One of the particular features of Berlin is its ‘Späti culture’. ‘Späti’ or ‘Spätkauf’ is a type of late-night shop that is opened is 24/7 and where you can get a large selection of drinks, food, cigarettes, or just a toothbrush.
Späti’s are omnipresent in Berlin, and every Berliner has his or her own Späti of trust. After work or in the weekend, a visit to your local Späti is a must-do. It’s almost a family visit. The Späti owners are mostly people who run their Späti with true love and passion. At your Späti of trust, people know each other by name. Some Späti’s are even covered in Polaroid snapshots of their regular costumers, or people who are living in the ‘Kiez’ (neighborhood). It’s kind of a Wall of Fame, made by the owner of the Späti.
Many urbanites know the phenomenon bar-hopping in which you patronize a series of bars at night, but in Berlin the locals are into Späti-hopping. How does Späti-hopping work? Usually you meet with a group of friends at one Späti and attend a couple of Spätis in one Kiez.
The special thing about is that people from all backgrounds in the Kiez are enjoying each other’s company. A Späti functions as a living room for the neighborhood. During a conversation with your friends the casual customers are passing by and you never know what happens next. Especially in summer, Späti-hobbing is a unique combination of enjoying the summerbreath and meeting your neighbours in middle of the actually anonymous city.