I'm not sure if you've noticed but there's something strange going on in Berlin—suddenly cars and apartment windows are adorned with German flags and there are thousands of TVs pushed onto the streets blaring out at all times of the afternoon and evening. That's right, it's World Cup (or Weltmeisterschaft (WM)) time again and, in Berlin, there's simply no avoiding it. If you're not a fan of football then it's going to to be a very long summer for you.
Here are a few football related words for you to brush up on. Most important is probably the ability to shout, 'GOOOAAALLL' in German when the German team hopefully score. I'm crossing my fingers (or pressing my thumbs) for an England win but, failing that, I'll be shouting for Germany.
Where to watch the WM in Berlin
Even if you're not into football it's easy to get swept up in the craze of the city—to find yourself at 2 in the afternoon outside your local Späti, beer in hand. There's something very social about World Cup time so get out there grab yourself a beer or a wurst and enjoy the summer of football. Need a helping hand to figure out where to go? Here's a few suggestions, but really you can just wander the street and find somewhere pretty quickly.
If the sun is shining there's nowhere better than a beer garden to watch the football. Here are a few of my favourites.
In the middle of Tiergarten, sitting by a lake surrounded by trees. I can't think of anywhere nicer to shout at men in shorts kicking a round thing. And if your team is losing and you just need to get away from it all then you can always rent a boat and row yourself out to the middle of the lake to sulk.
A massive Biergarten in Prenzlauer Berg, it shouldn't be too hard to get a seat here, except maybe when Germany is playing. They have a pretty good play area if you also want to bring your children.
This Biergarten is nestled into the Berghain complex so you can be close to the hulking bunker without actually having to queue up for hours and be wearing the right clothes. What's even better is that Schiller Burger provides the food here and it's pretty damn tasty.
In the middle of Wedding in a Hof surrounding a huge tree, this is one of my favourite beer gardens. They also brew their own beer and make tasty flammkuchen so you're in for a treat.
World Cup Venues
There are a variety of places set up specifically to watch the football, such as the Fan Mile. I can't tell you whether it's any good because I have a hatred of both being boxed in with a big crowd and Unter den Linden. But there are a couple of other places that I can recommend.
As you get closer to the finals (especially if Germany is still in the running) this place gets more and more packed. There is something nice about being surrounded by people shouting for their different teams. Despite it's large size, the Kulturbrauerei manages to maintain a nice atmosphere.
Situated in the RAW area of Revaler Str. there is a lot going on in this area and it's worth having a walk around before or after the game. There are stands set up for the game but if it doesn't look appealing then you can always pop to the Urban Spree biergarten.
Did you say swimming pool?
That's right, you can even watch a match from the water. There's something pretty indulgent about lounging in a pool on a hot day watching the football. And if the summer is going to stay as hot as our spring was then this may be the only place that you want to be.
Just next door to the 11 Freunde WM Quartier in the RAW quarter is Haubentaucher, a club with a pool. I've only ever peered through the fence when it first opened so I can't tell you what it's like but it's certainly on my list of places to visit this summer.
I came here last World Cup during a Germany quarter final when it was over 30 degrees out. I queued for 3 hours before the game. It wasn't fun. However, it is nice swimming in a pool in the Spree while watching football. Just don't go when Germany is playing and it's boiling outside.
That's it from me. Got any more recommendations? Comment below, I'd love to hear them. Below are a few more words for your night (or day) out... and the morning after, if your favourite team wins. Enjoy the summer of football!