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These are not the typical instructions to find a bar. But then Berlin’s Klunkerkranich is not a typical bar.
You begin by getting to the Neukölln Arcaden shopping mall. Go inside and find the elevators. Head to the 5th floor. Walk out into a grey concrete car park (we promise this is the right direction). Head towards the colourful ramp leading up to the 6th floor where you’ll be suddenly surrounded by gardens and you’ll have a 360° view over Berlin. It’s spectacular. A perfect setting for the highest tank bar in the world.
“Almost every bar group in Berlin was given the opportunity to open a bar here but no one thought it could work”, explains Jules. “It was on the market for two years. I guess they just couldn’t see past the 2,500 square metre expanse of grey car park”.
“But when we came up here, we didn’t see concrete, we saw light! We were inspired by the big skies.” To go with the outdoor space they’ve built a large roof garden, there’s unusual and unexpected designs throughout, old sofas, communal benches, even sandpits for families.
Klunkerkranich focuses on three different aspects. One is education and during the day they have schools visiting to learn about the plants and there are workshops held on a wide range of topics, plus more dedicated space is coming for education in 2017 – anyone can visit the gardens for free at any time the bar is open.. “We are the first and only community roof garden in Berlin and our goal is to teach people about sustainable living – and nature in big cities.”
There’s also cultural space which includes live music, cinema and performance spaces. The third side of Klunkerkranich is gastronomic, where they have simple food and great drinks, plus some of those rooftop herbs are used in the cocktails and the kitchen. It’s many things all at once.
With the beer, because it’s on the top of a car park, it takes a special van – like that at Inselgarten – to deliver the fresh beer straight from Plzen. It’s not easy but it’s worthwhile when you get to drink the beer and enjoy the wonderful view over Berlin.
When it opened in May 2013, the trio first focused on the bar and the rest has followed it; like the gardens, this place is always growing and changing: “It’s a platform for realising ideas,” says Jules, referring to the space itself and the people who use it, nicely fitting their philosophy of ‘open to everybody.’ “We’ve just tried to create an open area where everyone can find their own space.”
The bar is named after a wattled crane. “It’s just a funny name and a funny bird,” says Jules. “The crane dances for its own amusement.” The breath-taking bird’s eye view of the Berlin cityscape certainly befits the name.
“It really went over all our expectations,” says Jules. “In my opinion, people come for the location first, then are surprised by the entertainment and quality of the beer. Klunkerkranich continues to inspire me. There are new skies every day and always something new to do. Klunkerkranich shows that anything is possible in Berlin."
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