DJ İpek's tips for Kreuzberg
Tips for your trip to Berlin from queer Kreuzberg by İpek İpekçioğlu
İpek İpekçioğlu is one of the best-known faces of Berlin's LGBTIQ community. Here she reveals that which she particularly loves about queer Kreuzberg.
Experience the Kreuzberg atmosphere
Kreuzberg 36 is the south-eastern part of Kreuzberg. It's called that because of its old postcode, ‘SO 36’, which has long since fallen into disuse. Kreuzberg 36 has a certain reputation: it is considered rough, open, and honest. Maybe some people are afraid of Kreuzberg and think that there's drug dealing, that you see criminals, and many people of Turkish, Arabic and Persian origin. And I must admit that when I moved from Wedding to Kreuzberg over 32 years ago, I also had my doubts. But now I ask myself: doubts about what, exactly? Today I realise that Kreuzberg 36 is also a place where the alternative queer, and also the feminist scene, are most at home. This makes Kreuzberg 36 one of the most diverse, queerest places for me, full of alternative culture. I appreciate its cultural diversity as much as its gender diversity. I don't claim that Kreuzberg 36 is the ultimate paradise, but it is still one of the places in Berlin where queer people can hang out freely.
Streets in and around Oranienstraße
U Kottbusser Tor and U Görlitzer Bahnhof
Dance to music from the Middle East at Gayhane in SO36.
Kreuzberg 36 has long been defined by the club venue SO36. Events have been taking place here for more than 40 years, including many queer ones. One of them is the Gayhane Party, which has also been in existence for more than 24 years. I am the resident DJ there. Gayhane is home to the HomOriental dance floor. Every month, queer BIPoCs (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) and others who like music from the Middle East come together to enjoy, among others, Arabic, Turkish, Persian, or Kurdish music. Although there are also performances, Gayhane is in essence a dance party. SO36 also plays everything from techno, pop, rock, indie to hip-hop. SO36 is a real community place and is run by a collective.
Oranienstraße 190, 10999 Berlin-Kreuzberg
U Kottbusser Tor
Getting to know the Flint* community at Oya
The bar Oya has been around for about three years. It is also run by a queer collective of PoCs and non-PoCs. Last year Oya organised the Flint* (women, lesbian, inter, non-binary, and trans people) Pride. On an ongoing basis, they are socio-politically engaged and are also very active within the Scene. In addition to the bar, they organise great events and concerts. Oya is more than just a bar.
Mariannenstraße 6, 10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg
U Kottbusser Tor
Kreuzberg 36 is also home to Roses, one of the city's best-known gay bars. For more than 25 years, mainly gay men have been meeting at Roses on Oranienstraße, in the middle of Kreuzberg 36. Anyone visiting the city should stop by there!
Oranienstraße 187, 10999 Berlin-Kreuzberg
U Kottbusser Tor
At Hermannplatz, where Kreuzberg and Neukölln meet, there is Ficken 3000, often called "Figen Abla" in Turkish. That's a Turkish woman's name - not everyone needs to know that we're actually talking about Ficken 3000! Most sex clubs in Berlin are only open to gay men. Not so Ficken 3000, which also organises a lesbian night every now and then. It's really something special!
Urbanstraße 70, 10967 Berlin-Kreuzberg
Although strictly speaking Jane Doe is no longer in Kreuzberg, but in the neighbouring area north of Neukölln, it still feels like Kreuzberg. I like going there, because the Jane Doe team always tries to include queer BIPoCs, especially immigrants, in the programme. In reality, Jane Doe is a restaurant with a bar, but there are always smaller events being hosted there, with DJs or live bands.
On Club Culture Day, the burlesque performance group, Queerberg - in which queer refugees from the Middle East participate - perform there. In addition, the food tastes great, as do the fancy cocktails.
Pannierstraße 12, 12047 Berlin-Neukölln
Back in Kreuzberg, but a bit further west, there's Gretchen, a concert and performance space that also hosts DJ events. On occasion, my band and I have performed there. Gretchen is a friendly place and is very queer friendly. Some evenings there are FLINT* nights, or great lesbian or gay parties.
Obentrautstraße 19-21, 10963 Berlin-Kreuzberg