Stories


Dresden in 48 hours: Bar hoppin’, scene spillin’
Nadja Sayej
2010-12-01

Schokoladenbar, DresdenIf you can get a weekend away in Dresden, do it. Bordering on the Czech Republic with a population of over 500,000, Dresden is not just another quaint small town outside of Berlin. Hundreds of indie, underground bars line the small streets in Chopin’s favourite city.

Bar hopping Dresden, Germany, has tripled in size. Once a mere 100 bars on the small street of Alaunstraße, over 300 bars now spill onto the nearby Louisenstraße and Görlitzer Straße.

That’s not to say they’re all pubs.

From heavy metal bars to cozy indie rock havens, there are distinct scenes in Dresden – and the bar scene proves it. Here are the top five places to go in Dresden, whether you’re traveling for business, pleasure, or to visit your boyfriend’s parents at Christmas.

 

 
Katy's Garage, DresdenTHE BAR: KATY'S GARAGE

The scene: Hillbilly, greaser 1950s  
The look: A crisp, plaid shirt with dark jeans rolled up  at the bottom and black boots, cat’s eye glasses, tattooed arms, dyed black hair and Elvis quaff.
The lowdown: Upon walking into this garage-cum-bar, you’ll notice tables out front are made of tires. Everything has a Grease vibe, from the surly door men to the boppin’ soul tunes. But there’s a soft touch, too. Rose petals are scattered about the floor. They also serve bowls of tampons and hairspray in the women’s washroom.
Shelve beside: Your tattoo artist’s best friend, Mercedes Benz hubcaps, Amy Winehouse.
The deets: Alaunstraße 48, http://katysgarage.de
Rating: 7/10. A blast from the past.

 

THE BAR: NEUSTÄDTER GELICHTER

The scene: Punk scene
The look: Rain boots and hooded jackets, shaved heads, leather jackets, bicycle.
The lowdown: A big bonfire outside crowns this palace of culture. Home to daily art, theatre, comedy, music and spoken word shows, the Neustädter Gelichter is more of a clubhouse for the creative community in Dresden.
Shelve beside: Community center for cool kids, Saved By the Bell.
The deets: Alaunstraße 36-40, http://www.neustaedter-gelichter.de, http://scheunecafe.de, http://photokiste.com
Rating: 8/10. Variety is the spice of life.

 

Little Creates, DresdenTHE BAR: LITTLE CREATURES

The scene: 24-year-old biology students after two sleepless nights cramming for exams, now splurging with their roommates and their girlfriends.
The look: Hoodies, jeans, digital cameras taking haphazard group shots of friends who see each other at least twice per week.
The lowdown: There is a huge paper-mache cartoon shark hanging from the wall. That should give you an idea that this crowd is into comic books. Very cozy and warm, casual.
Shelve beside: University yearbooks, backpacks with patches on it, study abroad books.
The deets: Louisenstraße 45, http://www.littlecreatures.de
Rating: 7/10. Super cozy

 

THE BAR: THALIA  

The scene: Serious filmmakers posing in berets, philosophy students talking about reality, artists, poets and Guy Maddin fans.
The look: 23 shades of black cover the bar from top to bottom, best to bust out the Goth garb.
The lowdown: Their slogan: “Coffee, cigarettes and cinema.” Literally. Walk past the quaint bar to the back room where a 75-seat theatre which screens new and old shorts and features three times daily for 4-5 EUR per film. Forget blockbuster films, this is where the local film scene shines.
 The deets: Görlitzer Straße 6, http://thalia-dresden.de
Rating: 10/10. Innovation central.

 

THE BAR: ZILLE CAFÉ BAR

The scene: Robert Smith fans, the Smiths fans, Belle and Sebastian fans, everyone in flannel, frilled collars and corduroy.
The lowdown: Victorian-era striped walls with sepia photos and steel teacups sitting on side tables, a dance lounge at the back with Portugese wine specials starting at 4.20 EUR.
Shelve beside: Art opening hangovers, love letters from strangers on cocktail napkins, perfume, whispering secrets.
The deets: Görlitzer Straße 5, http://www.zille-dresden.de
Rating: 9/10. Super romantic and sweet.

 

HOW TO GET HERE

By bus: The Berlin Linien Bus offers a return, two-hour ride for 32 EUR. https://www.berlinlinienbus.de

By train: The DB Bahn offers a comfy, two-hour train ride starting at 19 EUR. http://www.bahn.de

 

WHERE TO STAY

The Radisson Blu, right in the city core, offers a chic, crisp view of the city, with rooms starting from 49 EUR a night.
http://www.radissonblu.com

 

Katy's Garage, DresdenTRAM DEETS

To get to the bar district by tram in Dresden, take tram 7 or 8 to Luisenstraße or take tram 10 to Alaunplatz.
www.dvb.de

 

NADJA SAYEJ, host of ArtStars*, writes about art for artUS, Border Crossings, C magazine, Canadian Art, the Globe and Mail, the New York Times and was splashed the cover of Eye Weekly as “the next Jeanne Beker.” She was called “Center Stage in Toronto in an Art in America cover story. She is a columnist for enRoute and is busting her ass in Berlin, Germany, and surrounding countries. Follow the adventurous fun on Twitter or her ever-popular Facebook fanpage or even on LinkedIn, as well.


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