Dezember 2011

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new year's eve at the circus

Ohhh, it’s coming. For many people, New Year’s Eve is THE party in Berlin, and if you have never experienced it before, you are certainly in for a treat. Many would say that it is not even that important where you celebrate the arrival of the new year, as it is the pandemonium on the streets at midnight, when 3 million (or more) people explode the national debts-worth of fireworks into the sky that makes New Year’s Eve in Berlin such an experience like nowhere else.

But before we get to that point you need something to do, right? So here is a quick round-up of what we have going on at The Circus, plus some tips for elsewhere in Berlin provided by our Minister for Fun and Games, Andrew Rowley…

New Year’s Eve at The Circus…

At the Fabisch restaurant in The Circus Hotel we have a special “Silvester Menu”, a 4-course “final meal” of 2011, featuring a choice of main meals and of course a glass of sekt. Musical entertainment will be provided by DJ who will be spinning throughout the evening. Across the street at the hostel, Goldman’s Bar will be hosting their traditional New Year’s Eve Party, with cold drinks and cool tunes. On the morning after, don’t miss our special Jazz brunch at Fabisch, with a special buffet and live music to sooth away the excesses of the night before.

…and in Berlin – Party at the Brandenburg Gate…

If you will be in town on the 31st December and want to see what a million people celebrating the arrival of a new year is like, then head down to the Brandenburg Gate. Behind the gate, running along the Strasse des 17. Juni to the Victory Column, is the official Festmeile…where there will be stages featuring top musical performances (including former winners of British talent shows), drinks and other refreshments on sale, and of course, the spectacular light, laser and fireworks show that will greet the arrival of 2012.

The celebrations at the Brandenburg Gate are extremely popular, and although entry to the Festmeile is free, they do close the gates once it is full…last year there were no further people allowed in at some point between 8 and 9pm, so if you want to be there for midnight, get there early. And if you want to be close to the stage, it would be advisable to get down there at around 5pm…remember to wrap up warm!

More Info on the Visit Berlin website.

…The World’s Largest Firework Display…

I have no idea if this is true, but the shear volume of explosives launched into the Berlin night from midnight on must make it a contender. Berlin’s hills and bridges are some of the best vantage points to watch this DIY display, including the Teufelsberg (West Berlin, Google Maps), the Kreuzberg (South of the centre, Google Maps) or the bridges Oberbaumbrücke (Friedrichshain/Kreuzberg, Google Maps) or the bridge at the S-Bahn station Bornholmer Strasse (Wedding/Prenzlauer Berg, Google Maps). With a bottle of cheap bubbly from Lidl, this is one of the cheapest and yet most spectacular ways to usher in the new year.

& Andrew’s Club Tips…

Here are the tips from Mr Rowley… for more information or ideas of how to celebrate New Year’s Eve, come and talk to us at reception…

ADS (Friedrichshain) :Ostfunk & Subdub (Party)

Bassy Cowboy Club: Silvester im Bassy: Rogall, The Mytch, Mr. Garage Records, Mystic N. (Shakin’ R&B, 60s Garage, Frantic Soul & Rock ‘n’ Roll u. a

live: Les Kitschenettes (60s French Beat)

Cookies: Happy New Year: A Tale of Us, No Regular Play, La Fleur, Norman, Beathoavenz, Jessicat (Electronic u. a.)

Icon: Drum N Bass Party – The Last Icon Party ever…..(will be big)

Magnet Club : Silvester Pop Explosion 2011: Karrera Klub/Tim, Christian & Spencer, Christian Vorbau (Indie Disko) / Vossi & Blitzkrieg Rob ( 3 Floors)

Tresor: NYE 2011/2012: Octave One, Mike Huckaby, Oliver Deutschmann, Franklin de Costa, Cari lekebusch, Gary Beck, Joel Mull, Mike Dehne


Kulturbrauerei Silvester Party: 15 Locations * 30 DJ’s * Live Band * Riesenfeuerwerk

Waiting for dinner 2

(photo: Queues form for dinner at the cafe)

Christmas is an interesting time at The Circus. Whereas big events and holidays during the year, such as film festivals, easter and bank holidays, the marathon weekend and, of course, New Year’s Eve, bring a certain special atmosphere to the different houses because of the number of people milling around, Christmas is very different. Berlin itself feels quiet, as it feels like half the city have gone someplace else to celebrate with friends and family, many businesses close down for the holidays, and everything just feels peaceful and calm.

Dinner is served

(photo: Dinner is served at the hostel)

Ever since The Circus began almost fifteen years ago, we have been very aware that Christmas can actually be a difficult time for our guests, especially those travellers who find themselves along way from home and everything that entails (of course there are the others for whom escape from tradition is the very reason they are with us in Berlin … but that’s another story). So we always try and put on something on Christmas Day, not only for our guests but those of us who are working, and it is often one of the best days of the year to be hanging around the hostel, the hotel and, as of 2011, the new apartments.

