When we think of Berlin, the last things that come to mind are white-sand beaches and the sweet smell of jerk chicken. Then again, we usually have tunnel vision toward our beloved city’s infamous nightclub scene…so, at least we have an excuse. But look closer and you’ll see it there, smack dab in the middle of our axis of after-hours hotspots: Welcome to Yaam, our little slice of island utopia along the former Berlin Wall.
For us, Yaam is the perfect launching pad for a serious night of play. With a half pipe and a full court, this Jamaican paradise is a magnet for skaters and basketball players, both casual and serious. If you need a good shot in the head before hitting the town, fear not, you can even take boxing lessons here. Then again, if you’re in a more leisurely mood, meander over to the volleyball pitch to watch the long-legged ladies lunging around to your heart’s content. The only danger here is having a little sand sprayed in your beer.
If Berlin is the capital of the graffiti world (and we Berliners think it is), then Yaam is the capital of the Berlin graffiti scene. Workshops, forums and contests propel the art of graffiti from lame tag-in-the-night fare to the world-class graffiti talent that rules our colourful city.
And when it’s time to lay down a solid base for the night ahead, feast on the okra, pig feet, oxtail and plantains. Wash it down with some ginger beer and heavy dose of reggae.
When the sun goes down, we’re just a stone’s throw from three of Berlin’s hottest nightspots--Katerholzig (an outdoor venue across the river with multiple stages), Berghain (the most famous techno/electro club in Europe) and Salon Zur Wilden Renata (a weird and wild, and formerly illegal, underground club). All are familiar to the After Hours Athletes of Berlin, but our favourite is Renata. Now officially licensed--but still very un-commercial--it pulls in the best of the Berlin DJs every night, making it the perfect spot for those of us who tend to find ourselves unwilling or unable to call it quits and go to sleep after a day at the beach. Call it just another day in the (transplanted) tropics.