IFA International 2019 Day 5 Edition


© Thomas Keller



West Berlin glamour at Kurfürstendamm

One of Berlin’s most iconic

boulevards is the Kurfürstendamm,

a legend shaped during its years as

THE address to go in former West

Berlin. While tourists now favour

the historical districts in the East,

the Kurfürstendamm remains an

evocative area to explore.

For most visitors, the Kurfürstendamm

boulevard centres on the shops surrounding

the Europa Centre (Berlin’s highest

skyscraper, opened in 1965) and the ruins of

the Memorial Church. But for Berliners, the

area still nostalgically recalls the West Berlin

golden years, as the half-city firmly anchored

itself to the Western world.

From the 1880s onwards, the Kurfürstendamm

took its inspiration from the Champs Elysees

in Paris. It soon became the home for fashion,

chic restaurants and hotels, a role confirmed

during its West Berlin years. Many buildings

still evoke Kurfürstendamm’s opulence. Walk

along the section between Uhlandstrasse

and Leibnitzstrasse to admire the majestic

19th and 20th century architecture. A great

place for a break is the House of Literature

(Literaturhaus) in Fasanenstrasse 23. The

mansion used to welcome Russian poets in

the 1920s and now houses literature events, a

bookshop and a charming nostalgic café.

Opposite Fasanenstrasse, walk along

Bleibtreustrasse in the direction of

Savignyplatz. The area is lined by 19th century

classical houses, home to local designers. It

is also a place where West Berliners meet

over a drink or a meal. Try 12 Apostel for its

outstanding Italian food or NU for top Asian

fusion food. Go to Restaurant Café Bleibtreu

and Lubitsch for a German gastronomy

experience. The first offers popular dishes

while the second caters for the more upscale


Looking at more reminiscences of West

Berlin? Although the iconic Café Kranzler

disappeared, its typical 1950s architecture

now welcomes the Barn, a hipster coffee

shop with a terrace providing a 180 o view

of the Kurfürstendamm. The coffee shop is

accessible from Kranzler Eck Berlin. Other

West Berlin institutions in the area are the

Paris Bar in Kantstrasse 152, a meeting point

of artists since the 1960s, and the former

Kempinski Hotel Bristol Berlin - today the

Bristol Berlin. The elegant hotel welcomed

VIPs such as Sofia Loren, Alfred Hitchcock

and Romy Schneider. It recently underwent

renovation, and is once again the place to be

seen in the western part of town.

Still having some energy to walk around? View

a sunset from the top of the Europa Centre at

Puro Sky Lounge – Beyonce and Lady Gaga

were seen there! - or from the Roofbar at

Hotel Zoo Berlin

www.ifa-international.org IFA International • Tuesday 10 September 2019


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