These are descriptions I wrote for places of interest in Berlin and New York City for Unlike city guides. The Unlike listings are no more, but I have saved the following three nuggets.
Berlin – Le Chat Gris
This cat is wow, not grau
The only thing gray about this cat is the love-it-or-loath-it concrete facade of its modern L40 Mitte address. Inside, LeChat Gris is an ultra-chic bar and club, brought to you by the owners of the Neue Odessa around the corner. Style-wise, it’s also in the vicinity (black and gold dominate) but far from suffering any déjà vu — the hued mirrors, playful furniture and floral shades lend this space more sparkle than its low-lit comrade. Catering to the scrubbed-up guys and dolls from the design, fashion and art scenes, LeChat Gris has a suitably snazzy menu. Cocktail favs include the likes of an Apple & Rhubarb Crumble (as impressive as it sounds) and a Mule de Paris (said to pack a kick… badoom boom tish). Crémant, rosé and champagne flow plentiful here and are served with nothing other than strawberries and baked oysters, naturally. The mirrored club room downstairs make LeChat Gris more than just a schmoozerama bar, as the Mitterati put their heels to the test at Friday’s after-work hoedown.
Berlin – Café Valentin
Swedish swirls and smiles
With the Berlin winter rivaling that of Stockholm, the personal and cozy Café Valentin near Maybachufer offers the age-old solace of excellent coffee, freshly baked cakes and service with a Scandi smile. Don’t miss the Blåbärssoppa, it’s as awesome as it sounds—a thick sweet drink of bilberries that’s sure to restore your natural pizzazz. The Kanelbullar (aka cinnamon rolls) have already developed a strong following in these parts, and not only because of Valentin’s Reuterkiez monopoly, one tasty bite can convert even the most sullen of Schnauzers. Here, there truly is a cornucopia—or to choose an equally pretentious but more fittingly Swedish noun—a Smörgåsbord of pastries, salads and sandwiches. So Swedo-philes, get stuck in.
NYC – Bar Oppenheimer
Tobias Rehberger paints the town…
In town for the annual Frieze New York art fair, artist Tobias Rehberger has packed a few megatons of booze in his suitcase. Setting out to recreate his favorite hangout from Frankfurt in the basement of the Hôtel Americano, he gives the original Bar Oppenheimer a Mad Hatter’s twist. Combining mind-boggling sculptural work with a fully functional bar, every surface is decked out in black-and-white stripes, and if that razzle-dazzle camouflage isn’t enough to OD your senses, let their specialty drinks blow your mind. Apart from the Vodka Stein, Oppie serves a helter-skelter tequila passion fruit, primed with a dash of tabasco. A ground zero for creative types and the intelligentsia, this is the place where nights are chased away, discussing and arguing ideas grand and fleeting. Take part in the razzmatazz while it lasts – ever a catalyst for change, Oppenheimer is temporary, only ’til July 15th.