Enjoying a mocha and two eggs in a glass. A day at the Romanische Café.
Published on Tuesday, 21 March 2023 – in German
Else and Arne are visiting a coffee house in Berlin. But not just any coffee house, they are visiting the Romanische Café.
Already back in the 1920ies it was legendary, known far beyond the borders of Berlin. This was the place where numerous guests passed their days, pursued their careers, flirted, where scripts were drafted, and contracts were signed. Here they enjoyed their coffee and something of a Berlin culinary specialty: boiled and peeled eggs in a decorative glass. Some guests were very wealthy and generously spent their money, others scrounged their way through the day and life. For some it was a living room and an office, the perfect retreat before or after the theatre and cinema, as well as a place of longing. Some of the well-known guests were: Max Liebermann, Jeanne Mammen, Bertolt Brecht, Irmgard Keun, Erich Kästner, Kurt Tucholsky, Billy Wilder, Else Lasker-Schüler: no other coffee house of its time was described and painted more often. Not everyone was allowed in the vip-area, the famously so-called swimmer’s pool … and head waiter Nitz kept a strict watch over everything.
Today, the Europa Center resides on the site of the destroyed Romanische Café. With berlinologist Michael Bienert, we take a trip back in time to 1929 and are guided through the building and introduced to the dazzling staff. With Roland Pohl, we experience am entire day at the “Romanisches” until even the last guest must leave the establishment. Christiane Barz acquaints us with illustrious guests, introduces us to the regulars’ tables and the unwritten laws of the establishment and enlightens us about the afterlife and the myth of the café. And in the end, we lift the veil: the Romanische Café will be resurrected as an exhibition at the end of this year, in cooperation with the Europa Center at the historic location. The exhibition is financed by the Federal Agency for Civic Education, the supporting association is the AG City. The initiator Katja Baumeister-Frenzel will introduce the project to us, to which we may also make some contributions ourselves. We are looking forward to seeing you all at the opening.
Author, Journalist, City-Guide
Roland Pohl Engineer for Theatre and Event-Technology
Dr. phil. Christiane Barz
Literary Scholar and Curator