We were recommended to visit Tacheles by some Berlin locals for the authentic Berlin experience. They suggested we go up to the cafe and look down on the half buried airplane at the back. Apparently we’d recognise it because it was the only grotty, run down building in a neighbourhood where everything else had been renovated.
The building was originally used for shops and businesses, but in the 1990s after the Berlin wall came down, it was occupied by artists to prevent a proposed demolition and is now an arts centre.
When we walked through the arch we found a large yard at the back that was half hippy commune, half sculpure park where the sand underfoot gave it the air of a beach transported to the inner city. People were dotted around, chatting, chilling, drinking beer. Were they artists taking a break, residents of the old painted bus or refugees from a rave the night before? Or perhaps like us they’d just come to hang out, be cool and work on their street cred.
My friend Wendy and I parked the teen princesses with an ice cream in one of the cafes to write postcards while we climbed the graffiti covered stairway to the artists studios in the warehouse above. Once you’d got past the grungy and stinky stairwell there was some interesting stuff on the upper floors, not all of it family friendly. This is not the place to bring your granny. We did find a small upstairs cafe but most of the chilling seemed to be going on in the sunny back yard.
Venturing further through a gateway, we found a patch of waste ground with the abandoned plane carcass and some other random street-sculpture, with murals on the walls of the surrounding buildings. I feel sure that the patch of ground must be earmarked for a shiny new office building some time in the future.
The same cafes where you can buy a beer or a coffee in the daytime, were obviously transformed into clubs and music venues at night – there was an air of the morning after the night before about the place. This is apparently the venue for some legendary parties.
So if you enjoy a bit of off the wall art, want to hang with the cool crowd or just nurse your hangover on a sunny afternoon head over to Kunsthaus Tacheles on Oranienburger Strasse.