NotMsParker on Berlin’s best-loved Market Hall…
Designed by architect Hermann Blankenstein, the Markthalle IX is a beautiful example of Berlin’s utilitarian urban architecture. One of fourteen such market halls in total – all built in the 19th century and strewn across the city in an effort to sanitize and organize the previous outdoor markets – when it opened in 1891, the hall was filled with 300 stands offering everything from herring to candles to bread and buttons.
By 1945, it was one of the only three remaining, the rest smashed to pieces by Allied bombs. For the next few decades it more or less languished, eventually playing half-hearted host to a couple of low budget supermarkets. Plans were slated to sell the building to one of the supermarket chains, who wanted to demolish the entire structure and replace it with shopping/underground-car-park combo.
The building was saved from the wrecking ball in 2011 thanks to the intervention of three entrepreneurs – Florian Niedermeier, Bernd Maier and Nikolaus Driessen – who persuaded the Berlin Senate to let them re-open it as a marketplace and breathe new life into the neighbourhood.
Employing architect Peter Lemburg to re-touch the interior, the current iteration of the market hall has 2,850m² of shop space (including the two discount supermarkets which moved in years ago but which only take up 450m² today) along with several food stands that follow strict principles of sustainability, small-scale-business and direct contact between producer and customer.
Every Friday and Saturday (10am-6pm) at the Wochenmarkt, you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables from Berlin-Brandenburg and neighbouring regions, as well as enjoy a coffee, late breakfast or lunch at the permanent Kantine Neun (Monday to Saturday, 12 – various times depending on day; see link).
Thursday evenings are for many punters the most exciting though, thanks to the weekly Street Food Market that’s been taking place weekly since the end of 2013. Although street food has been a trend in London and other cities for a while, this is the first regular Berlin event offering an international cornucopia of dishes: Käsespätzle from Allgäu, Ceviche from Peru, and FuFu from Nigeria, not to mention British pies, Thai tapioka dumplings and Mexican tacos.
In 2012 Markthalle IX also opened their own house brewery, Brauerei Heidenpeters, which is located in the former butcher cellars and concocts, among other fantastic drinks, a delicious ginger beer based on their own recipe.
There are also regular events, such as a HandMade SuperMarkt selling locally produced artisanal goods, and the four-times-yearly Naschmarkt (“Sweet Tooth Market”) – a feast of all things sinful and sugary. The most recent offering from this innovation friendly hall is a Frühstückmarkt (Breakfast Market), happening every 3rd Sunday of the month (from 10am) and featuring breakfasts from around the globe.
And if their latest plans to expand and take over the historic Viktoria Speicher (the 19th-century granary and the only city-owned property with direct access to the River Spree still left in this part of Berlin) should take off, Markthalle IX will be soon selling their own produce – coffee from their own roastery, Wurst from the in-house sausage factory and even more beer – as well.
All the forthcoming events at the Market Hall IX – both regular and special – are announced on two slightly retro-looking blackboards hanging inside the main hall at the Pücklerstrasse entrance, and you can keep up to date via their website also.
U1 Görlitzer Bhf oo Schlesisches Tor
Open: Mon-Sat, various times (see website for details)