On a dark side street in Friedrichshain by the railway viaduct, right next to the river before the land slips away into the Stralauer peninsula, you will find the Salon – Zur wilden Renate. The bar itself seems quite normal by Berlin standards, comfy mix and match furniture, a real fireplace, slightly quirky decorations, nothing too madcap – and nothing that would give you a hint of the mutli-level labyrinth below that seems like the brainchild of Tim Burton and Josef Fritzl.
Enter the bar and to the left of the door you will find the gatekeeper who explains to you in only rough ideas what you are about to experience. You may enter only alone! Do not take anything you don’t want to lose! No smoking! No drinks!
Once you agree to his pre-conditions and fork over ten euro, he’ll give you a large gold coin and exhort you not to lose it. He’ll leave you to get a drink and think over what’s going to happen next. At some point he’ll come over and take you by the hand and lead you to a door at the end of the bar. He’ll show you their statue of liberty and he’ll open the door for you.
And I can’t tell you anything else….. except if it gets tight, breathe.