Christmas in Fabisch

(photo: Christmas dinner in Fabisch)

As is now traditional, we offered special Christmas dinner in both the Circus Cafe at the hostel and in the Fabisch restaurant in the hotel. We also had live music on Christmas eve, cocktails and festive tunes in Goldman’s Bar, and plenty of other goodies to hopefully give people fond memories of the time they spent Christmas with us in Berlin. We hope that everyone who was with us over the holiday had a great time, and that all of you reading this had a special couple of days with good food and wine, some nice people and some great presents!

The fun never stops of course, and we have a full programme of events taking place at The Circus to celebrate the arrival of the new year. So to find out what’s going on as we usher in 2012, check out the Circus blog tomorrow…

merry-christmas11It is late on the 24th December and we just want to take this opportunity to say a very Merry Christmas to all the friends of The Circus, wherever you might be around the world. Christmas is often a time when thoughts turn to friends and family, and to the people who are not with us but are close to our hearts…we are thinking of you! It has once again been a wonderful year here in Berlin, with new projects and new friends as well as the chance to welcome old buddies back to The Circus. It is also a good opportunity to say a great big thank you to all of those people – guests, partners, staff and friends – who have made 2011 another great year for us.

2012 will see the fifteenth birthday of The Circus and there is plenty to look forward to. But in the meantime, we hope you are having a great time wherever you might be in the world. See you next year!


Okay, so we reached the middle of the year yesterday in our review of 2011 via Circus blogposts, and as the cold wind blows outside the windows of the office here on Rosenthaler Platz it is hard to picture those warm and sunny days of barbecues in the park where we left things, but we will use the power of the blog and an ability to link to take us back to the recent past…

July. The Women’s Football World Cup got serious as we reached the knock-out stages. Germany, as always, were great hosts of the tournament, but they fell foul on the pitch to a surprise defeat at the hands of the eventual winners Japan. Here at The Circus we made a film, brought Dandy of the Grotesque into Fabisch, and began our tours to Kreuzberg with Jim Hudson whilst Jule and the other Jim took people to explore Marzahn.

Into August and Rani delivered the first designs for the new cafe and lounge at the apartments, whilst Sasa and the gang began the long process of deciding what special things would be served there. Berlin commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall with a series of different events and exhibitions around the city, whilst we met a 70 year-old on his birthday who had been born in the very building that now houses The Circus Hotel. Meanwhile Andrew was having a weekly struggle with the weather, Toga was off to watch his team at the Olympic Stadium, and Sandra was getting “in the mood” with her plans for new apartments. It all seems so long ago…

In September we met Carl Oskar for the first time when he popped by the hotel for a visit, but otherwise it was work, work, work, work, on the Circus Apartments. Meanwhile, we were checking out the international literature festival, and many of our guests were gaining our complete admiration as they took on the Berlin Marathon course. As we moved into autumn a friend of ours published a book on a subject close to the hearts of the English-speaking staff members of The Circus – beer – whilst Preston ran a special photography tour for the festival of lights and Digel waved to passing members of the St Pauli football team on Torstraße.

Into November and we hosted the inaugural meeting of the Berlin St Georges Supporters Club down in Goldman’s Bar, began our new fundraising campaign with our friends at Multitude, celebrated Thanksgiving in the Circus Cafe and drank our first glasses of glühwein at the Berlin Christmas Markets.

And so we reach December and the end of 2011. Sometimes December can be a calm and quiet month at The Circus, but not this year. We had a film crew come by the hostel to make a special clip for our website (coming soon!) but mostly we were getting the apartments ready for launch, which we did last week.

So as Christmas and New Year’s Eve approaches, we reach the end of our special review of 2011 (part two), and we would just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone – guests, staff, partners and friends – who have been with us during 2011 and the next year of the Circus story. In 2012 the Circus will be FIFTEEN years old… who could imagine what would have happened when the doors opened on that first 40-bed building close to Friedrichstraße.

Ah, enough of the nostalgia. See you soon.

2011reviewpartoneIn amongst all the excitement of the opening of the Apartments last week, we missed the second birthday of this lovely blog, and so we thought we would use the chance to not only say “Happy Birthday” to ourselves, but have a look back at a year in the Circus through our blog posts. Now quite a lot of things have happened to us over the past twelve months, so we have decided to split this into two and begin with the first six months of the year.

In January we launched our cooperation with the ZeitzeugenBörse for our series of eyewitness history talks, which are still continuing each month in Fabisch, and we have a very special treat and surprise on this topic coming up in January…so keep your eyes open! We also recieved the happy news that The Circus Hotel had once again been selected for the Tripadvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards, voted for by people who have stayed with us at the hotel and a wonderful achievement for the second year in a row. Later in month Judith and Lisanne took some guests on a special Long Night of the Museums Tour, whilst Jared started on his mission to eat around Berlin.

