If you happen to find yourself in Potsdam, Berlin’s little and rather refined sister town, and you fancy some relaxed hipster vibes, Italian accents and good coffee (and pastries), you can’t do better than drop into 11-Line on the corner of Hermann-Elflein-Strasse and Charlottenstrasse.
Potsdam is lovely. Especially nice if you get a bit fed-up of Berlin’s deep-down-and-dirty vibe, as much as we all love it (otherwise we wouldn’t be here, amiright?), with its palaces, spiffed up buildings, cobbled streets and shopping promenade. Well worth a look.
Longing for a little coolness?
But if you hang out in Potsdam more often, you will probably find yourself longing for a bit of coolness and a bit of hipster vibe. Just a block south of said shopping promenade, you’ll find the big windows of a cafe that looks quite unassuming from outside – I mean, it looks like a cafe, but doesn’t leave much impression either way – but if you push through the door you’ll find yourself facing the small counter across which a smiling Italian dude who looks like he’s smoked a dooby or two in his time, ready to serve you with some serious caffeine.
Definitive hipster vibe
To the right, you walk up a few steps into the main part of the cafe, with six or seven tables, small and large, and dotted with a variety of comfy sofas and a mish-mash of chairs; it looks, as all the best hipster cafes do, as if the owner visited a few charity shops and yard sales in the area and took whatever was going cheap. But hey, with an eye to detail, don’t get me wrong: it’s just that no interior designer type person would be able to achieve exactly that shade of effortless cool that you get from this kind of lackadaisical approach to furniture.
I mean, what do I know, it could be that they paid someone loads of money to handpick just the right pieces from across the continent…but I doubt it. Not at the prices they sell their coffee at.
No, I think 11-Line is the real deal. The people working there are, as mentioned, generally Italian, very friendly, laid back and seeming thoroughly satisfied with their place in the world. They’ll invite you to take a seat while they make your favourite caffeinated beverage (wine and beer are also on the menu, or rather on the chalkboard), which they bring to you in good time.
Also: if you’re looking for a place to work on your laptop, they’ve made sure to dot electrical outlets all around the room, so pretty much no matter which table you’re sitting at, you can plug in. And of course there’s free wifi.
Of the times I’ve dropped by 11-Line, occasionally there’s been mouth-watering food smells emanating from the small back kitchen. We’re talking pastries and basic foodstuffs food smells. So there’s that.
All in all, I’ve come to enjoy spending time hanging out in Potsdam as a change to the big(ger) city vibe of Berlin. If you head down south-west for some palace-visiting and promenading, do yourself a favour and check out 11-Line.
(Next week: our fave coffee stop in Babelsberg (where the very famous film studios are, and still part of Potsdam)