How to Blend in With the Berlin Hipsters
Along with your rolled up skinny jeans, decorative horn rimmed glasses and Instagram account there are few items and behaviours specific to Berlin that will allow you to blend in so well the locals will be asking you for directions.
This fizzy energy drink is made from a Brazilian tea and tastes like a combination of fig and apple juice. Popular on it's own or topped with vodka or rum, no hipster outfit is complete without a bottle of Club Mate in one hand. Available from most cafes, restaurants, super markets and late shops (Spätkauf) a bottle will set you back 1€-2€. Don't forget you can get 8c back when you return the empty bottle to the special machines in supermarkets.
With smoking being accepted inside most cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs (some get uncomfortably hot and smokey even for the hardcore chain smokers amongst you) you have to make sure you're smoking the right cigarettes. If you can't roll, Marlboro Lights are of course tolerated among the cool crowd, but you really should teach yourself, ditch the tailors and pick up a pack of American Spirit, Lucky Strike or Pueblo tobacco. You should have learnt by now that rolling is far cheaper [cooler] and therefore leaves more money for tote bags and vegan burgers. Don't worry about cancer, we're all quitting next week.
Berlin is a relatively flat city and therefore very bike-friendly. As a fixie is the best way to spot a hipster on the move, it's probably no surprise that a bike is a must for any Berlin hipster. An establishment with more bikes than usual locked up out the front, marks most hipster approved hang outs. Preferably a second hand one purchased from Mauer Park Fleamarket, any style bike is acceptable to pedal from gallery to cafe to bar to recycled warehouse space/around the streets of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. If you're not in Berlin for long enough to buy a bike but still want to join in with the two wheeled fun, you can rent Dutch Style bikes for about 10€ a day from most hire shops.
Speak very little DeutschEven the German hipsters deny their mother tongue, bar a few key words (such as scheisse). This is particularly comforting for visiting hipsters as most Berliners under the age of fifty speak English very well, even if they say they only know a little bit. When in doubt start an encounter with “Enschuldigung, sprechen sie Englisch?” (Excuse me, do you speak English?) then you are free to ask or say whatever you want, without rudely assuming they speak English. Other key phrases include “Ich nehme ein Club Mate/bier, bitte” (I'll take a Club Mate/beer, please), “Dankeshön” (Thank you - for the beer), “Nein, danke” (No thanks - useful for turning away beggars or people handing out flyers) “Prost!” (Cheers - make sure you look the person in the eye or suffer seven years of bad sex) and “Hast du fuer?” (Do you have a light?).
As I mentioned above you can find many of your own hipster places in Kreuzberg and Freidrichshain. Some areas of Neukölln are also very alt-cool and for those interested in more gentrified establishments, a stroll through Prenzlauer Berg will not go amiss. In fact if you just stick to these eastern suburbs your scuffed shoes and kahki jackets will be welcomed amongst the locals.