Like Hackney, Neukölln has experienced some serious gentrification in recent years, making it one of the top places where young people want to live – you’ll find trendy coffee shops and bars on most corners. In 2018, it was voted the seventh coolest neighbourhood in the world by Time Out, beating Hackney in the poll.
Before my recent trip to Berlin, I decided to research its various districts so I could make sure I was staying where I’d be surrounded by like-minded people and decent restaurants and shops – Neukölln did not disappoint.
Our apartment had a creative feel and was in a perfect location. We spent a lot of time in a nearby bar called Frollein Langner, which had a very chilled vibe, big comfy chairs and even a bathtub that you could sit and sip your drinks in! A bonus is that the drinks are cheap here – Neukölln is not like Hackney when it comes to prices.
If the weather is fine, head to Klunkerkranich: a beer garden situated on a rooftop that boasts great views and delicious food, and hosts various events.
For a decent breakfast or brunch and a good quality coffee, pop into Mahlo and Isla – these eateries are only a stone’s throw away from each other. Isla’s eggs on sourdough are to die for!
If you fancy a change from German cuisine and you are a fan of ramen, then head to Cocolo. This place has a relaxed vibe, plus the food is amazing; start with the gyoza, make sure you try the pork ramen main course, then wash it all down with some sake.
Another gem in this area is Gordon, a cool Middle Eastern restaurant that doubles up as a record store – perfect for all the budding DJs in Berlin.
My favourite club that I have ever been to, which just so happens to be in Neukölln, is Griessmuehle. Housed in a former grain mill next to the canal, it has a huge garden with lots to explore, from massive tree houses to wooden climbing frames with swings. It has a grungy character and plenty of places to chill if you have spent the late evening and early morning dancing away. This is the place to hear some of the best house and techno music that is out there, mixed by DJs that really experiment with their sounds.
Is Neukölln the Berlin version of Hackney? Yes! Is it better? Absolutely! Hackney’s new licencing rules are in danger of killing east London’s nightlife, plus family-run local businesses may not be able to survive – meaning more big chains taking over and clubs closing earlier. If Hackney holds a place in your heart, then next time you’re in Berlin, make sure you stay in Neukölln.