Reitschule is a place with a thousand names and a million faces. For some it is the single most important hotspot for alternative culture in the city, probably the county, maybe even the continent — a rare space without an urge for consumption and with the much needed proof that young people still care for politics and a refuge for people in need.
For others it is an eyesore, a legal vacuum, a marketplace for illegal drugs, a theme park for bullies and the environment where their sons and daughters learn to smoke pot and break windows. Both views might be exaggerated; still the old Tim-Burtonesque riding school is without doubt the most interesting spot in the city. I frequently visit the club in the attic, a fine place to see all kinds of music that never made it to the charts and – beside the restaurant – probably the only place even my parents would dare to go to.
In younger years I made the full tour though – got drunk at the smoky Rössli, watched films at the cinema in the old stables and joined the occasional political demonstration that shakes the local establishment and from time to time would end up in clouds of teargas. Slightly hidden there is also a LGBTI-Club, a printing facility, a bookstore, a theatre etc. etc. So if you plan to go there – which I warmly recommend – breathe in, stay cool, be prepared for anything, kindly refuse everything offered to you and enjoy Bern’s wild side!