Cafe Filou Stays – Investor Renews Contract

By Joel Dullroy, Radio Spaetkauf

Kreuzberg bakery Cafe Filou has been spared from eviction after the property’s owner agreed to renew the contract. British investor Charles Skinner told Radio Spaetkauf he had experienced a change of heart following talks with retiring Green party politician Hans-Christian Ströbele.

“In the end we saw reason, Mr. Skinner said. “A lot of mistakes have been made along the way, not just by us but from them, from everybody. I think there’s going to be a good coming together.”

Mr. Skinner said he would now work with Mr. Ströbele to create a fair commercial property contract to give business tenants an automatic renewal. While residential property leases in Berlin are well protected by law, commercial leases remain vulnerable.

“It’s not a financial thing, it’s a moral thing… I would like to design a different kind of contract for commercial properties whereby they get an automatic renewal rather than something that just goes down to zero, and people like me can just say ‘no’,” Mr. Skinner said.

Cafe Filou co-owner Nadja Wagner confirmed that they had received a verbal agreement from Mr. Skinner that the contract would be renewed. While the details are yet to be finalized, Ms. Wagner said she expected the rent to remain unchanged, and the contract to be valid for several years with extension options.

“We’re pleased with the outcome,” Ms. Wanger said. “It is only because of the support of the neighbourhood that we have been able to come so far.”

Mr. Skinner praised the role played by Clare D’Orsay, the operator of Vertikal restaurant, which sits next door to Cafe Filou on Reichenberger Straße, and is also Mr. Skinner’s tenant.

“She was relentless in getting us to keep the Cafe Filou operators,” Mr Skinner said.

Clare D’Orsay spoke on the latest Radio Spaetkauf podcast about the violence and vandalism she had experienced from misguided protesters who had targeted her business due to its proximity to Cafe Filou.

Ms. D’Orsay said she had been spat at, pushed to the ground and had her windows smashed by an organized group for being a foreigner opening a nice looking restaurant in Kreuzberg.

The 32-year old New Yorker moved to Berlin seven years ago and has run other businesses in the neighbourhood. She pointed out that Restaurant Vertikal did not displace any existing business, as the building was recently constructed on an empty corner lot.

Ms. Wagner from Cafe Filou said she hoped the attacks against Vertikal would cease, and that the restaurant would be integrated into the community.

Listen to the full Radio Spaetkauf podcast to hear more:

RS Live: The Ugly Side of Anti-Gentrification

Restauranteur Clare D’Orsay is a victim of anti-gentrification violence. She has been unfairly targeted by protesters angry about the planned eviction of Cafe Filou in Kreuzberg. Her restaurant Vertikal is next door, but has nothing to do with the eviction. On this show Clare talks about the attacks against her business at the hands of misguided protesters.
Clare says she’s been spat at, pushed to the ground and had her windows smashed by an organized group for being a foreigner opening a nice looking restaurant.

Investors Charles Skinner also joined the show to announce he’s reached an agreement with Cafe Filou and will allow them to stay. Mr. Skinner said he decided to renew the contract after appeals from Green party politician Hans-Christian Ströbele and Ms. D’Orsay. “In the end we saw reason,” Mr. Skinner said.

Maisie is one of 480 British citizens trying to apply for a German passport to ensure she can stay after Brexit. Unsurprisingly she’s run into bureaucratic hurdles. Mark Whiley from Forward Britain joined the show to talk about what despairing Brits can do to create political pressure back home to try to mitigate the effect of Brexit. Visit

This show was recorded live at Comedy Cafe Berlin on Sunday March 19 2017, and was hosted by Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern.

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Child of the Poster Child

Hang on to your wallet on the U6 and U8. Crime stats show they’re the hottest U-Bahn lines for pickpockets. While wallet theft is up, crime rates in Berlin have remained stable – not bad, since the city is growing.

Bicycle activists have long complained that Berlin’s €10 parking fines are too cheap. Now a study has found it costs the city €10.38 to process a parking ticket. Should the city charge more, or give up issuing fines?

Strikes are continuing at Berlin airports, where workers are demanding an immediate €1 pay rise per hour, while ground service companies are offering €0.27 a year over three years. Ryanair has escalated the situation by flying in a plane load of Irish strike breakers.

Hear more about drama at the BER airport at our next live show at 5.30pm, Sunday March 19 at the Comedy Cafe Berlin in Neukölln.

This episode was hosted by Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern, and presented by RadioEins.

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Citizen’s Arrest? Not on the U8

Ever wanted to make a citizen’s arrest? Don’t try it in Berlin. A local politician attempted to rally an U-Bahn carriage to help detain an alleged pickpocket, but was ignored by his fellow U8 passengers.

New fatter U-Bahn carriages are now being rolled out on some lines. The new model type is nicknamed the “Icke.” That name has nothing to do with David Icke, the conspiracy theorist whose speaking event was recently cancelled by Berlin’s Maritim Hotel, which has declared itself politically neutral.

This episode was presented by Maisie Hitchcock and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by RadioEins.

RS Live: Taskforce Acceleration

RS Live Feb 19

How to make Berlin’s buses run faster? The city has set up a taskforce to come up with ideas. One of them is to allow passengers to board on the rear doors to save time. The BVG doesn’t like the plan. Our own Dan Stern has a few suggestions for the taskforce, one involving the to-be-constructed Wippe see-saw monument.

