I CAN’T RECALL THE FIRST TIME I FREQUENTED WOWSVILLE – FOR OBVIOUS REASONS – BUT I'VE ALWAYS MADE AN EFFORT TO DRINK THERE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE," SAYS MIKE WEST, LOCAL LEAD FRONTMAN FOR HARDCORE BAND SEEK NOTHING.
With an American take on classic-era rock ’n’ roll, Wowsville pays homage to the international punk movement that helped define Kreuzberg in the late 70s. Front and centre looking out onto the street, Wowsville comes across as just another rockabilly bar, with classic film posters on its walls. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find a record store hidden towards the back, a little gem packed full of meticulously curated collectables and newer seven inches.
Wowsville Records is a spot for the collector of niche vinyl, with a selection of garage, soul, jazz and punk, new and old. The walls are lined with the rarer items, first prints and classics, where Neu! and Charles Mingus sit next to one another, while the bins are stacked full with bargain soul singles. At night, the bar becomes a refuge for local rockers like West and his affiliates, with grungy DJs and drinks that keep being refilled throughout the night. "It is probably one of my favourite bars in Berlin – from the music, to the décor," West adds. "They pour Rollberg [an exceptional locally brewed beer] from the tap, and the bar staff are super-friendly, especially by Berlin’s standards!" As one of the best rock ’n’ roll bars in the city, it is hard not to imagine that, had it existed decades before, the likes of Iggy Pop would have sauntered through the doors from time to time.
Wowsville’s team, originally from New York City, also went an extra step towards bringing their culture to Berlin by opening a pizza joint over the road. Although now under new ownership, Villa di Wow still carries the same style, aesthetic and music taste from Wowsville. It is one of the very few legitimate spaces where you can get authentic New York-style pizza slices; arm-sized bendy crusts, with melted cheese and textbook American pepperoni.