secondly, the café itself takes up just part of the historic villa, with some of the building's most impressive interiors occupied by the Literary Society's adjoining headquarters.

Beautiful hisotric interiors in the 'Literaturhaus' Literary Society and Cafe, Berlin
An impressive interior that many visitors to the Literaturhaus cafe miss

Image credit: www.literaturhaus-berlin.de

Pop inside to marvel at the resplendent hallway (accessed via the entrance on the building's far right) and, if exhibitions are scheduled, the grand rooms on the upper floor.

For German speakers, a range of events provide further highlights, including, at 9pm on Mondays, a spoken smorgasbord of literary titbits served up by the café's resident wordsmith.

And monthly tours (again, in German) provide a fascinating insight into the building's chequered history, as well as the lives of leading literary figures who once resided nearby.

Finally, don't forget to explore the rest of the street, which still retains much of its well-heeled, pre-war magnificence.

Plenty of opportunities to peep through doorways at sumptuously decorated vestibules, and at number 25, the Villa Grisebach auction house occupies one of Berlin's most magical 19th century properties.


See also:
A house for artists
Berlin's parrots
Traffic control, 1960s style


Literaturhaus Cafe and Literary Society headquarters: Fasanenstraße 23, 10719 Berlin
Cafe opening times: daily from 9am-midnight
Literary society opening times: Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm
Tours of the Literaturhaus and surrounding area (in German)


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