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Paris Bar, Berlin

152 Kantstrasse
Germany 10623
Tel: 49 30 313 8052's insider take:

Few places showcase the underlying Gestalt of the old West Berlin better than the Paris Bar. The decor was assembled by the late painter Martin Kippenberger, a star of the demimonde of artists, writers, wealthy ne'er-do-wells, and celebrities who continue to drink, eat, and soak up the smoky atmosphere. Loyal patrons, rumor has it, have been keeping the place afloat since it officially declared bankruptcy in 2005. The food, in the idiom of an old-fashioned French brasserie, is acceptable (stick to steaks and simple bistro classics like escargots), and service is often snooty and slow. But like Paris's Brasserie Lipp, that's not what keeps the crowds coming: Paris Bar is as authentic as they come, and an enduring testament to a cool Berlin that has now all but disappeared. An extensive list of fancy Bordeaux and Burgundies helps complete the picture of bygone decadence.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.