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How To Become A Hipster In Berlin
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How To Become A Hipster In Berlin

Picture of Elisa Settembre
Updated: 11 October 2016
Whether you come from a hillbilly farm in Australia, a high-ranking college in the UK, a little, colorful village in Southern Europe or have decided to abandon your career in finance along with its shirts and ties, here are a few integration tips that will hopefully help you to wander incognito in the Berlin hip triangle without the sore-thumb feeling of the cultural newbie.

Wear Black

Easy-peasy. Let black become your best friend.

And no, not all blacks are the same. The hipster black is structured, deep, crinkle-free (creases are generally allowed only on T-shirts), generally more expensive than it looks like and worn in a passive-aggressive manner, paired with sunglasses and some (black, obviously) leather items.

Bags Are Out

Why would anyone wear a bag when there are fabric totes and backpacks? And worrying about pickpockets is so mainstream.

Drink Rather Than Eat

Self-explanatory, with a preference for Club Mate, artisanal espresso brewed by a fully trained barista, freshly squeezed juice with concentrated ginger shot and water (needless to say, only allowed in glass bottles).

If You Really Want To Eat, Then Eat Bio

Be a strong supporter of the view that bio isn’t all that more expensive than non-bio, and that those who don’t bio-eat are just part of the lazy, careless crowd. Profess yourself as a vegan, power-food lover, are against plastic containers and are an aficionado of local, organic and ethically produced food.

The only justification that could bring you to cross the threshold of a supermarket is the drink Bionade (particularly if its Kräuter flavor).

Tattoos And Clean Faces

Tattoo studios in Kreuzberg-Neukölln are something like nail bars in London. You get in, have a brief exchange with your designated artist about how cool and emotionally filling it is to live in Berlin, get your tattoo done and get out.

The trick is usually to pair a clean face (the only makeup allowed is vegan eyeliner and red matte lipstick) with as many tattoos as you can afford and your epidermis can reasonably support.

Get A Basic Conversational Culture

Never-failing topics are dynamic servers, documentaries (the weirdest, the better), sound engineering, installations, that friend of a friend of a friend who is hosting an evening, yoga-no-sorry-Grinberg, independent artists and anything vintage.

Oh, and wear a bored attitude. Just because everything is so boring, and you are so above emotions.

You Don’t Generally Walk

You have the innate ability to appear in specific cult spots, such as St. Oberholtz, the Turkish Market in Kreuzberg, independent Kinos and any café mapped on the Coffee Map.

When hipsters move around, most of them seem to privilege fixie bikes (but some of the old-school bunch still totally go for vintage, basket-equipped, sexy Dutch bicycles).

Say No To A Smartphone, But Yes To A Mac

And don’t wonder why, just adapt. Pay your weekly visits to the Apple Mecca, talk coding with your peers and master the art of drinking a cappuccino over the course of three hours, essentially pretending to be writing your memoir or editing a new cult underground video while actually browsing Facebook.

Be Aware That Learning German Is Mostly Unnecessary

That is, as long as you live within your Kiez, mix with other hipsters (who doesn’t want to spend time with like-minded people?) and are endlessly opinionated about everything*.