Recently I have been cheating on Bpigs with a Späti. My new workplace from Monday til Friday, from 10am til the boss wakes up and takes over the shop. Why go out for a döner when I have a steak at home, you might ask. Well, it turned out to be perfectly possible to have both, which is starting to show on the weight of my piggy bank. To prove it is not all about the money (it is about free drinks and smokes and sweets too), here are the 5 reasons why I am thankful for Galerie Späti International.
1. It is a gallery!
Almost correct. It used to be a Späti with an option to serve as a gallery; hence the name. Now it only has some relicts from the past taped on the refrigerators and walls, so that nobody ever forgets what a grand cradle of Neukölln art and culture it once was. The b/w photos on the walls are of the famous people who came to visit Späti; apparently Ramones wrote their song "I Wanna Be Sedated" there on a Sunday afternoon after drinking 24 Sternburgs.
2. It is a cheap bar!
If my boss considers you to be one of the "gute Leute" , then you can sit in the back room to enjoy your freezing cold 60 cent Pilsator, smoke your friend's cigarettes and be happily unemployed forever. The interior says something like: "you have no idea what happens here after closing hours and you better not wonder what is hidden in the basement". Jazzy Ethiopian music adds all the right spices to it.
3. It is a "kiez magnet"!
Photo by Carsten Fleck
...as my friend called it, and it is an especially valid syntagm in the summer days when it gets seriously crowded. Whether you are a Neukölln hipster, a classical type alcoholic, a poor artist, a girl/guy next door, a parent with a kid, a dog/cat/rat or all those things together, at some point of the day you will drop by to this Späti and probably won't leave until it closes. No better place to meet new friends and enemies.
4. It is my office!
One day I will probably show this photo to my kids while playing a martyr with a story how I had to sit on a bottle crate and work two jobs at once. Bottle crates are actually quite functional as furniture and you can even find a a cheap little cushion in Ikea that fits as if tailored for it.
5. It is people!
Meet Dogan. Strict but righteous, he has all the qualities needed for a great Späti Führer. His authority and pride could get him far if only he wasn't so attached to his store and all the different people drawn there for his charisma. I can understand it completely; working there reminds me that the world is much richer than one little circle of people, places and situations each of us is habitually exposed to, and that we should keep expanding it as often as possible.
Galerie Späti International / Weserstrasse 190, 12045 Berlin, U7/U8 Hermannplatz / more info