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Streets of Berlin: Dunckerstrasse

The Dunckerclub can be found at the far end of a street of the same name. This club is one of Berlin’s gothic hangouts. An old solitary villa, hiding in the shadows behind a low bridge, it is somewhat isolated from the busy nightlife that goes on nearby. This adds just the right touch of eeriness to a nightclub of its kind. (There is even the occasional bat criss-crossing silently overhead, but they, in all fairness, can be found in most urban nocturnal skies). The Duncker’s interior is of the no-nonsense live and let die variety; more bats, skulls, dodgy corners and a small stage so that live music is ensured to be noisy, messy and in the middle of the crowd.

For an embarrassingly long time I thought ‘Duncker’ meant ‘dark’, and assumed this was the reason that Dunckerclub took its name from the street. More than a year after first having been there did I realize that connection had been wishful thinking (it just would have fit very nicely, a gothic club in Darkstreet, called Darkclub). It turns out dark translates as ‘dunkel’ and Hermann Duncker was a major of Berlin, after whom, in 1892 the street was named.

Back over the bridge, toward the other end of Dunckerstrasse, there is much more to see and do. This is the middle of trendy Prenzlauerberg, generally full of hip cafes, private fashion labels, and above-all heaps of baby shops with expensive, antroposifically acceptable wooden toys. On Dunckerstrasse, a prime example of the latter is Lila Lämmchen, with baby clothes galore. Some other highlights: In ‘t Veld Chocolates. Some of the most exclusive chocolates in Berlin. A good percentage of which probably pays for the brand’s beautiful graphic-design.

They feature mini chocolate bars, not to eat, but to melt into milk, for a sublime hot chocolate experience. A bit further down, where Dunckerstrasse meets Prenzlauerberg’s main road Danzigerstrasse, we find vegan café-diner Hans Wurst (Hans Sausage). The general ambience of the place is an amusing mix of bare Ikea-style interior decoration and a constant barrage of Indie music. Is this self-referential irony taken to its limit, or simply uncritical acceptance of the fashion of the moment? Good food though. There are some amazing veggie burgers on the menu. But be sure you like soy-latte before ordering coffee; since, as they’re vegan, they don’t serve normal milk. Upon leaving, I notice the paintings that all along had really given the Ikea-feeling its finishing touch, turn out to be some artist’s exhibition.