Adventures in Berlin: In Search of Cool

We finish our fifth beer in the shabby-but-charming Zum Schuster Jungen and sink sleepily into our chairs. This is a no-nonsense pub, selling no-nonsense German grub: the remnants of three pork knuckles, one fried fish and four gooey stacks of sauerkraut wallow, unfinished, in our greasy plates. Behind the bar, two sturdy Teutons raise an eyebrow at our defeat.

Nestled amid the posing, self-conscious cool of modern Berlin, the pub is a peculiar anachronism: a relic of the pre-unified East, where both flat caps and floral wallpaper are worn without irony. Part of me wants to abandon our quest for the avant-garde and settle in here for the night, but the choice is made for us by a robust waitress who indicates that we should give up our table for newer, hungrier arrivals. We hand over our money and haul ourselves into the street.

“Hang on,” says Joe, pointing at a nondescript building on Eberswalder Strasse. “I think this is it.”

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