Two major transport tunnel projects are delayed due to groundwater flooding – no surprise, since Berlin is built on a swamp. The S21 connection between Gesundbrunnen and Hauptbahnhof, and the U5 extension under Museuminsel are both experiencing water problems. Again, Dan has a suggestion – an underground ferry system.

Berlin’s latest anti-gentrification protest is against the eviction of Cafe Filou, a French bakery in Kreuzberg being kicked out by British investors who don’t like the croissants. Could more of these kinds of investors be on their way to Berlin with the planned relocation of Lloyd’s bank to the German capital?

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This live show was presented by Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern. Recorded live at Comedy Cafe Berlin on Sunday Feb 19, 2017.

Subscribe to Radio Spaetkauf on iTunes.

Eggs Up, Cookies Down


Berlin workers go on strike! Airport staff shut down Tegel and Schönefeld terminals on Feb 8 demanding a pay rise from €11 to €12 hour. Kindergarten staff went on strike on Feb 15, causing every second kita to close. They’re seeking equal pay with Brandenburg kita workers, who get up to €400 more per month.

Berlin is to get a new monument that is more like an amusement ride. The so-called Wippe, or see-saw, will be a moving platform that is supposed to reflect the motion of democracy. Federal politicians finally agreed to fund the Wippe after years of back and forth. No fixed opening date has been announced.

Berghain nightclub will open a new dance floor on March. Called Säule, it will feature dark experimental electronic music, and provide the club with space to squeeze in more guests.

Come to our next live show! It’s on Sunday Feb 19, 17.30, at the Comedy Cafe Berlin in Neukölln. Entry is free.

This episode was presented by Jöran Mandik and Joel Dullroy, and brought to you by RadioEins.

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Ticket Checkers Get Checked

maisie dan eisbär long

German federal police carried out an undercover sting targeting ticket inspectors on the Berlin S-Bahn. Five inspectors were busted fining tourists and pocketing the cash. If you’re caught, ask for inspectors’ ID and always get a receipt!

Six months in prison for smoking on your balcony? A Hellersdorf woman has been ordered by a court to not smoke outside between 8pm and 6am, or face a fine or jail time. Her 20 cigarettes a night were bothering her neighbour.

Fritz is the new Knut. Tierpark’s 3-month polar bear cub has been named Fritz, short for Friedrich, which intones peace. He’s half Russian.

Event tip: Australian musician Darren Cross writes songs inspired by Berlin. He’s playing a silent concert at Ofen Bar on Feb 7, where you wear headphones to hear the music.

This episode was presented by Maisie Hitchcock and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by RadioEins.

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RS Live: Berlin’s Weed Economy

rs live jan 22 long

How big is Berlin’s marijuana market? We interview podcaster Diane Arapovich who investigated the weed economy and found Berlin is the greenhouse of northern Europe, supplying even Amsterdam. Listen to her full German language podcast Die Stadt und Das Gras for more.

Was it fair for Andrej Holm to be fired from Humboldt University, just days after resigning under pressure because of his brief Stasi past? Joel and guest Konrad Werner think not. The academic has spent his adult life fighting to make housing affordable for poor people, a career that surely redeems his youthful error.

This year marks the end of an era at Berlin’s Volksbühne Theatre. Long-time intendant Frank Castorf will be replaced by Tate Modern director Chris Dercon. Konrad Werner explains why the Berlin theatre scene is upset over the switch. You’ve got until summer to get along to Volksbühne and catch one of the last Castorf productions.

Radio Spaetkauf needs your support! We’re asking our audience to donate at least one euro a month to help us bring you more local Berlin news.

Thanks to Mobile Kino for giving us free movies. Check out their Xavier Dolan program.

This episode was recorded live at the Comedy Cafe Berlin on January 22, 2017.

Hosts: Joel Dullroy, Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern. Thanks to Joshua James Alas and Julian Beerbaum for support.

Stasi Need Not Apply

joeljöranholm 2

Berlin’s R2G coalition is in crisis after the mayor Michael Müller (SPD) forced the resignation of Andrej Holm, who had been picked by Die Linke as the city’s housing secretary. The sociologist was a controversial choice due to his radical anti-investor ideas, and also because when he was 18 years old he trained to become an officer for the Stasi, the secret police of East Germany. Holm has also now been fired from Humboldt University for failing to fully declare his Stasi past. Was it fair? Listen to our next live recording for a full discussion.

The KaDeWe department store has been robbed yet again. On January 14 axe-wielding bandits broke through the doors, smashed glass cabinets and stole jewelry. In robbers held up KaDeWe during opening hours and sprayed teargas as they stole €800,000 worth of expensive watches. And in 2009, burglars broke in and stole jewelry worth €2 million. Evidence from a dropped glove led to the arrest of a pair of twins, but neither could convicted as their DNA was too similar.

Police discovered the dismembered body of a 90-year old pensioner in the freezer of his apartment in Prenzlauer Berg. The body had been there for ten years. The neighbours said that they complained about a smell coming from the flat, but were ignored by both the building manager and the police. A man has been charged with the pensioner’s murder. It’s alleged he was making withdrawals from this bank account the whole time.

Come along to our show on Sunday January 22, 6pm at the Comedy Cafe Berlin in Neukölln.

This episode was presented by Joel Dullroy and Jöran Mandik, and brought to you by RadioEins, Berlin’s public broadcaster.

Subscribe to Radio Spaetkauf on iTunes.