Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Berliner AK 07

Berliner AK 07 0-0 VSG Altglienicke
Poststadion, Berlin

Date of visit: Sunday 18th February 2018
Ground number: 4
League: Regionalliga Nordost
Ticket: €10
Programme: n/a
Beer: €4
Attendance: 284

Poststadion - Home of Berliner AK 07

Waking up on Saturday morning and actually making the hotel breakfast this time was a good start. The task was to get out and walk around the city. We had a lot of making up to do after the Friday write-off (see previous post HERE).

I still felt rough so for the first time in my life I was experiencing a true 2 day hangover. It was nowhere near as bad as Friday so a couple of litres of Starbucks filter coffee went some way to sorting me out. We set off walking from the hotel to what remains of the Berlin wall and then planned to head towards the Brandenburg gate, the holocaust memorial and checkpoint charlie. The usual tourist stuff.

The Berlin Wall

Brandenburg Gate

The memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe

Checkpoint Charlie
After another litre of Starbucks we were crossing the river and google decided to tell us there was a microbrewery nearby. This was the perfect opportunity to test my current hangover status. The place was Brahhaus Georgbraeu and it was excellent. A little pricey but friendly staff and excellent beer. We had a couple and so far so good. I was back in the game.

Test passed. A great little beer.

Georgbraeu, Berlin
The plan for the evening was always to watch the FA Cup game between Manchester United and Huddersfield then go on an organised pub crawl. I'd done quite a few of these crawls across Europe in the past and was intent on choosing a tour which wasn't full of American frat boys. I was also still a bit delicate so didn't want to go crazy. My plan was to slowly enjoy a few beers and ignore all the free shots.

We went for the 'Anti-pub crawl: Alternative Berlin Tour' and it was great! The idea is they take you to smaller underground bars which tourists typically don't know about and in small, intimate groups. Despite a little lack of organisation they kept their promise. The tour cost €12 and includes free entry to all bars/clubs and a free shot between each place. We arrived at the meeting point at 21:00 and would you believe it...Dark Bar. I immediately went back into hangover mode as the smell of stale beer from the carpet hit my nostrils and it took me about an hour to drink my first beer. I would have been a bit quicker but tequila bar man 'accidentally' tipped the first pint all over my trousers (beige) and shirt. Cheers mate. The first stop on the tour (and every stop after that come to think of it) required public transport. A little annoying but I suspected it might happen and we had bought day tickets earlier (€6).

It's quite hard to put the first venue into words. It was basically a room surrounded in graffiti ridden concrete with a ping pong table in the middle. There was a bar selling bottles of amazing beer from a local microbrewery (I opted for the weisenbier) and a dj in the corner. You would never ever know from the outside that this is a bar. It was just a normal doorway. After a quick google search I can tell you it's called Dr Pong. Basically it consists of friendly people drinking, listening to the music and playing 'around the world' on the ping pong table. Amazing.

I'm not usually a fan but this was a great weizen bier

Dr Pong, Berlin

Unfortunately this is where my photos ended as it was on my instagram story only but we then visited a craft beer bar just by the Berlin wall where I had a great pale ale and met a Chinese man who not only was a top manager of Lego but also had plenty of stories (and pictures) of Prague brothels. As you do.

Another tram journey and we ended up in the absinthe bar. This was pretty hardcore as far as absinthe bars go as they were selling 90% stuff and doing the whole spoon, sugar and fire shabang. Naturally I stayed on the beer. We then met up with the other group and entered a club. I have no idea what it was but the music was acceptable, the dance floor was friendly, we had a good night and were in bed for 3am. Success. If you're in Berlin I really do recommend this tour.

My cautious approach to the pub crawl paid off and we were up bright and early on Sunday for breakfast and a taste of German regional league football. I had my heart set on Berliner FC Dynamo but unfortunately their match was called off so we settled for Berliner AK 07. It was quite handy that their stadium (Poststadion) was located about 5 minutes walk from the main train station I had my train to Prague from there later in the day so planned to put my luggage in a locker and head to the football. The locker cost €4 and I had planned my remaining euros perfectly so I wouldn't need to use an atm. Imagine my horror when after putting the money in and taking the key I realised I had left my hat, scarf and gloves in the bag. Idiot. I refused to pay another €4 to open the locker and close it again so stubbornly went to the stadium without protection from the -2 temperatures. This was a mistake. It was bloody freezing.

Berliner AK 07 is a very strange football club. It's actually a multi cultural football club with ties to Turkey. They had a relationship with Turkish club Ankaraspor and even took their name and kit but despite reverting to their original name and colours they still have a Turkish fan base. There were two Turkish players on the pitch for this game and they stood out massively as both sides wasted chances to eventually settle for a 0-0 draw.

Berliner AK 07

It was a lot colder than it looks

Berliner AK 07 'ultras'....mainly Turkish

Poststadion, Berlin

One thing that surprised me given the size of the club and the measly 284 attendance was that you couldn't use real money for food and drink. You had to go to a cash desk and purchase club currency. I assume it's some kind of tax dodge but it was an absolute pain in the backside. You even had to pay 50 cents (in fake currency) for a deposit on a plastic beer cup, Madness.

Berliner AK 07 ticket office
The club with its own currency!

After leaving the stadium we went back to hauptbahnhof for some food and a coffee before going our seperate ways. I got the 17:30 train back to Prague and Martin headed to the airport. All in all an unforgettable weekend which has undoubtedly had a lasting affect on me as it caused me to question my beer drinking limits. Those manic days are gone for me now and I have the magical city of Berlin to thank for finally pushing me over the edge and into the responsible drinker club.

One thing is for sure...Berlin is an amazing city with its own atmosphere unlike anywhere else. I'll be back soon for a sober Hertha visit, Union Berlin and of course, Berliner FC Dynamo.

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