On the West Berlin side of the River Spree, in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg neighborhood, a former soap factory houses one of the city’s hottest spots for Berlin nightlife. Kater Holzig is part restaurant, part beach bar, part nightclub, part Wonderland – a labyrinth of rooms to suit whatever kind of mood you’re in.
The restaurant, Katerschmaus, serves European cuisine from its open kitchen on the fourth floor. Once you climb up the graffitied stairs, you’ll be rewarded with expertly executed dishes like Argentine beef filet in a red wine reduction, beef tartare, or mussels in white wine and garlic (just don’t show up without a reservation or you might be disappointed).
If you’re more spontaneous (or on a budget) try to the downstairs pizza bar instead. Also downstairs you’ll find an eclectic assortment of lounge areas, a beach bar with sauna, a cozy wooden fondue hut, and more. Some nights the whole complex is packed with revelers and the music echoes anywhere you go; other times the mood is more mellow and it’s easy to escape the crowds and find a quiet corner to be alone. On certain nights movies are shown while on most other nights there’s a DJ and dancing.
Kater Holzig tries – in vain – to stay off the radar. Though the club is regularly listed as one of the top nightspots in Berlin (often with a line to prove it), they don’t allow photos once you’re inside, so leave the camera at home or keep your flash turned off.