Berlin neighbourhood considers banning Späti benches

Berlin neighbourhood considers banning Späti benches

The Berlin district of Pankow is considering banning outdoor seating at Spätis, but not before shop owners put up a fight.

Späti benches under threat in Berlin-Pankow

Sipping a beer on a bench outside of one of Berlin’s local Spätis is a sacred activity in the German city. A Späti beer on the way home from work, a Späti beer before the bar to save money, a Späti beer between the bar and the club, an Absacker Späti beer as a nightcap after the party and a Späti beer when you’re hungover the next day. 

The go-to place for a cheap hangout, some of Berlin’s Späti benches are now under threat after residents in Pankow have complained about locals getting too jolly downstairs from their flats. The district wants to ban seating in front of Spätis, with CDU politicians raising concerns that tipsy revellers are chatting too loud and peeing too much outside of front doors.

Pankow Späti owners say forget it

Unsurprisingly, many of Pankow’s Späti owners are against the suggestion, since benches mean steady custom for their local business and add to the relaxed environment so beloved in Berlin.

Should the policy go ahead, the Berlin Späti Association has announced plans to sue to local government in Pankow on the basis that such restrictions are not applied to similar businesses, such as small bars or shops, which often also have benches outside.

Thumb image credit: Mo Photography Berlin /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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