When you want to buy things at night in Berlin, you go to the spaetkauf (late shop), or spaeti for short. In short order you get your fix: caffeine, nicotine, alcohol. The best spaeti are open 24 hours for your addiction pleasure. Some spaeti are open round the clock, while others tow the line and close at a more respectable midnight.
In order to have a Best Spaeti you must necessarily have a Worst Spaeti. The worst ones are on the main streets and have internet cafes and telephone booths inside. This is great if you happen to be completely without internet connection in the 21st century or like to make phone calls inside of sweaty wooden boxes. That’s ok if you do. I’m not your judge. These bad spaeti charge double for the same beer you would buy at the good spaeti. And it's piss warm. Even the ones in the back of the fridge.
The Best Spaeti in Berlin is on a side street off of the four streets junction in Northern Prenzlauer Berg. The four streets meet and change all in one intersection: to the North, Schoenhauser Allee becomes Berliner strasse; from the West, Bornholmer strasse hits the intersection and moseys on into Wisyber strasse proper. This rare occurrence of major streets meeting and changing names is referred to as a Deutschenklusterfick. Just as was depicted in Scorcese’s “Gangs of New York”, four gangs met at a crossroads to fight it out: The Shoenhausers, the Bornholmers, the Real Berliners and the Wisbyers. The leaders of each gang all died in the muck and mud of the intersection and...
After the battle the men were mighty thirsty. The survivors drank beer at a spaeti around the corner. This historical spaeti had a cardboard cutout of a fine young damsel holding a beer and sign which read ‘160 brands of beer.’
To this day you can find it. This is my favorite spaeti because you can get Bavarian monk beer in devilishly strong varieties. If you’re feeling a bit peckish you can get warm German and Russian food made by a guy with a mullet and a greasy apron. I won’t tell you the name of the Best Spaeti in Berlin because A) I may not remember the name; B) the responsible blogger doesn’t lead the tourists to The Good Shit. But you’ve got the history, the intersection, and, hopefully by now, a powerful thirst.
(hint: you walk down Schoenhauser Allee until it becomes Berliner strasse. Then you take one of the side streets nearby. Look for the cardboard chick with the beers.)