Last night in Neukölln

Last night after Photo Hack Day wound down here in Berlin, I took a stroll through Neukölln, the area where the hackathon took place. The further you go up Sonnenallee from the Sonnenallee station, the more you see Arabic peppered in amongst the German on the shop signs: lots of Middle Eastern restaurants and the occasional hookah bar. The streets started to feel more crowded with lots of people on the street speaking what didn’t sound like German to me. It’s a diverse place.

On the way to my hotel, I popped into a random spot to grab some food. It was a dark, candlelit pub where the bartender had on eyeshadow under his eyes, Kurt Cobain hair, and a vest. I can’t read a German menu except for the words that look like English. I just picked the thing that was least readable to me, figuring I might as well try something new. Twenty minutes later, out came what I can only describe as, if you will pardon my French, giant ravioli. They were excellent.

While I was sitting there, the guy next to me (from Dallas, interestingly) mentioned that Open Mic Night was about to start. In my exhaustion from both my second jetlag in two weeks and a hackathon, I have to admit I wasn’t initially excited by the idea of amateur hour in a local pub.

The first guy got up with nothing but a bass guitar and a microphone, and he absolutely killed it. He stood there and sang several songs in German that I will clumsily describe as a cross between punk and emo, and it was enchanting from start to finish. Solid bass playing, great voice, raw and from the heart. I felt so lucky to be sitting there and hearing this music on my last night in Neukölln.