Berlin Preview: Scene

Berlin is said to have more stretches of canal than Venice.

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LIFE'S A BEACH: Berlin is said to have more stretches of canal than Venice. The fact that most of them run through industrial wastelands puts this statistic into perspective slightly. But with true Berliner creativity, during the summer, even the most unpromising waterways are converted into hip beach bars and outdoor clubs. Munich may offer beer gardens, but Berlin has decided to turn itself into a beachside city.

For a taste of the wild Nineties, check out Kiki Blofeld (48/49 Köpenickerstrasse; With a billiard table under the trees and chandeliers hanging from branches, this is improvised Berlin at its most authentic. A concrete bunker of a boathouse serves as a nightclub when the sun goes down.

On the opposite bank of the river, Spree Bar 25 (25 Holzmarktstrasse; is a rather bizarre mix of Wild West ranch and children's playground, with a cinema and circus thrown in for good measure. If you want to party nonstop all weekend (not uncommon in this particular bar) you can even arrive Friday and leave Sunday by checking into one of the wooden chalets tucked away in under the trees.

The newly renovated Strandbar Mitte (3 Monbijoustrasse; might not be quite so hip, but being within walking distance from the IMG catwalks, it's a good spot to collapse in a deck chair.

But the traditional favorite for cool Berliners is Club der Visionäre (1 Am Flutgraben; in a tumble-down wooden shack on the river in the hip district of Kreuzberg.

— Damien McGuinness

Berlin is enjoying a summer explosion of blockbuster photo shows — not so surprising in a city bursting with photographic talent and with a strong tradition of taking photography seriously, rather than treating it as a poor relation of other visual arts. One fascinating exhibition at the Helmut Newton Foundation focuses on the bad boys of the industry, the paparazzi. Tracking the evolution of the genre from the early 20th century to today, the show presents 350 prints by Helmut Newton, Edward Quinn, Weegee, Jean Pigozzi, Ron Galella and others. The exhibition asks: When does a paparazzi shot cross the line from intrusive sensationalism to creative portrait?
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