Three cheers for a bit of crystal-clear branding at this new premises – no trying to read elaborately contorted lettering or decypher contrived double-meaning names at westberlin coffeebar&mediashop. The west part of westberlin refers to Friedrichstrasse, where the neighbouring businesses – a stone’s throw from Checkpoint Charlie – are a somewhat neglected bohemian collection of independent enterprises of all types, from a kitsch furniture store to a pound shop (except in Germany they use those funny Euros at the moment.)
Epitomising the spirit of modern Germany, the interior of the coffee shop has avoided almost all temptation to go hurtling down the retro-bahn, instead forging ahead with modern, clean and functional features. There are some vintage seats among the high-backed slender contemporary ones, but that’s usually a good idea, because they’re often comfier than new ones, and who wants a numb arse when reading Der Spiegel? No one, that’s who. The coffee, from barista April Melnick, is taken seriously – for example the espresso beans get their first roasting in Stockholm and finish up in the westberlin cups via a lovely sleek Aeropress machine.
Light pine forms the skeleton around which the whole interior is structured, and it is a whole, flowing nicely from one area to the next. Owner and architect Kai Bröer gets the credit for that; he was bitten by the coffee shop bug in 1990s New York and westberlin coffeebar&mediashop represents a long-time dream of his brought to stylish reality.