Simon Dach Strasse – The heart of Friedrichshain
Thinking about the popular borough of Friedrichshain always brings to mind Simon Dach Strasse, its bars, terraces, bohemian atmosphere and its happy hour cocktails. In the sunny days, it turns into a meeting place for students and young people. During this month of March, one of the warmest for years, the first terraces begin to appear on the pavements.
Simon Dach is trendy. Located in an old district in a historic part of Berlin, it is seen as an area for artists and bohemian people. Therefore, it has become gentrified during the last few years. Rental prices in this kiez are not the tremendous bargain they used to be, and neither is the cost of the beer (although in Berlin, this cold refreshment is literally cheaper than water). However, it’s a colourful environment, classy in a casual sort of way. Street musicians liven up the street and the atmosphere is nothing but friendly. At the end of the day, despite the rising costs and popularity, its essence still remains.
Simon Dach Strasse is named after a German religious poet. It was created in 1905 and nowadays it is host to many bars, and twenty restaurants with around 1900 outside seats. The pavements on either side are narrow so the terraces almost merge together, producing the illusion of a single seating area stretching along the whole street. Although it is located in a central area, the traffic is calm and it is adorned by trees providing a touch of serenity, perfect for an evening among friends.
It’s a street that offers everything: whether you wish to have a coffee in the afternoon, enjoy a Sunday brunch or start the weekend in one of its many bars. This time, we have chosen it to check out the Happy Hour cocktails offered by the restaurants.
One of the many options available is the Mexican Cantina “Mojito”. Although they tend to cost more than other terraces on the street, the quality of cocktails is better. They offer a wide “Happy Hour” (which could be called “Happy Half Day”) that spans 6pm to 1am. A wide drink menu is offered where you will find, naturally, the bar’s namesake cocktail.
Café-bar Yogi offers a more exotic environment along Simon Dach. It has Indian specialities and an interesting cocktail menu. Twenty-five options at 3.80 euros until midnight – even the ones which are double the price in any other hour. Swimming Pool, Zorro, Latin Lover or Kamasutra wait there to be chosen in a selection that combines flavours such as lychee liqueur, mango, tomato juice, pineapple, lime, orange and apricot. There is also an alcohol-free range available. The best part of the bar is the delightful smell of Indian cuisine and the modest but curious decoration of colourful cloth lamps, ogee arches and friezes on the walls. It’s not the most beautiful Indian restaurant in Berlin, but it’s a safe bet for spending a relaxed evening. Amber, a very similar place that has an identical cocktail menu, can be found just down the street. It keeps the same style and prices as the previous one, but tends to be a bit busier.
Simon Dach is definitely varied, encompassing a mixture of different styles and people. There you can find one of the cheapest pizza places of Berlin – almost as cheap as cooking them at home! Other attractions include the 70s style cinema Intimer, with its small movie theater and outside walls that are very differently decorated than the cinemas of Mitte. At number 24 there is a bar where you can take BBQ courses to prepare you for a summer spent in Berlin’s parks. For something a bit different you can check out Künstliche Beatmung, where you can drink under the neon lights of a decor that resembles a weird cross between 70s retro stylings and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The music styles along the street are also diverse, with a place for rock, electro, metal or whatever takes your fancy.
You can also find some of the most well-known bars in Berlin such as the super cheap Kptn with its 1.50 euro beers and free table-football – although expect a long wait for the table and a quick thrashing unless you have the skills to match the regulars there. Head next door and you can find something completely different in the Russian-themed Primitiv (the name outside is in Cyrillic so good luck pronouncing it if you don’t already know it). Here you can get an incredible White Russian (fitting, given the theme of the bar), and even take in a burlesque show on the second Sunday of every month.
Simon Dach Strasse is one of those streets which still manages to surprise, even though it has gained a bit of a reputation for being a tourist trap. It has the ability to revitalise itself when the warm weather comes, and becomes livelier as the night goes on. All of the bars, restaurants and the location, very close to Boxhagener Platz market and clubs such as Cassiopeia, have helped to cement it as one of the favourite places for residents of Berlin.