February might be the shortest month but there was lots going on, especially as the Berlinale was in town. We also prepared a very special welcome for a very special friend of ours.  March was completely packed, with a renovation of the Circus Cafe just in time for all the different events of our Slow Travel Day, including tours, film screenings, a pop-up bookshop and much more, whilst our small Kunstbox at the hostel became host for the Pictosplasma festival. Over at the hotel Marie Jacobi brought Rapunzel to the tower, where she still sits…

Into spring and we welcomed the Berg Gallery to our Kunstbox, celebrated Hertha’s return to the Bundesliga, and continued our obession with you know who. As the weather continued to get warmer the fun and games carried on, with a visit of Gino the Clown to the hostel, we sadly waved goodbye to Konny as he left the Circus (we still miss you), and made the first announcement of the new Circus Apartments.

As the summer arrived we headed up onto the roof of the Circus Hotel for yoga sessions, and worked with our neighbours on the Rosentage neighbourhood and cultural festival. We reached the halfway point of the year with Lisa hosting “Europe’s Most Awesome Barbecue” in Mauerpark.

Phew…and we are only halfway there. Part Two of the 2011 review will be on the blog in the next couple of days…


On Friday we had a small gathering at the new Circus Apartments, to introduce the place to the Circus team and our neighbours on the Choriner Straße (the “official” opening event will take place in the New Year). It was a lovely afternoon and evening showing people around the apartments, as well as welcoming the first guests for the weekend, and the positive reactions of everyone that came by was very pleasing for all those who have been working so hard over the past few months.

Here are some pictures…

Christian and the Stag…


Johann and the Kitchen menu…


Kitchen Crew…


Digel and friends…


Andreas and friends…


Rani, Jared and Katrin…


Welcome Sekt…


Welcome Bread…


A Nice Evening…


If you have scrolled down this far, just a little reminder that tomorrow is our Christmas Bazaar at The Circus Hostel, so make sure you come by the café from 5pm for handicrafts, soup, cake, glühwein and some live stories, poems and songs to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Christmas Bazaar BlogOn Tuesday 20th December we will be hosting our very own Christmas Bazaar at The Circus Cafe. Beginning at 5pm we will be selling handicrafts designed and created by members of the Circus team, including cosmetic/travel bags with different motifs (including Berlin and the Circus), as well as loop scarves, notebooks and homemade pralines.

There will also be soup, cake and glühwein, all of which will be “sold” on a donation basis, to raise money for MULTITUDE, the refugee rights and support organisation here in Berlin that the Circus has been supporting recently, such as through the fleamarket donation of our piles and piles of lost and found. Multitude’s idea is to visit and plan activities with the refugees, to help take their minds away from what can be an incredibly negative process that they have to deal with, and build a multicultural exchange between the refugees and the wider German society. The activities include German lessons, cooking and watching movies together, playing with the children, organising picnics in the park or games of basketball.

From 7pm Lady Gaby will be hosting a spoken word event, featuring Christmas Stories from around the world. The four performers will use stories, poetry and song to tell their very own yuletide tales. So come and join us next Tuesday for a couple of festive hours, buy some homemade presents for loved ones, help raise money for a very important organisation, and listen to expat tales of Christmas past to help get you in the holiday spirit. It’s going to be fun…

Kitchen_UprightSo here we are. After many months and the odd period of trials and tribulations, the first guests are on the way and the apartments team are ready to welcome them. And for all of you readers of the Circus blog who have had to do with moodboards, sketches, renderings and, well, simply our word for it, now we can present you with some pictures so you can get a sense of what we are opening on the Choriner Straße. It has been an exciting and tough time getting the building ready for the first guests, and we are very proud of the results.

Take a look…

The Kitchen

The ground floor of the apartments building is where you will find The Kitchen, a cafe and lounge that is also the base for the concierge team of the apartments.


The Kitchen was designed by Lebanese architect Rani al Rajji


Our wonderful coffee comes from our friends down in Kreuzberg Five Elephant


The Kitchen has plenty of space to relax, as well as a library of books and magazines curated with the special help of our friends at Dialogue Books.


The Apartments

All apartments have their own name, and personalised door sign to help you find the right one :-)


Here is the kitchen and living area from Apartment Schmidt…


…and the bedroom from Apartment Meyer


All apartments come with an iPad loaded with goodies, including special Berlin guides and apps, games and playlists, and much more


Don’t forget the balconies, the place step out for a spot of fresh air


And of course, all apartments come with at least one spacious and luxurious bathroom


As always, the special details and the overall design of the building is the work of Sandra Ernst.


We will of course be uploading more pictures to the website and the blog in the coming days and weeks, but for now we hope you enjoyed this first look at The Circus Apartments.

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