1961-1964 Construction of a cult icon
Cafe Moskau one of 7 international restaurants to be built based on Josef Strauß’s designs as part of a town-planning competition. It formed the centre of the first socialist residential complex on Karl-Marx-Alle, which was still called Stalinallee until 1961. The prestigious building was to symbolise the fraternal relations between the GDR and the Soviet Union, and provide insights into Russia’s culinary and cultural customs.
<ahref=”http://www.bild.bundesarchiv.de/archives/barchpic/search/?search[form][SIGNATUR]=Bild+183-C0211-0006-001” target=”_blank” title=”Link zum Digitalen Bildarchiv des Bundesarchivs”>Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-C0211-0006-001 / Fotograf: Weiß</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/legalcode” target=”_blank”>Lizenz CC-BY-SA 3.0</a>
Indication of source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-C0211-0006-001 / Fotograf: Weiß / Lizenz CC-BY-SA 3.0
|15 January 1964 opening – “Dobro pozhalovat!”
From then on, guests of Cafe Moskau were able to enjoy Russian meals, sip a mocha at the bar, indulge in some dancing, or see out the evening in the late-night basement bar. Small souvenirs from the Soviet Union could be purchased from the “Natasha” handicrafts shop, while the comfortable interior gave visitors a feeling of exclusivity and uniqueness. Cafe Moskau was a popular meeting place for black-market activities and espionage.
The life-size imitation Sputnik today continues to adorn the entrance, and served to illustrate the Soviet Union’s progressiveness. It was a gift from the USSR ambassador.
|1982-1987 Renovation – Changing with the times
Cafe Moskau’s interior was completely redesigned by Gerd Pieper. The transparency and openness of the light-filled rooms from the 1960s gave way to current trends. From an architectural perspective, this was a step back into the 1950s. Everything was rendered warmer and cosier, rooms were split, and height reduced.
<ahref=”http://www.bild.bundesarchiv.de/archives/barchpic/search/?search[form][SIGNATUR]=Bild+183-1985-0917-331” target=”_blank” title=”Link zum Digitalen Bildarchiv des Bundesarchivs”>Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1985-0917-331 / Fotograf: Peer Grimm</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/legalcode” target=”_blank”>Lizenz CC-BY-SA 3.0</a>
Indication of source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1985-0917-331 / Fotograf: Grimm / Lizenz CC-BY-SA 3.0
|1989/1990 Reunification – Progress and standstill
Cafe Moskau was heritage listed in 1989, and thus permanently protected as a cultural asset. Restaurant business ceased in 1994.
|2000 The heyday of party culture
Cafe Moskau started being used actively again around the turn of the millennium, with both the WMF Club and the legendary Sunday GMF parties enjoying great success here.
|2007 Restoration of old splendour
Nicolas Berggruen Holdings GmbH had the monument fully renovated, and the old 1960s charm restored. Since 2009, the legendary Cafe Moskau has been a multi-purpose meeting and events venue for up to 2400 people.
|2010 honor of a contemporary witness
The façade of Cafe Moskau received the special “National monument preservation prize” from the German Monument Protection Foundation. The mosaic “From the life of the people of the Soviet Union” was created by artist Bert Heller.
|2013 new Management for Cafe Moskau
Lisa Wege and Katajun Fakhoury became the property’s operators, running events at Cafe Moskau with their team.