The best of Berlin in March

Exberliner, Berlin’s leading English-language magazine, in March develops the trust of a doorman, gets bent, and finds an erotic shop for ladies.

The best of Berlin in March
Photo: Exberliner

In doorman we Trust

Trust Bar is the lovechild of a handsome trio: Cookie and Marcus Trojan, the owners of two of Berlin’s most famous clubs – Cookies and Weekend, respectively – and photographer Sascha Kramer. Unsurprisingly they’re keen that it remains a secret place, i.e. a place for desirable people, people you know or want to know, the typical Berlin thing. Of course the entrance is totally inconspicuous, situated on a dirty patch of Torstraße. Don’t get discouraged by the dark door. Ring the bell and peep through the hole: you’ll see the light switch on. Then wait for somebody to open the door and let you in… if you look appropriate, it goes without saying. The interior is rough meets cosy, shabby yet fancy. Imagine one of your flatmates suddenly won the lottery and put it all into a smart makeover of the WG’s living room. The walls are raw and messy, with a little gold paint in places. The light flickers, but that’s what it’s meant to do. Sit or lie down on the central futon, have a chat about life and enjoy the music. Now you’re having the ‘Trust experience’. Since single glasses are not an option here, you’ll have to trust everyone and share in that very Berlin spirit of calculatedly unpretentious exclusivity and togetherness. Go for a small bottle (2cl) of the home-brand vodka: Trust red label starts at €22 with two soft drinks, and it’s €10 more for the black-labeled variety. Or if you’re feeling decadent and rather flush, sample the champagne: a bottle of Ruinard rosé will set you back €160. Cash-strapped Trustees should stick to the soft drinks or hope for someone to be in that merry, sharing mood encouraged here, a mood that evidently extends to the bathroom concept: each individual toilet is separated by sliding doors, so bathroom buddies are free to pop over for conversation, a peak at their neighbor’s leak, or sharing of some other sort.

TRUST BAR | Torstr. 72, Mitte, U-Bhf Rosenthaler Platz, Tue-Sat from 8 pm

Get bent

Now here’s a publication by women and for women, or at least by and for women who are queer-leftist-artist-feminists, or some variation on the theme. Bend Over, the Berlin-based semi-annual journal of feminism, sexuality and queer art, just published its fifth edition and is currently available at 13 Berlin locations, as well as in major cities around the globe. The provocative publication is the work of editor Ena Schnitzlbaumer, aka dj Metzgerei, and photographer Goodyn Green. What began as Soapzine morphed into Bend Over in 2010, dropping the suds and getting a little dirtier. Highlights of recent issues include stills from the video work Community Action Center by A.K. Burns and A.L. Steiner depicting playful food-fetishists of indefinable genders; an interview by Berlin underground icon Mad Kate with photographer Nikkol Rot that feels like eavesdropping on an intimate talk between artists; and an open dialogue with readers about menstruation that describes reconnecting with your body by using a cup to collect the blood. An escapade through the often-omitted realms of female sexuality, Bend Overdoesn’t shy from blatant exposure of its themes, if at times it can feel like a tool to promote a tight group of engaged provocateurs.

BEND OVER | The Fall/Winter 2010 issue is out now. More info at

Girls’ toys

Screw the quotas: real women’s empowerment starts with our right to enjoy sex at least as much as any man. For almost 10 years, La Luna has been catering to fun-seeking, sex-eager Berlinerinnen with an endless collection of sex toys, DVDs, erotic literature and magazines, raunchy lingerie and other steamy playthings. You can find a nice selection of vibrators and dildos in all price ranges (from €7.50, up to €275 at the high end), as well as manifold geisha balls (some of her best-sellers), and even bio-lubricants and edible bio-massage oils. Owner Sabine Tolksdorf is also a bit of a Prenzlauer Berg Dr. Dot, always available to answer your questions, make recommendations and educate the clueless female with her savvy and sex books. There is a very lesbian-friendly soft- and hard-core porn DVD collection, and for the true kinkettes out there, there’s a selection of fetish gear, whips and handcuffs. Women of all sexual persuasions, men and couples welcome; La Luna is the perfect neighbourly alternative to the slick, fashionista vibe of sex mega-stores like Fun Factory.

LA LUNA FRAUENEROTIKLADEN | Dunckerstr. 90, Prenzlauer Berg, U-Bhf Eberswalder Str., Tel 030 4432 8488,, Mon-Fri noon-8 pm, Sat noon-6pm

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EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.