Henne

In a city where the only constant is that everything is constantly changing, you have to respect an establishment that has not only survived 100 years, but remains so busy that reservations are always strongly recommended.

Is it the food or the romance of how the bar-turned-restaurant’s history intertwines with the city of Berlin that appeals to its customers? Very simply, it’s both. The specialty of the house, milk broiled chicken, is one of the best in Berlin, but there’s an extra allure to sinking your teeth into a half-chicken some 15 feet from where the Berlin Wall once stood to create half-cities.

To separate the Alt-Berliner Wirtshaus, these days also known as Henne, from the history of 20th Century Berlin is like ordering the chicken without one of the side dishes; it’s only half the experience. If thoughts of Berlin’s Golden ‘20s and the Weimar Republic or Cold War intrigue don’t give you a little thrill—and if they don’t, why are you in Berlin?—go order a halbes hähnchen from an Imbiss. If it’s atmosphere you’re after, this is where you’ll find locals alongside the tourists, and all indulging in a little make believe time travel.

Henne’s décor, like the dusty bottles that line its ledges, appears barely touched since even before Marlene Dietrich first sang “Falling In Love Again.” In between the countless pairs of antlers and curiosities mounted on just about every surface, however, are reminders that time, in fact, did carry on, or at least until the mid-60s. Photos of a newly built Berlin Wall running directly outside the restaurant’s windows are scattered throughout and a signed photograph of John F. Kennedy is still proudly displayed at the bar, a relic from when then-owner Konrad Litfin personally invited Kennedy to come by during his summer visit to Berlin in 1963. Kennedy might have called himself a Berliner that summer, but never made it to the Wirtshaus, having sent the photo as something of a consolation prize.

As for the marks of modern times, since the Wall went down the once blocked Biergarten has been reopened. Getting a seat at one of the outdoor tables can take some effort, but it’s worth it for a summer evening that could be happening nowhere else than Berlin.

– Melissa Frost

For more information on Henne visit: www.Henne-berlin.de

 

THE SPRING ISSUE

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