Bar “Myśliwska” Berlin
Berlin, Friday 9th August 1996. Janek Warski, a Polish immigrant wanted to celebrate the start of the weekend with a few friends. Like many Polish citizens at the time Janek Warski was living in the suburb of Kreuzberg on the edge of West Berlin, an area where no one – apart from immigrants, refugees, students and artists – wanted to live. On that evening he paid a visit to his friends in Kirchstraße 4 in the suburb of Wedding. Three Polish street musicians lived in the murky apartment at the back of the house. They sat together for a long time, telling each other about Poland and Berlin, their past and their hopes for the future. It was almost dawn when Janek returned home. His journey back to Taborstraße led from the underground station “Schlesisches Tor” by foot along Schlesische Straße. Here he stopped briefly in front of number 35, magically drawn by the name of a bar: “Myśliwska”. This was the first time he had seen the name and he immediately went inside for his last beer of the night. When he ordered the beer the barkeeper gave him a Polish beer. In the background he could hear some music; a Polish hit “Nigdy więcej” by Piotr Szczepanik. Janek Warski looked out of the window of the small Kreuzberg bar, thinking about his Polish Berlin. Sometimes it’s the small things that make us think about larger issues. “Myśliwska” was indeed small: two rooms, a wooden bar with a golden counter. The walls were painted dark green and showed visible signs of wear. The decor was in the style of a hunting inn: which explains the name “Myśliwska”.
“Myśliwska” was officially opened on 1st December 1990. The initiator and manager was the Polish artist Witold “Witek” Marcinkiewicz, who had been living in Berlin for years and had realised his dream of running a place called “Myśliwska”. He found the rooms in the suburb of Kreuzberg: they had previously been used as a restaurant. The opening in December 1990 was a huge success. One of the reasons for this was that there was no comparable place in the city where Poles could identify themselves with Berlin. “Myśliwska” quickly became a meeting place for Polish artists in Berlin as well as for other artists in the neighbourhood, students and dropouts. And alongside the Polish manager, the Polish beer and the Polish music, every Thursday there were Polish pies, pierogi, made by “Pani Ewa”. Frau Ewa was the soul of the bar and always had an open ear for all the people who met up in “Myśliwska”. After more than ten years Witold Marcinkiewicz decided to give up running “Myśliwska” for health reasons. But the spirit of “Myśliwska” lived on, and still does so today. This is also due to the barkeeper who has been present from the very start: the Berlin photographer Tom Neubauer.
It is now over two decades since “Myśliwska” opened its doors but it is still an important meeting place for Kreuzberg artists, neighbours, ordinary folks looking for a good night out and tourists who are constantly searching for a piece of “genuine Berlin”.
At least once a year“Myśliwska” is transformed once more into the small, new and still unknown bar in 1990. Every year the people who run “Myśliwska” hold a huge party on 1st December to commemorate its opening, Polish Berlin, and Witold “Witek” Marcinkiewicz’s original idea.