Pub grub and oysters – Five restaurateurs work together on the embankment terrace of Berlin’s Schiffbauerdamm

The five from Schiffbauerdamm (from left to right): Michael Pankow, Sam Lewin, Joern Brinkmann, Marc Niederhuebner and Fabian Granown © 2020, photo: Florian Kottlewski

Berlin, Germany (Weltexpress). Since the nineties, the Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin-Mitte has been transformed into a culinary promenade. One restaurant borders on the next, and the spectrum ranges from the down-to-earth beer pub to fine French cuisine. The waiters march stoically through the on going traffic to serve their guests on the banks of the Spree, across the street.

For a few months now, however, people have been sitting here undisturbed by a roaring road, as a construction site is preventing through traffic. The porous bank has been renovated for two years. Now it’s almost done. The result is a new fortification of the Spree; together with a continuous railing, the financing of which has been taken over by the local restaurateurs. For this, the innkeepers on this street, all of them men, have teamed up as “The Five from the Schiffbauerdamm”.

They represent the eastern end of the Schiffbauerdamm: 226 meters between “Murphy’s Irish Pub” on the corner of Friedrichstrasse and the Italian “Vaporetto” under the S-Bahn bridge.

The location couldn’t be better: you can get here not only by any public transport, but even by excursion steamer. The Berlin Ensemble and Deutsches Theater, Friedrichstrasse and “Museum Island” are very close by.

In normal times, the gastronomy on Schiffbauerdamm lives from tourists who enjoy themselves here – some with oysters and candlelight, others with Guinness and live music. But since the tourists are now absent due to corona, “The five from the Schiffbauerdamm” advertise for local visitors. “We are very much looking forward to being able to offer our Berlin neighbours a central and beautiful contact point for relaxation with the new terrace”, says Jörn Brinkmann from the “Ständige Vertretung”.

In “Ganymed” the waiters tell you the changeable history of this neighbourhood: The Schiffbauerdamm has had its name since 1738, when two boat builders settled here. Shipyards shaped the area until distinguished social classes moved into the so-called Friedrich-Wilhelm-Stadt in the 19th century. Several theatres and the Circus Renz opened their doors nearby, so that in the “Golden Twenties” theatre addicts and those who wanted to amuse themselves, artists and intellectuals were romping around.

The “Ganymed”, which has borne its name since 1931, is the oldest restaurant on the site. During GDR times, artists such as Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill and Helene Weigel met here, but also East Berlin politicians and Allied employees.

After the turn when moving the capital to Berlin was decided, the “Permanent Representation” moved from the Rhine to the Spree. Their owners opened an Italian restaurant next door, today’s “Vaporetto”. And also the “Ganymed” expanded strongly and now operates the neighbouring “Brechts”, the piano bar “Vincent” and the wine bar “Bar á Vin”.

The result is a wide culinary spectrum on Schiffbauerdamm. The “Ständige Vertretung” known as “StäV” offers hearty dishes such as the Rhineland national dish “Himmel un Ääd” or Eisbein with pea puree. “Berliner Republik” and “Murphy’s Irish Pub” have solid foodie foundations for their umpteen types of beer. The “Brechts”, which operates as a steak house, convinces with excellent spare ribs and rack of lamb. At “Ganymed” they serve refinements like a salad with octopus and fennel, the “Vaporetto” is known for delicious homemade Tiramisu.

In any case, the five from Schiffbauerdamm want to continue their cooperation. Next they plan a gastronomic festival for those who like to stroll and saunter along the banks of the Spree – certainly something to look forward to.


Based on a text by Antje Rößler in WELTEXPRESS Deutsch.

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