Badfish Angry Hour Beckons Berlin’s Barflies
By Andrew Cottrill . March 2, 2020
Respite from the world with a 2€ beer and a bar-long conversation.
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. At Badfish Friedrichshain, they don’t just know my name – I’ve got a tab programmed into the till.
The time between 17-19Uhr where beers are 2€. The perfect time to decide the day is already over.
Away from the glow of laptop screens and into the glower of the candle-lit dank, that’s where I find my home. And Badfish Friedrichshain feels like an extension of my apartment, especially between the hours of 17-19Uhr.
Picture the scene: you’re sat at the bar. No, that’s wrong – you’re placed at the bar, installed, spread out on a canvas of cigarette packets and tobacco pouches. You lean back and grip the oak of the bar, it’s solid, reassuring, experienced. You look along its length to your fellow barflies, their faces illuminated in the candlelight; some familiar, some strange, some laughing conspiratorially, others bent forward, concentrating on themselves.
A friendly face emerges in the half-light before you, out from behind the gold-gleaming beer taps, between the flickering gloom and the rows of back-lit spirit bottles. It’s Paddy, it’s Gigi, on Tuesdays it’s Myles and sometimes (just sometimes) it’s Trev. Their question is always the same: Helles? (as if they didn’t already know), and I’ve never been more comfortable.
If you don’t get a stool at the bar, you may as well go home. Because sitting along the Angry Hour bar feels the best place in the world. A right of passage for Berlin’s longstanding non-9-5ers – freelancers, night-workers, system drop-outers, musicians, artists, convicted hackers, 4-hour workweekers – all those to whom time no longer matters. They’re all almost-famous, big in Japan, sometimes infamous.
Conversations rise and burst as the barflies swarm and disperse. Through the smoke and the Queens of the Stone Age guitar solos, a bawdy joke rings out: “The problem is that my girlfriend’s birthday is the same day as my granddad’s. I’m very close to him so it’s always hard to choose – who do I spend the day with? The person I lost my virginity to, or my girlfriend?”
Guffaws meet groans and the conversation moves onto graffiti artist ‘Clit’, who’s stamped his name all over Warschauer Strasse and is now spreading south on the U1. “You can see by his bad can-control that he’s new to it – probably 16-17 years old (and definitely male), but the speed he’s moved from tags to throw-ups shows that he’s ambitious and trying to make his name.”
Debates rattle on – about nothing at all and everything at once – and the inner-workings of the Angry Hour denizens come to light, all looking to share, laugh away and find comfort in the ever-closing window of cheap beer. Myles, Gigi, Paddy and co. fuel it all with good humour, insightful understanding and the soothing balm of a free Jameson shot or two.
Taking a stale-air breath, you find a deep, soulful moment of peace – both content to talk and content to not. Content to share and content to forget. You’ve found connections, friends, a social safety net. You’ve also got your eye fixed on the clock.
A waning candle flickers its last before burning itself out. A new Helles arrives and you cheer the bar, glasses raised in a moment of shared, wicked glee. It’s only 6pm and most people are just leaving work for the evening, but for those who share the Angry Hour bar, it’s always night and the feverish abandon that comes with it.
Photos: Sandra Juto
Angry Hour, 17-19Uhr
Krossener Str. 18