The story of Berlin’s Oberhafenkantine starts in Hamburg, where the original Oberhafen-Kantine has been serving dockside meals for nearly a century.
The Hamburg landmark was an inspiration for artist Thomas Passfeld, who built a full-scale replica of the little lunch joint in 2009, taking it on a journey from New York to London, finally landing in Berlin and its current home near the River Spree.
Mimicking the old tradition of the German “Kaffeeklappe” (kind of like a lunch counter or coffee shop), Passfeld’s version is a replica with a few key exceptions: this one isn’t over 90 years old; it’s made entirely from reclaimed wood instead of brick; it’s more of a club and event space than a coffee shop; and it doesn’t tilt at an angle that keeps you holding onto your beer.
Unlike the original that leans at a noticeable angle from years of soil erosion (its location next to the River Elbe has meant repeated flooding), Passfeld’s inspired version stands straight, but only once it’s set up. This Kaffeeklappe is a moveable feast, able to be dismantled and transported in shipping containers. The artist’s goal is to keep it traveling, popping up around the world, bringing some old world charm and grit along with it.
Know Before You Go
The restaurant is next to the "Badeschiff," a riverside beach and swimming pool in an old barge permanently docked in the Spree, so don't forget to bring your bathing suit. Oberhafenkantine Berlin is located between the U-Bahn station Schlesisches Tor and the S-Bahn station Treptower Park.