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This coming Sunday is the Berlin Half Marathon… a 21km run or skate through the heart of Berlin, starting on the iconic Karl Marx Allee with a route that passes by some of the most famous sights of the city, including the Brandenburg Gate, Tiergarten, Schloss Charlottenburg, Ku-damm and Potsdamer Platz. We know that there are a good number of our guests bringing their running shoes and race registrations with them, and there will also be a Circus presence, as Johann, Paul, Jim and Ivi attempt to complete the course before the time limit expires…

For those who are running, you will have been sent your race registration details and you will need to head to Tempelhof for the Berlin Vital fair where you can pick up your race number. It is possible to do this at Karl Marx Allee on the day of the race, but we would highly recommend you head to Tempelhof on Thursday, Friday or Saturday to save yourself the stress, to enjoy the different things going on at the fair, and also to see the legendary Tempelhof airport building where it is being held and which is worth a visit in its own right.

For those who are here to cheer, or would like to head down and see what the fuss is about, the skaters will set off at 9.30am on Sunday 30th March whilst the runners head out at 10.05am. You can see the route map above (click on it to make it bigger), and if you need any advice about how to get to the best spots to watch then come and talk to us at reception.

For everyone: we will be meeting at Katz & Maus in the Circus Hostel after the run (so, from roughly 1pm onwards) for a few drinks, to share our stories, and for those who have a medal around the neck, a small surprise!

See you then… The Circus Runners


Cinema fans might be interested to know that Berlin is currently hosting ALFILM – the Arab Film Festival Berlin – and many of the filmmakers, journalists and interested cinema-goers are staying with us at The Circus right now. ALFILM is the largest festival that provides a platform to the diverse Arabic cinema. The festival focuses on artistically and thematically outstanding films from the Arab World. ALFILM is a non-commercial film festival that has been organised yearly since 2009 by the non-profit organisation Friends of the Arabic Cinematheque, Berlin.

ALFILM presents feature films, documentaries and short movies coming from or produced in Arab countries at different venues in Berlin – many of which are German or European premieres. The OFFICIAL SELECTION gather a selection of new releases (fiction, documentary and short movies) from the last three years.

The SPOTLIGHT section includes contemporary and historical Arabic films which are curated thematically, and the festival devotes extensive retrospectives to the work of eminent filmmakers and artists from the Arabic cinema, panel discussions, performances, lectures as well as children screenings.

The Festival is on right now and runs until the 26th March, and you can find more details of what is on where and when on the website.

Bild 183-M0804-754

Over the past three years we have welcomed many fascinating speakers to The Circus as part of our series of monthly eyewitness history talks in cooperation with the ZZB (Centre for Witness to Contemporary History). It has been wonderful to hear of the personal experiences of people who have lived in our city, and the tales they have to tell, but it is possible that our speaker this month has one of the most extraordinary stories we have heard so far.

Salomea Genin was born in Berlin in 1932 to Polish-Jewish parents, and the family fled the Nazis to Australia in 1939. By the early 1950s Salomea was a committed member of the Australian Communist Party, and visited the German Democratic Republic as a delegate of the World Youth Festival. Out of this visit was born a desire to help build an anti-fascist state in East Germany, and in 1963 she moved there. Twenty years later she came to the realisation that she had willingly participated in what was a police state, and in turn this led her to join the political opposition and build a new life, even before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of East Germany.

We are really excited to be welcoming Salomea to The Circus on Tuesday 25th March to hear her story of exile and the joy and anguish of her multi-faceted homecoming. As always, the talk will be in English, open to all and free of charge, although we will be collecting donations for the ZZB to help them fund their important work.

Eyewitness History Talk: Homecoming – A Jewish Australian in the GDR
Speaker: Salomea Genin
Date: Tuesday 25th March 2014
Time: 6pm
Venue: Fabisch at the Circus Hotel, Rosenthaler Platz 1, Berlin-Mitte

Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-M0804-754 / CC-BY-SA

Sunday Social

Coming up on Sunday evening we are extremely happy to be holding the very first of our “Sunday Social” events downstairs at Katz & Maus in the Circus Hostel. This week we are welcoming Ori Soul to join us on stage for our Acoustic Lounge event, with some chilled and relaxed music from 9pm and all our great food and drink offers… what a way to end the weekend…

… or alternatively, what a warm up for… ST PATRICK’S DAY! Yep, Monday is the 17th March which means all over the planet people will be celebrating all things Irish, and at Katz & Maus we are no different. Again, we have live music from 9pm and a very special offer… Irish Stew and a Guinness for €7. Delicious. So come join us downstairs at Katz & Maus on Sunday and Monday, to eat, drink and be merry.

St Patricks Day


The Interdepartmental Schlachtfest is the brainchild of Jimbo, who has been watching too many episodes of the Office and decided we needed some form of team-building exercise involving beer and quizzes… it is only a rumour that the night ended with Felix throwing a shoe over the roof of the Schultheiss brewery whilst shouting “And that’s the real quiz!”

Last night saw The Interdepartmental Schlachtfest: Part Deux, whereby the different departments of the Circus Hostel, Hotel and Apartment House pit their wits against each other. After the bowling extravaganza last year the revenge was set up. The program was easy, first a tour through Berlins largest Brewery which gave not only the answers to some of the questions in following quiz but also gave everyone a wonderful insight into the wonderful process of brewing everyone’s favourite alcoholic beverage.

