A combination art gallery and hair salon, L'atelier Friseur is the brainchild of French hairstylist Julie Monin, who moved to Berlin five years ago from London. Three years ago, noticing a lack of distinct stylists in Berlin, Monin chose to open up a salon of her own in Kreuzberg, a neighborhood formerly overrun by cheap chop shops but she describes now as "really special." "People here may not have a lot of money, but they come here because they feel free," she adds.
Every three months Monin invites an artist to take over the salon's interior walls and paint or decorate it however they want, which is marked by a party with performances by some of Berlin's best electronic artists. As an international stylist fully immersed in the local arts scene, we had to ask Monin for her top city picks. Next time you're in Berlin, here's what she says not to miss.
Nea and Steffen run this coffee shop and café in Mitte. Try the great sandwiches made by Steffen, who takes care of all the food and always uses top notch ingredients. Nea, who's Brazilian, gives off a contagious energy and good mood that's just what you need in the morning to get your day started.
You'd never find this little bakery unless you were looking for it. Owners Claudio and Cora brew some of the best coffee in Kreuzberg. Have lunch or an early dinner and try their excellent paninis and italian charcuteries, pasta, salsa and wine. They can also do kitchen courses for groups.
I get all the books for the salon from Alexis, a French guy who owns this well curated arts book and magazine store just across the street from L'atelier Friseur.
A strange and lovely artsy bookstore that hosts events and exhibitions and gives a student discount. They are both a book seller and publisher of artists' books, monographs and three magazines, Archive Journal, The Exhibitionist, and No Order, Art in a Post-Fordist Society.
Stephan, who also runs the Weltempfänger Café, is the owner of this all-in-one Alexanderplatz destination. When I don't know what to do or where to go, I go to HBC because I'm sure to find friends, good food, interesting, crazy music or exhibitions. There's always something happening for all tastes.
Run by a small Italian family, this is Italian food like your grandmother makes it—if you have an Italian grandmother, that is. If you don't, come to Vai Mo for la cucina della mama, an authentic meal like you don't see in many other restaurants.
Saveur Champagne is my absolute favorite! The owner not only offers a great selection of wines, but he sells cheese and charcuterie, too. Come on Saturday or Sunday for the shops' weekend food market where you can pick up a wider selection of delicacies to snack on while you sip your wine.
A fun concept shop in the heart of Kreuzberg, A Loja fuses fashion, art and design. This is a great place to pick up something unique from a young new designer your friends back home will have never heard of.
When you go gallery hopping be sure to check out Appel Design, the best design gallery in the city. Then head to L'atelier Kunst Spiel Raum for conceptual art and work in progress. Galerie Thomas Fischer is a small, smart gallery with great shows and an ideal location.