In between unassuming apartment buildings and grocery stores in Berlin’s famous countercultural Kreuzberg District, one of the city’s best kept secrets lies hidden. The otherworldly Black Lodge Bar recreates the famous eponymous location from David Lynch’s and Mark Frost’s seminal TV Show “Twin Peaks” and as such is a pilgrimage site for cinephiles (or telephiles?) from around the world.
Yet, just like its namesake, finding your way to the Black Lodge isn’t as straightforward as you would think. Read on for everything you need to know about visiting this amazing place.
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What the hell is the Black Lodge?
The fact that you’ve stumbled across this article suggests you’re well aware of Twin Peaks, arguably David Lynch’s and Mark Frost’s magnum opus. In case you’re not, let me give you a quick spoiler-free recap.
The show which originally ran from 1990-1991 (with a revival in 2017) follows FBI Agent Dale Cooper as he tries to unravel the mystery of the murder of prom queen Laura Palmer in the small town of Twin Peaks, Washington.
He soon realizes that the ostensibly peaceful atmosphere of the community harbours some darker secrets and that in Twin Peaks nothing is as it seems. The Black Lodge is part of that underlying darkness – an extra-dimensional place populated by some unsavoury characters which can only be found by the initiated.
Due to the unique and recognizable appearance of the place, it’s long become part of the collective cultural memory. Even if you’ve never seen an episode of Twin Peaks, you’ll probably recognize the imagery from a host of homages, rip-offs and parodies (Simpsons, anyone?).
How to find the Black Lodge Bar in Berlin
Hard facts first: The Black Lodge Bar is located in Sanderstraße No. 6 in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, with the closest closest U-Bahn Station being Schönleinstraße, which is served by the U8 Train.
Just like the fictional Black Lodge, the namesake bar will likely only be found by people actively looking for it, so be prepared to walk right past it due to the completely unassuming exterior.
As a matter of fact, the outside of the building doesn’t mention the name of the bar anywhere and the lettering of “Mittelpunkt Gaststätte” over the door actively diverts the attention suggesting a generic rustic restaurant (and a seemingly abandoned one, no less).
Don’t be discouraged, though, as once you open the black door with the number 253 embossed on it, you’ll leave Berlin and step into another dimension.
What to expect of the Black Lodge Bar
Once you enter, you’ll be greeted by a subdued atmosphere of low lighting and ethereal music (the former being the reason for the bad quality of the photographs; sorry about that).
The main room of the bar is expectedly clad in red velvet curtains while the floor is decorated in the distinct zig-zagging black-and-white pattern of the Black Lodge. Black Leather couches are grouped around small tables holding candles. Apart from some red spotlights on the ceiling, these provide the only lighting in the bar.
The smoker’s room past the toilets reminded me of the interior of the Great Northern Hotel, although the wainscoting might just be a remainder of the former restaurant located here. Fittingly, Twin Peaks Episodes are projected onto a screen in this room.
The music dripping gently out of the speakers would fit into the Show as well, alternating between ambient Badalamenti-esque soundscapes, Smooth Jazz and Julee-Cruise like Dreampop that wouldn’t be out of place in the Roadhouse.
The only thing missing from the fictional location was some Greek statuary, although some pictures near the bar depict one of the Venus figurines from the TV Show as well as Laura Palmer and a police sketch of BOB, so I’m willing to let that one slide;-).
When to visit the Black Lodge Bar
Something that distinctly added to the atmosphere was that I had the place almost completely to myself. I’ve talked to the barkeeper for a bit and he told me that the place tends to be packed in winter but is usually empty in the summer when people prefer to socialize outside.
Therefore, if you want the place to be as atmospheric as possible, you should drop by in the summer or come as soon as it opens. If you prefer some company, do the exact opposite. The bar is open from Tuesday to Saturday, usually from 8PM to 2AM. Make sure to check the times in their Google Profile before going.
As far as drinks go, you can expect reasonably-priced craft beers as well as a big selection of cocktails, long drinks, Whisk(e)y, Rum, Tequila and some soft drinks. Unfortunately there are no snacks, so don’t expect Cherry Pie on the menu (it wouldn’t be as good as in the R&R anyway).
The only thematic Cocktail seems to be the Black and Lodgy but I went with a craft beer, so I’ve no idea what that contains. No coffee, either – maybe there was a fish in the percolator.
Is the Black Lodge Bar worth visiting?
As a huge longtime fan of Twin Peaks I was immediately enamored with the place imagining myself in conversation with the Man from Another Place and being handed cryptic messages to decipher. The only thing that would make the place even cooler would have been some more thematic items on the menu. I would have loved to gobble up some Garmonbozia.
Even if you (or the people you’re with) are not a fan of the show, it’s just a cool place to hang out at and as the setup willingly prevents huge numbers of walk-in customers, the atmosphere is bound to be laid-back. If there are other people, you’ll likely be in the company of other fans of the show, giving ample opportunity for all-night conversations.
Thus, if you’ve even the tiniest fondness for Twin Peaks, don’t miss the Black Lodge Bar on your next visit to Berlin! Chances are, you’ll even find your way back outside to the real world.