Sunday, January 16, 2011

bargain basement beers

so the karstadt is your german department store, a fancy-ish Macy's if you will, that has your household goods, clothing, whatever. in german class, you learn the term "Kaufhof" the building where you buy things. i usually regard the karstaft and its sister stores with the same bland indifference i give a bloomingdales: you only go there if you really have to.
but i recently discovered a few things that quickly changed my mind! first, every kaufhof has a ridiculous supermarket inside. like, dean and deluca on cocaine meets whole foods in a saks fifth avenue. it's insane. a deli counter that would make my brother blush, sparkling organic produce, a hot sausage grill with bratwurst for 2Euro, kilometers of yogurt aisles, an international aisle that even has an "american" section with doritos and peanut butter. pretty much anything you could ever want or imagine. it's a guilty pleasure those secret supermarkets.
but the karstadt at hermannplatz in neukolln has another hidden gem: a pub. in the bargain basement, amidst bins of extra large brassieres adn underwear, leftover shirts from last season, a quite wonderful classic german style kneipe, a circular counter thingie in the middle of the store with a clientele strictly over 65, a few of whom are usually asleep over their drinks.
the bartender is a chipper old lady who blasts boney M mega mixes and the like to drown out the department store muzak, and eagerly invites you to friday happy hour! starts at 12 noon! only 1.5Euro beer!  i'm surprised there aren't more bored husbands, sick of waiting/watching their wives shop and tryon outfits. there are a few casino machines in one corner, a few tables where last time, octogenarians were eagerly swigging screw top mini bottles of champagne, there's a wheelchair accessible corner counter, free pretzels in plastic cups, what else could you ask for?