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Restaurants and Bars

In the "Golden Twenties", the Kurfürstendamm was the glittering centre of the "new" West. Bars, cabarets, cafés, cinemas, pubs, restaurants and nightclubs all lined the avenue and lent it a cosmopolitan air. Although the former "pleasure mile" was largely in ruins after the Second World War, the amusement industry was soon revived in the lower storeys of burnt out buildings. People settled for provisional venues, since the need for diversion and entertainment was great.  In the fifties, many of the damaged buildings were demolished and replaced by new buildings in austere post-war style. The Kurfürstendamm developed into the showpiece of the western half of the city. Its display window was a café that now no longer exists in its original form: the "Café  Kranzler" on the prominent corner of Ku’damm and Joachimstaler Straße. The filigree building designed by Hanns Dustmann and completed in 1958 was a popular meeting place for Berliners, and tourists regarded it as a symbol of the busy avenue. Stopping for coffee at a high-class establishment was, however, only one facet of a wide range of opportunities for amusement. The city centre was interwoven by a tight network of pubs, jazz clubs, beer taverns and wine bars.  The real trump card was not the diversity of facilities, but rather the unrestricted opening hours that made West Berlin a paradise for night owls. The city was also liberal as far as awarding licences was concerned. This led to a high fluctuation in the trade which, along with restructuring of the centre of West Berlin, has had the effect that there are hardly any original pubs and restaur-ants from the fifties to seventies left now. But some legends still exist, albeit in a modified form: the "Big Eden", for example, the "Bremer Gallery" and the "Paris Bar". Away from the city centre,  architectural monuments such as the curious "Bierpinsel" tower restaurant are prime examples that lend each of the various districts its own individual identity.  Following reunification, nothing remains of the pubs and restaurants run by the GDR state trade organisation, HO, largely responsible for gastronomy in the East. Some names from the GDR era still exist, since they were inextricably linked with listed buildings in the newly developed city centre at that time, but the concepts are different now: examples are the famous "Café Moskau" and the "Café Sibylle" on Karl-Marx-Allee. The legendary "Ahornblatt" restaurant on the Fischerinsel, completed in 1973 according to a design by Gerhard Lehmann and Rüdiger Plaethe, has vanished from  the cityscape. Like the disappearance of the "Kranzler" in the West, its demolition stands for the  constant transformation of Berlin: the city continues to move forward and with it the gastronomy that will always be subject to current tastes.