Graffiti-splattered Berlin venue celebrates shabby-chic

Thu Jul 5, 2012 9:23am EDT
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By Jane Mwangi

BERLIN (Reuters) - In one of the eerie wastelands scattered around Berlin and beyond the towering walls of a former soap factory, is the unlikely graffiti-splattered venue for one of the city's upscale restaurants and trendy bars.

Katerholzig is something of a surreal, giant adults' playground that enthusiasts say incarnates Berlin's shabby-chic allure and free spirit.

"It's really hip and stylish, a reflection of Berlin," said Victoria Schneider, a young German journalist from Cologne who was taking in the highlights of Berlin for the weekend.

By day, revellers can sun themselves on a vast terrace looking over the river that is lit up in warm and flashy colors from the graffiti-covered lamps as dusk settles.

Or they can sweat off the alcohol from the night before in a sauna in a converted car, and get a massage.

By night, and if they manage to get past the stern doorman, they can warm themselves by the bonfire on the riverside, take to the dancefloor in a cabin-like structure, or head to a bar playing thumping techno.

And there's not an evening that goes by without an alternative theatrical performance such as a circus show or mind-reading event, or live music production diverging largely from the usual club mix such as the Indian Indie night.

Climb the concrete staircase of the former factory, and on the top floor you find the Katerschmaus - a high end restaurant with unconventional flair.   Continued...