Clubs and stages, street food and underground art – it is the urban playground for steam punkers: The RAW Area at Warschauer Straße has become the (sub-)cultural center of Berlin Friedrichshain in many ways. Since we from Industriepalast Hostel are practically neighbors, we introduce you in our new mini-series Boiling RAW to the area’s history, future, and all the amazing stuff it has to offer. This week we present you with part 1 on the history and future of the area.
On top of the red brick gate in Revaler Straße the all-white magic letters invite you into one of the most exciting creative spaces of Berlin: RAW. You will not be able to take your eyes off the many artful paintings and tags on the clinker walls all over the place. What covers layer for layer the naked bricks here might well be one of the most impressive collections of contemporary street art. But strolling through the colorful jungle of spray paintings is only the beginning: On the western side of the area, right beyond Warschauer Straße, you will find Urban Spree. Calling itself a “(re)creative space” it combines studios, galleries, night clubs, exhibition rooms, a concert venue, a book and art shop, and a beer garden, all at once. They do all sorts of events, film screenings, and parties, as well as regular workshops and creative classes. You should definitely check it out!
Boulders and Jocks
Skaters were some of the first to conquer the RAW area in the checkered 1990s. Thus the huge indoor skatepark became a real institution straight away. More than a thousand square meters of concrete skating space with bowls, miniramps and Europe’s largest vetramp make the skatehall one of the best indoor locations in the country. If you are more driven up the wall, you should stop by at Der Kegel: In and around an old industrial tower an extraordinary climbing site has been erected, for all levels of skill and including a huge bouldering area. You can rent or purchase all gear on the site.
Food and Soul
Every Sunday, starting from noon, the hipsters of the neighboring boroughs start flocking in on RAW, and there is a good reason for that: the Berlin Village Market. The venue Neue Heimat on the eastern end of the area has given birth to what has become the capital’s most popular street food market within only a few months. We are talking live jazz, djs and great food for body and soul from all over the world. Right outside the gates of Neue Heimat the RAW Flea Market takes place at the same time. This is the best spot to do some fancy thrift shopping and get the outfit for the long nights at RAW. If you are hungry, Neue Heimat is not the only place for good food: All over the site you can find snacking options like burritos, burgers or a real Berlin-style currywurst.
And the newest highlight of RAW is right in the center of it all: Haubentaucher ist an oasis-like paradise with hammocks and beach chairs along a huge, warm-water pool under the open sky. You’ll get some easygoing techhouse music, a cocktail bar and a lounge area, as well as parties at nighttime. Admission is only 3€ and you will definitely find something other than the usual swimming pool experience.
A Temple for the Community
Back then, after the old Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk (State Train Repair Workshop) had been shut down in the 1990s, it all began with the RAW-Tempel. The resident’s organisation rented some of the old industrial buildings and jump-started a broad range of arts and sports opportunities for the neighborhood with a special focus on intercultural exchange. Today they offer more than ever, embracing open workshops, acrobatics, martial arts, theater, dancing and an attractive course program. If you are interested in the organization, check out their website, though it is in German only.
Those are just some of the numerous things to discover at RAW. From Industriepalast Hostel it is not even a 10 minute leisurely stroll to the area, so go and visit the most exciting creative space of Berlin! Part 3 will tell you everything about the unique nightlife at RAW – stay excited.
See you between street art and industrial ruins,
Blogger at Industriepalast Hostel
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.