What better way to get introduced to the city, than a pub crawl. Or should we mention, an alternative pub crawl. As we would only visit local bars, dive bars and underground scene bars. So not much for touristy places. It all started at ’round 21:00 pm. In a small local pub with latin / hippy flavors called “Yesterday”. Yesterday had funky music playing in an even more funky atmosphere. People were smoking. When I inquired I was told it was a non-smoker bar but pretty much nobody could care less. Ceilling artificially lowered using drapes with flowers, discs, and other colorful art-deco stuff hanging in people’s faces. Two shots and a tasty “Astra Urtyp” later and we were on our way.
The next stop was a strange place indeed. A small sign outside indicating to a place called “The last cathedral” a self described hard rock – monster – gothic bar.
Upon entering we are greeted by people wearing black, chains, and even some wearing latex and vinyl. A small steel circular staircase engulfed us one level further down. The music was loud. Very. Suicide commando was playing. Boom boom boom in our heads went the throbbing hard trans/techno limit industrial music. Skulls everywhere, cathedral windows on the brick walls. The scene was entrancing, people wearing black everywhere, at the very least a metal band t-shirt and leather bracers or chains dancing the type of dances you can only dance to hard, rash electronic music.
We drank our half-liter of newcastle and poured down the hatch our included shots and went on closer to the speakers as remixes were spat out of the giant sound boxes and the small dance floor was filled by men in medieval clothing, and leather clad girls were grooving about in their tight outfits. We then went on our way up the cold-iron staircase and the music faded out.
Our next stop was an Absinthe Bar. Super originally named “AbsinthBar Bar”. There, we were treated to a myriad or absinthe choices. Now I do love absinthe but never actually had any with Thuyone. The active ingredient that many countries require you to chemically extract as it is a potent psychedelic. Basically you drink a few glasses of Absinthe and if the 50 to 85% alcohol per volume doesn’t cut your legs clean off, the Thuyone will take care of making you see flying pink elephants for some time.
A bit like a soft tab of acid with a bitter taste of regret the next morning. Famous poet Beaudelaire was an absinthe addict.
You can drink it the traditional way, a sugar cube, dipped in your drink, lit up on fire to make the sugar melt, and when it is to your liking you wash it off with a small dose of water that also makes the taste of absinthe smoother. Some partaking in the crawl were impressed by the way you light your glass on fire. Thing is, you are not supposed to light the whole glass but just the spoon. Lighting the whole glass alters the taste of your drink and burns the precious alcohol.
That night we savored 2014 world’s best absinthe: Maldoror, 66% alcohol per volume, 35mg of Thuyone in a blended absinthe mix straight from the fatherland. Some absinthe also had 50% and 7mg, but we went for the potent stuff. Outside, we were greeted by the people indicating us the next pub to hit.
Oh and two shots down the hatch. How could you say no to some Hunting Master herbal brew ja ? Especially while in Germany.
Some minutes later we arrive to a place called Franz. A huge bar, with a big dancefloor, quickly filled up by the two-three gangs meeting up in this big place. Music was good, the ginger ale we let our bodies have at that place also felt awesome! Gotta keep some walking power for the last place. We stayed, danced, kicked back a bit and I had the chance to practice mein nicht so gut Deutsche mit der bardame. She was nice enough to teach me a few things despite her very busy counter.
Then we hit the last place, a conveniently located in a very industrious area in what looked to be old squats transformed into an underground clubbing scene to a place called Badehaus. Bathhouse in English as it was simply located in an old bathhouse. The club was nice but no so packed, the disappointing thing was that they had no German beer and the music was some slow paced house. Great for some of the ladies but for us, not enticing to drink more and go trashing about. We did however pull out a few moves, and stay waaaayy past sundown after our mystery Czech pilsner buck was doner. The acoustics making the sharp base of the high quality sound system and the quirky barmaid giving me awkward fist bumps when I was holding my fist up with tips for her, guess she isn’t used to tipping.
We walked back, grabbed a final and last beer at a small restaurant where we had Lahmacun with doner kebab meat and salad, kept walking and finished the night at a few minutes past 4 am, sitting on the cold stones in front of my friend’s apartment, breathing our evening away, slowly fading into slumber we dragged ourselves upstairs and passed out.