RAW 0 (0)

This is not a review of a single bar, but more of an area I stumbled upon. The Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk (RAW) is the old repair terrain for the trains during the DDR reign. The area contains numerous run down buildings, and is completely covered by grafiti. No worry here if you shout your lungs out. Or try a bit of frustrated beer bottle smashing.
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Paule’s Metal Eck 0 (0)

From the outside this heavy metal bar kind of looks intimidating. I opened the door ready to meet some real hard rockers, and some loud music. Little of that really. This crowd is mixed, consisting of a lot of foreignors. In between, I encountered some local rockers and some alternative punkers. The interior is dark, some weird sculptures on the walls, a pool table, and a table for the regulars.
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Blues Bar Traubka 0 (0)

Brno is Czech Republic’s second largest city. However, there are not many things to do, except for going to the old castle of Spylberg and ofcourse get drunk in the one and only, number one sleazy bar of the world: Traubka.
You will locate the bar in a street where you can hardly imagine there’s anything at all. At number 8 you will see a big brown door. Yes, it really looks like there’s nothing there. You must now thump on the door, or even kick the door half in before someone will open it.
When you are in you will find yourself all the way back in time in the late eighties/eary nineties of Czech Republic. When the Communist times had just disappeared and created this political vacuum, which opened a lot of possibilities for progressive people. Through communist times bars tried to manifest thermselves in these kind of half secret ways. It’s dark, it’s full of smoke and full of typically long-haired drunk Czechs who can drink like you’ve never seen before.
It has a really raw feeling and you can even get Czech stinky cheese (also a lot more food, which you would never have expected.) next to your beer to make everyhting sleazier, and sleazier. Oh and did I forget to mention that their speciality is the 70% Absinth!

Here are some random reviews I found:

Once upon a time I was a fixture at Traubka. I love pissing in that sink looking urinal. The disemboweled piano on the ceiling is a nice touch. Pity the man/woman who needs to unload their bowels in one of those toilets. I’ve long said that anyone who has had the decided displeasure of taking a dump a Traubka should be awarded with a t-shirt attesting to the feat. Otherwise you can drink beer and smoke dope and no one will bother you, except for the odd junkie or two. Haven’t been there in years, maybe it’s time to go back…

ok – if you like smelling of stale cigarettes and urine.

If you’re coming to Brno, Traubka is a must!

Berghain 0 (0)

Berghain is a Berlin nightclub, named after its location on the border between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain.

Philip Sherburne has described it as “quite possibly the current world capital of techno. The club is located in a former power plant in Friedrichshain, behind the Berlin Ostbahnhof railway station.

The building is distinguished by its enormous dimensions, which accommodate an 18 meter high dancefloor and space for 1500 guests, and also its minimalist interior design, dominated by steel and concrete.

The club contains a “cavernous” main room, as well as a smaller upstairs space called the Panorama Bar, which is decorated by enormous Wolfgang Tillmans photographs and tall windows with a view of East Berlin. Only half of the building is currently in use.

It opens on friday and won’t close untill monday!

Ruigoord 0 (0)

The artistic and cultural roots of Ruigoord go back to the early sixties. Late sixties rolled a wave of innovation over the Western world. This movement became known as the student movement and the hippie and flower power movement.
It was the time of the power to the imagination.
Netherlands had its own local precursors into the Provo movement and the Amsterdam scene artists.
Provo and related groups such as Deskundologisch Laboratory, Insect sect, and the Amsterdam Balloon Company argued since the early sixties artistic and entertaining manner the major social issues of the time at issue.
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Genevieve 0 (0)

Queen of sleazy bars

Let me say this about that.

Part of what makes a great sleazy bar is the cross-cultural, mixed bag, mongrel ethnicity of it’s patrons. It is, at the same time, the best and worst examples of the human species. If it is true that the patrons of “Genevieve’s Bar” in Singapore were made in God’s own image, then judgement day is going to be a really interesting affair.

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Bierhalle Wolf 0 (0)

Let me say this about that.

Someone once said that: “Old bars never die, they just smell that way.” But, lets be honest. Which would you prefer …….. the dank, musty smell of an old sleazy bar, or of say, a dentist office? That’s what I thought.

There is one sleazy bar, however, that may never die. And like most true institutions in Europe, it measures it’s age in centuries. So, aficionado’s of sleazy bars, I give you the “Bierhalle Wolf”. As I am one of the world’s recognized experts on sleazy bars, I can certify that this is one of the planet’s greatest. “Bierhalle Wolf” is located on the banks of the Limmat River, just down stream from the lake in the old town section of Zurich, Switzerland. No one remembers how long this bar has been in this building, but I saw a cornerstone in the basement, where the ‘johns’ are located, with the date 1387….over 100 years before Columbus discovered America!

Before you could understand the reasons for this bar’s appeal, you must know a little about Zurich. When I started working there in the 80′s, Zurich was one of the most… tolerant places on earth. I remember walking through the park in the city center and watched as uniformed police officers handed out new needles to drug addicts to prevent the spread of AIDS. On the shores of Lake Zurich, there was a permanent kiosk that gave away free condoms to whomever asked for them after being approached by a ‘Pleasure Technican’. Although drug use and prostitution were technically illegal in Zurich, Swiss tolerance usually sought to help, rather than punish offenders. But, even with all this ‘debauchery’, there was NEVER any violence.

The first time I visited the ‘Wolf’ was in the dead of winter. As I approached the front door, I could hear loud polka music and a sound like horses galloping. I cautiously entered to see an eight piece brass ‘oompah band’ playing a German drinking song, much to the delight of the esoteric crowd of old men, kids, grandmothers, hookers, office workers, and six large young men with high powered rifles, who were stomping their rifle butts against the picnic table on which they were dancing. Everyone in the place was blasted, including the band.

