Freitag, 18. Januar 2008

Schwarzer Rabe - I will miss you!

When I was writing for product. magazine, I once suggested an obituary column for pubs and tea houses that were being killed off by Starbucks and chain pubs in Edinburgh. The column never happened - but Berlin, especially Berlin Mitte, is another place that provides fertile ground for such a writing endeavour. I was certainly shocked today to find one of the very, very few places near Hackescher Markt that I still liked to hang out in to be shut. History. A friend and I had met there often to discuss climate policy, life and more. The Schwarze Rabe was our local, our lunch and coffee refuge. Whenever I was there, the Schwarze Rabe was full. Except for once. When my partner Kathrin and I had only been together for a few days, we headed to the Schwarze Rabe for dinner after a lovely day out in Potsdam. And, somehow, everything went wrong that night. They only had a buffet option, which was not really worth it for a vegetarian like me (though it was wonderful food). Worse, Kathrin was very silent. So silent, in fact, that I was wondering whether we were really going to be an item for much longer. As it turned out ... Kathrin felt that I was not behaving elegantly enough (I guess I shouldn't have loudly speculated about whether the buffet was value for money. I guess I could have sat up and lifted my head rather than let it lie on the table ... ;-)). But she didn't dare tell me. It took me hours to figure out what was wrong. In retrospect, that night was quite significant. We made a giant leap forward in our relationship. But still, it was the only night when I did not experience sitting in the Schwarze Rabe as fun. - The Schwarze Rabe was different than your normal Mitte bar. It was architecturally a wide open, yes, a grand place. It was busy, in the positive sense of being lively. In fact, it had a bit of the flair of a Vienna coffee house. Furthermore, the lunch food was cheap and wonderful (and Italian, like most good German food ...). Ah, the place was great ...
At the moment, the site lies empty. So we do not know yet, what will replace it and whether indeed a chain will colonize the space. Still, it's very likely to be some dreadful yuppy bar or a fancy clothes store. Whatever it will be, the Schwarze Rabe will be lost. A beautiful, social, charming bit of Berlin restaurant life is gone. All I am left to do is to cry into my beer. Somewhere else.

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