An imaginative new Mitte café-bar with a homey feel and lots of great furniture to lounge on…
Contrary to its name, Mein Haus am See is neither a house, nor on the sea. It’s a former bookshop and warehouse space located just off busy Rosenthaler Strasse in Mitte – about as far from the seaside as you can get – that’s been renovated into a funky new bar and café.
But this is Berlin, where fantasy reigns and one person’s innercity hangout can easily be another’s beach-side dream. In fact the name comes from the Haus am See Hotel on Arendsee, which today is a wellness hotel but in the 80s was a socialist hotel.
“It was a place where a boy could find girls that spent their holidays there,” reminisces MHaS owner Diana Tumm, “and a place where you could have a lot of fun too, with table tennis, miniature golf and a disco playing Italo Pop…although everything was GDR we felt free…”
Even by Berlin standards, Mitte’s Mein Haus Am See is spacious. It’s comprised of three distinct but congruous areas: a voluminous main room extends from the street back to a set of purpose-built steps decorated with mirrors, cushions, tables and chairs – a second seating area that ascends to a very cosy – and very unique – upper terrace.
To the left as you enter is a third space, created especially for smokers, separated from the main room by a glass wall and door so its occupants don’t feel ostracised. The same thoughtful use of space is applied in the main room.
The coffee machine stands open and free on its own painted cabinet, unprotected by a counter and potentially accessible to all. The bar area is equally unrestricted, fronted by a long, free-standing bar and low wooden-backed stools that help create a feeling of homely openness – no mean feat in a space this size.
The décor throughout is a fairly Berlin-esque mix of pseudo-industrial and flea market chic. A vast but elegant circular light fitting dominates the front ceiling, and the unfinished walls have been used as canvasses by art students keen to flex their etching skills. Such is the integrated subtlety of their work that you can find yourself staring at a patch of wall for a good three minutes before realising a fragile faun or old man’s face is staring back at you.
Admirably, Mein Haus am See is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During the daytime, a mix of locals, Mitte hipsters and freelancers wander in to lounge, chat or work amongst the old school armchairs and sofas and chip away at the simple menu (scrambled eggs and soups, croissants and breakfasts, plus teas served with jam and flavoured coffees).
In the evening the place gets increasingly buzzier as the light dims, the coffee machine quietens and the cocktails come out. There are DJs on Thursday nights and occasional special events like erotic evenings and a forthcoming Spanish wine and tapas event hosted by friends from Madrid.
There are no seats on the street, but a fourth space – an outside patio – will be open soon, so you can also enjoy your newspaper and coffee out in the sun.
Mein Haus Am See
Tel: 030 23883561
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