For many years, Kastanienallee has enjoyed the reputation of being a fashionable street. Clothing and design shops have established themselves here, and it’s known as a meeting point for trendy Berliners and international scene seekers; which is why it has earned the nickname ‘Castingallee’. It is, however, anything but pricey and pretentious. Kastanienallee is slightly worn around the edges, full of charming ideas and brimming with creativity at a bargain price. For many, it is the place-to-go for a spot of typical Berlin window shopping. In between the small shops there are lots of bars and restaurants where you can relax and enjoy watching the stylish crowds wander along the old pavements.
Kastanienallee was laid out by Wilhelm Griebenow in 1826 and takes its name from the horse chestnut trees which were planted to line the avenue. Here you can find Berlin’s oldest beer garden, the ‘Prater’, which was opened in 1853 and has an eventful history. The Gründerzeit buildings along the street, with their fascinating world of rear courtyards, have long been an object of great interest for the real estate market.
In the time of the GDR, the area remained largely unnoticed. The increasingly dilapidated buildings served many young people as inexpensive places to live. Artists and others who were ‘politically inconvenient’ found tolerable refuge and working opportunities within the complexity of the structures which had survived the war but were nevertheless mostly ruinous.
After the fall of the wall, several buildings were occupied by squatters, resulting in the creation of new shops and cultural venues. A rapid transformation began as the first buildings were renovated: going
out here or living here became part of a cool lifestyle. Among the tourists, word got around about this fascinating street. Since then, you are just as likely to hear English or Spanish on the wide walkways as German.
It is also worth taking a short detour into the side streets of the Allee. Oderberger Straße, for example, which leads to the southern entrance of the Mauerpark, is less well-known but just as lively.
The Ars Vini, Berlin First Fondue-bar, has made it its mission since 2003, to bring Berlin socially together in a culinary way. By taking the individual eating experience in the centre of the table and including pleasant entertainment, the private matter of simply easting becomes an event. >>>