A cute Friedrichschain kindercafe with some serious designer credentials…
The last couple of years have seen Kindercafes spring up all over Berlin, catering to an increasing demand from young (and young-ish) parents for a combination of funky, ‘adult style’ cafes and indoor children’s play areas.
One of the most recent openings (2010) is Knilchbar, near Friedrichshain’s buzzing Boxhagener Platz. Run by friendly young couple Annika and Daniel, the space is comprised of three smartly refurbished rooms that have the atmosphere of an open house.
Everything feels modern and new, from the polished wooden floors and freshly painted walls, to the tiny shop that sells handmade boutique baby goods – some from designers, some from the owners’ parents – and the specially commissioned children’s artwork on the walls (also for sale). There’s even free wifi if you have your laptop or phone and need to get online.
The two rooms at the front are styled like normal (kid-friendly) café areas with tables, chairs and sitting booths for the parents to hang out in. Kids can run around anywhere but the back room is their main play-space, featuring an assortment of toys, bean-bags and low tables where they can sit and play or draw, plus a specially installed wooden climbing maze to clamber around on. If they make it to the top there’s a little room with a grille through which they can wave down at mama and papa below.
The menu offers delicious cakes and homemade soups, three breakfast menus (one vegetarian) and there’s a family Sunday brunch from 10am-2pm. Knilchbar also offers kids’ courses that range from yoga to music and dancing, and are toying with the idea of a babysitting service, which would be a massive boon for visiting families wanting to explore Friedrichshain’s sights and shops “unhindered” for a few hours.
That said, it’s also fun to take the kids for a stroll in the surrounding area. If you’re here at the weekend there’s a farmers market on Boxhagener Platz (Saturdays, 9-16) and a flea market on Sundays (9-17). Nearby Simon-Dach-Strasse offers plenty of cafes, boutiques and bars, and a little further and you’ll reach the impressive Karl-Marx Allee and its wealth of imposing Soviet architecture.
Inevitably Knilchbar is sometimes a bit crowded, especially at weekends. But fear not. A stroll along Krossener Str. to number 35 will bring you to another Kindercafe called Amitola (Mon-Sat 10-18.30, Sun 09.30-18). It’s less ‘designer’ (some might prefer that anyway), plus it has a decent cafe, a small second hand clothes shop and a huge open space for kids to play in while you enjoy your coffee.
Krossener Straße 8
U5: Samariterstr. / Frankfurter Tor
T: 030 29 36 79 89
Open summer: 10-15 Tue-Sun (closed Mondays)
Open winter: 10-18.30 Tue-Sun (closed Mondays)
Admission: €1 (kids aged 1-2); €2 (kids aged 2+)