Deeply impressive was of course the bottling plant as seeing 50.000 bottles of beer being cleaned labeled and then filled every hour is something. After the tour it was on to the tasting room for 2.5 hours of free brew tasting. Once all the teams had truly whetted their whistles it was on to the highlight of the evening. The quiz. 20 of the most well thought out questions by Quiz master Mister Felix K., all about, yep, you guessed it, beer. It was a close run race the team “Jim’s All Girls” consisting of Katrin, Jule, Saskia, and Victoria snatched victory. It had nothing to do with their team name either as the extra point for the best team name went to “The Yeasty Boys”…. Very imaginative J. If you feel like having a crack at the questions. Don’t be shy….. Answers upon request.

1. In the Middle Ages fasting Monks were still allowed to drink beer. What was the amount of beer each monk was allowed to drink per day?

2. What is the terminology of the study of fermentation?

3. What is the cause of bad beer’s “skunked” taste?

4. Who is the Patron Saint of Brewing?

5. Chicha is a Peruvian beer. Its secret ingredient is a bit odd, what is it?

6. What is Felix’s favorite beer?

7. How many Hector Litres are produced at the Schultheiss Brewery per year?

8. How old is the Schultheiss brewery?

9. Write the word beer in as many languages as possible? (Point for each)

10. If David Hasselhoff was a beer which one would it be any why? (Point for best answer)

11. In which year did Jim drink so much beer that he puked all over the bathroom for the first time? (Point for the closest)

12. How many beers had Jim drunk before this premiere? (Point for the closest)

13. What classification system is used to describe the color of beer?

14. What is the fear of an empty (beer) glass called (extra points for spelling)?

15. Pyramid workers were paid with beer.  What was the daily “wage”?

16. Beer and Marijuana are cousins: Beer’s Hops are in the same family of flowering plants as marijuana.  Bearing that in mind, what is 7*8?

17. What is the world’s highest alcohol content in a beer? (extra points for the name of the beer)

18. Which country drinks the largest amount of beer per capita?

19. Beer is the second most popular beverage in the world (outrageous I know). What is the first?

20. Did you have a good time?

Here are some more pictures from the evening:





Here at the Circus we are of course used to welcoming the world to Berlin, as our guests come from just about every corner of the globe, but over the last week the city was buzzing with lots of – well – people like us, as the tourism industry descended on the city for the annual ITB. The ITB is one of the largest tourism trade fairs in the world, and there were all kinds of hotels, websites, tour companies, travel agencies and the different tourist institutions from cities, regions and countries, filling the many different halls of the Berlin Messe. Many of the Circus team took time out of the busy week to go and take a look, using the chance to meet up with business partners and other friends from the industry, and collect inspiration and ideas from what other are doing and what else was on offer.

And many of those from the industry were staying with us, including Megat and friends from Malaysia, who spent the ITB at the Circus Apartments and left some lovely gifts for Ivi and Clara from the concierge team… as you can see in the picture above. Thanks to everyone who joined us in Berlin over the last week, and we are looking forward to seeing you again next year!

Bar Market

Now this looks interesting for anyone who cares about what they drink and the people behind it… The Bar Market is taking place every Friday and Saturday evening during the month of March at the Senatsreservespeicher in Kreuzberg. Each weekend, six local drink entrepreneurs will be setting up their stall alongside a food stall who will be offering six dishes to match…

Among the six drinks stands, you’ll find a collection of Berlin’s best craft beer brewers headed up by Markthalle Neun’s own Heidenpeters, an expert sampling of German Rieslings handpicked by the previous sommelier at Pauly Saal Helen Mol, and a “classics cocktail bar” brought to you by some of the team behind one of Berlin’s most beloved bars, Würgeengel.

The event page on Facebook has more details, including this fascinating snippet about the location for the Bar Market that seems to be well worth checking out whilst you still have the chance…

About the Senatsreservenspeicher

The Senatsreservenspeicher has quite the storied history. The hulking city warehouse has sat on the banks of the Spree since the Cold War, when it was used as storage space for grains and other products—a back-up food supply for land-locked West Berliners. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the space went unused for a while. Then, about a decade ago, it was taken over by an art collective called Artitude who worked not only on their own projects but also for the benefit of the local community, producing some of the large-scale, striking works of street art that have made Kreuzberg a destination.

Artitude is leaving on March 31st to make way for the building’s next reincarnation as flats & offices. The Bar Market will help give this iconic building a proper send-¬off by celebrating its original use—bringing in the community to enjoy artisanal drinks, which somehow hark back to the various grains that may have once been stored in this very space.


It is another beautiful day in Berlin… can it possibly mean winter is over? Now we have to be careful, last year something similar happened and then the weather gods dumped a load of snow on us in March, but whilst the weather is fine why not head out of the city centre and explore some of the lovely green and watery places within Berlin’s city limits? One of our favourite hideaways is the Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island), accessible by a short ferry ride and a great place to escape it all, especially in the middle of the week.

To reach the Pfaueninsel you will just need a normal Berlin transport ticket, as you are not leaving the city limits, although when you get there the hustle and bustle of the Hauptstadt will seem a long way away. Already when getting out of the S-Bahn at Wannsee the air smells so much fresher and cleaner, and everything is green! From Wannsee an hourly bus (number 218) takes you to the pier, where a small ferry takes you over to the island. On the island no cars, bicycles, pets or even smoking are allowed. The only way to get around is on foot, and one round around the island takes about 1.5 hours.

Pfaueninsel has a long history and was a favorite of Prussian kings and queens. It is a world cultural heritage site, bird sanctuary and nature reserve. There is a small palace and other historical buildings scattered over the island – a dairy building, an old boathouse, a beautiful fountain, a hunter’s blind, a peacock breeding house, and lots of fields, forest with magnificent tree formations and greenery. The nice bonus at this time of the year is that you will be practically alone there to enjoy the greenery and scenery along with a few farm animals (even two pairs of Asian water buffalo!) and the spooky cries of the peacocks.

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