My Berlin: 'The city's nightlife has something for everyone'
Local DJ Gizem Adiyaman and music producer Sam Witte guide us through the city they call home, one club at a time
Tuesday 23 August 2022 By Sagal Mohammed
In a city like Berlin, you’ll never be short of things to do – especially as a creative person. Knowing where to go (and when to go there), however, is key to making the most of your trip. While the German capital is famed for its rich history, cultural ties, and of course, its reputation as Europe’s techno haven, there are plenty of other local spots to explore, whether you’re just passing through or enjoying a weekend getaway.
There’s something for everyone in the city, but if Y2K hip-hop, afrobeats, funk and inclusive, LGBTQIA+-friendly nightlife is your vibe and you’re a foodie, then local DJ Gizem Adiyaman (aka DJ Meg10) has all the recommendations you need. Born and raised in Berlin, Adiyaman hosts club night ‘Hoe_mies’ – a female and queer-led party mixing a plethora of musical genres, from dancehall to electro house, built on the essence of community. She lives in the city with her partner, Sam Witte, a well-known local music producer, contributing to the growth of German trap music.
Between them, the two know the city like the back of their hand, and as key players in various subcultures within Berlin nightlife and the German music industry, they know where to be to enjoy the city for all it has to offer outside of the usual tourist attractions.
Here, they highlight their top spots for eating, drinking, shopping and partying like a true Berlin local.
Where to party…
‘OXI is my favourite club in Berlin. It’s also where I host my Hoe_mies parties, which is all about celebrating inclusivity, and embracing women and LGBTQIA+ communities. It’s also just the place to be for anyone who is into hip-hop influenced electronic and dance music. You’ll only ever see women and non-binary DJs behind the decks.
Badehaus on a Wednesday night is also a must if you like live music. Make sure you go when The Swag Jam sessions are on. Sameheads – a small club in the Neukölln neighbourhood where you’ll find lots of cool art – is also a guaranteed good time. Then there’s SchwuZ, which is the biggest gay club in Berlin.’
Where to go for drinks…
‘Monkey Bar is a cool spot for drinks when you want to be a little fancy. The views are amazing and it overlooks the monkeys at Berlin zoo. Nollendorfplatz is the best area for a fun bar crawl - it’s full of LGBTQIA+ friendly bars with great cocktails. If you prefer something more low key, we love grabbing beers at our local Späti (off-licences all over the city) and just chilling by the Spree river, either at Paul-Lincke-Ufer, Maybachufer in Kreuzberg or Green Mile in Moabit.’
The best restaurants to have dinner…
‘Liu: Nothing beats the Szechuan noodles at Liu, especially if you’re a spicy food lover. I go there multiple times a week.
Crackbuns: They have these tiny burgers that are delicious, but the Mochi fries are the reason I keep coming back. Don’t leave Berlin without trying them.
Sunshine Vegan: This is one of my favourite restaurants and I’m not even vegan. Their Seitan Duck is better than real duck, and my most recent number-one dish on the menu is the Taqueria El Oso. As someone who lived in Mexico, I’m very picky when it comes to tacos, but this is the first place that actually lives up to the Mexican standard. On Sundays they have Birria – one look at their Instagram page and you’ll be drooling.
Takumi Ramen: There may be a wait for a table here, but it will be worth it – don’t bother eating ramen anywhere else.
Mazel Topf: This is our go-to for the best hummus in town. It tastes even better after a night out as it’s open until the early hours of the morning. Order the Köfte sandwiches, they’re a must.’
Where to get the best breakfast…
‘Balkaymak Simit Evi: This place has the best breakfasts for those who love Mediterranean food. Make sure you order simit instead of bread – it’s a Turkish speciality.
Big Bascha: Lebanese manakish are little breakfast pizzas that are delicious – don’t forget to get some hummus and baba ghanoush as dips.
Brammibal’s Donuts: For something sweet, try the vegan donuts at Brammibal’s. Everyone loves them; my favourite is the Bienenstich Donut.
44 Brekkie: You’ll want to get your camera out when you’re here – their sandwiches look insane and taste even better.’
The independent stores you have to visit…
‘There are plenty of indie stores to shop at in Berlin, but my favourites are She Said bookstore, which sells feminist literature and readings; Coexist, where you’ll find super-cool clothes by local designers, and Other Nature, which is a queer sex shop – they even offer all kinds of workshops to participate in.’
Favourite places near Soho House Berlin…
‘Babylon cinema is an independent movie theatre close to Soho House Berlin. It’s a longstanding cultural spot in the city and the best place to watch all the latest movies. End the night with a Picante at the House or head to Monsieur Vuong for some Vietnamese food – their spring rolls are amazing.’
The most ‘Berlin’ thing to do in Berlin…
‘You’ve probably heard it before, but you can’t come to Berlin without eating döner kebab. Even though it originated in Turkey, the kebab we know today with meat, salad and sauce in a sandwich is an invention by the Turkish community in Berlin, which I’m a member of. For us, the best kebab spot is Superhahn. But if you want to try a more upscale version with truffles and green asparagus, go to Kebab with Attitude.
‘Berliners also love spending Sundays at local flea markets. Go to Mauerpark for good food, cool stuff and karaoke; in Friedrichshain go to Boxi [Boxhagener Kiez] or RAW Flohmarkt if you’re after some cute vintage pieces.’