I thought to myself: “Shambo, pinch yourself. You may be in heaven.”

I grabbed a seat at the back of the room and signalled a big-titted waitress to bring me a stein of beer. When she returned, a well developed sense of self-preservation required that I ask about the guys with the guns. She told me they were Swiss soldiers and (unlike the U.S.) they were required to carry their weapons everywhere they go, even while they are getting snokkered in a bar. Not being my first rodeo, I sent over a pitcher of beer as a precaution.

I woke up the next morning with the mother of all hangovers, but couldn’t wait to return to ‘the Wolf’. As I entered the bar around five o’clock that afternoon, I witnessed one of the most bizzare sights of my storied sleazy bar career. (author’s note: This scene is almost impossible to describe, so please be patient.)

The tuba player of this 8-piece brass ‘oompah band’ was playing the lead in their rendition of Jimmy Buffett’s Cheeseburger in Paradise. Jimmy Buffett played on the tuba ….. “Fraulein, bring beer NOW !!!

But what happened next cinched the “Bierhalle Wolf’s” place in the sleazy bar Hall of Fame. The trombone player wrapped his legs around the trumpet players neck and hung upside down while both continued their accompaniment of the inebrated Buffett-playing tuba player. As the trombone player moved the trombone’s slide back and forth it looked like the trumpet player had a giant brass penis that continually extended and retracted as they played on. An old woman stood up and approached the “giant reciprocating brass penis”, hiked-up her dress and sung out: “…… I like mine with lettuce and tomato.” The crowd went wild!

“Pinch yourself Shambo, you may be in heaven.”

And, that’s all I have to say about that.

Shambo

The Compleat Angler 0 (0)

Bimini’s second sleaziest bar

Let me say this about that.

With apologies to Humphrey Bogart “Of all the bars in all the world …… ” give me the sleazy ones (that last part was mine). Sleazy bars are home to a rare breed of animal that is comfortable with who they are, have no desire to change their station in life, good or bad, and are some of the most real people God ever put on this good earth. Sitting on adjacent bar stools in these establishments are millionaires, crooks, bums, homeless, movie stars, fishermen, politicians, and all manner of folk famous and infamous. But in a great sleazy bar, you can’t tell one from another. Such a place was The Compleat Angler located on Bimini Island in the Bahamas.

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The End of the World Saloon 0 (0)

World’s sleaziest bar. Let me say this about that.
I love sleazy bars. The people you meet in sleazy bars are unemcumbered by any pretension which allows you to immediately find the soul of a place. There are many classic sleazy bars around the world, although most of the really great ones are outside the U.S. My favorite is in the tiny village of Alicetown, on the island of North Bimini in the Bahamas, called The End of the World Saloon.

The End of the World can generously be described as a ‘dump’. It’s basically a small waterfront shack whose ‘bar’ is a large wooden ship’s door, stretched across two rum barrels. Chloe, the bartender, is a jolly… 350 pound Bahamian woman that defines ‘laid-back’. The bar has no A/C but the place stays cool, thanks to a sea breeeze blowing into an opening in the back wall, through to an opening in the front wall. The End of the World has no real doors. Large pieces of plywood are nailed over the front and rear openings when they close the place. In addition to Chloe, the other ‘regulars’ consists of the ‘town dogs’, who come in and lie on the sand floor to escape the midday Bahamian heat. No one is quite sure who the dogs belong to.

I have been to The End of the World many times but one occasion stands out. Four of us couples took a sea plane from Miami to Bimini for a weekend of debauchery. As usual, the first place we hit on arrival was The End of the World. As we approached the entrance, a large disleveled drunk, with a freaking rag mop on his head, blocked my way. I learned later his name was Stewart.

Stewart: “This is my bar and you can’t come in.”

Shambo: “Just hold on there Scooter. If you don’t get out of my face, I’m gonna take that rag mop off your head and shove it up your ass.”

Stewart: “It is my birthday, and this is my bar and you can’t come in.”

Shambo: “Oh, I’m coming in the bar and if you don’t want this to be your last birthday, you better get outta my way.”

I figured as long as I had three guys backing me up and Stewart didn’t have a platoon of Marines inside to rip our heads off, I could do my Chuck Norris act and get away with it.

Stewart: “Tell you what I’m gonna do. I’ll let you all in, but since it’s my birthday, you’re not allowed to pay for anything.”

Stewart instantly became my best friend and we drank like sailors for the rest of the afternoon. When we were ready to leave, Stewart reached into his pocket and gave Chloe a fistfull of Bahamian bills without bothering to count. I felt kind of bad because it was obvious Stewart was a bum and we probably just spent his life savings. But hey, I’m no angel either.

Stewart followed us out of the bar and started insisting that he show us his boat. Yeah, right. He kept on and on about this boat, so we figured he bought us drinks all afternoon, the least we could do is go look at some garbage scow. But as we were walking down the dock of this really upscale marina, we spotted this magnificent 72 foot sports fishing yacht with a couple of guys and four gorgeous women waving at Stewart. As we climbed onboard, drinks were served and our wives were offered a tour of this sports fishing yacht. Stewart called it a “fishing boat”, but the damn thing had a grand piano in the main salon.

I got to talking to one of Stewart’s friends on the boat and confirmed the boat REALLY was Stewart’s. I asked him if one of the bikinied hotties was Stewarts wife. His friend said no, they were hookers that Stewart had flown in on his jet for the celebration.

Shambo: “You mean for his birthday?”

Stewart’s friend: “No. I just bought Stewart’s company for $84 million and we decided to have a little party to celebrate.”

So, the moral of this story is: The next time you are in a sleazy bar and you meet a guy with a rag mop on his head ……… just what IS the moral of this story?

And, that’s all have to say about that.

Shambo