Berlin’s Late Shops and Kiosks: sunday shopping re-thought

Currently an online petition makes its round through Berlins newspapers, Berlin blogs and social media. The initiator claims she wants to ‘save’ Berlin’s Late Shop and Kiosk Culture. But wait – is Berlin’s Late Shop and Kiosk Culture really in danger? Maybe not quite yet. But…

As you might know already Berlin appears to be a bit more liberal towards some aspects of life, than other cities. Bars and clubs are basically allowed to close (or not to close) whenever they like, and Late Shops, Night Shops and Kiosks (“Späti” or “Spätverkauf”) can sell alcohol after regular shops are already closed for the day.

Of course Spätis don’t only sell alcohol. The offer may very from shop to shop – often you’ll find a variety of products for everyday use such as tooth brushes, milk, newspapers – and of course also beer, wine, and the like. But (now it comes) alcohol is not to be sold on sundays and other ‘holy days’ between 7 am. and 4 p.m.. What? Yep. That’s at least what I just learnt. Späties selling drinks, be it beer for a chill in the park, be it sparkling wine for brunch, are risking to be shut down by Berlin’s ‘Ordnungsamt’. But (now it comes) gas stations and ‘Mini Malls’ in train stations are not affected by this law (Berliner Ladenschlussgesetz) and may sell bews all sunday long.

Often local ‘Kiez’ Late Shops are privately owned and run by locals. Some exist for generations – I personally know one legendary late night shop that is run by the grand-son of the original owner. The shop keepers work crazy hours – and sunday shopping is important for ’em – be it alcohol or not.

Now some politician from Berlin’s conservative party CDU are suggesting it would be a good idea not to sell alcohol after 10 p.m. – at all. This would then again also affect gas stations and even fast food stands.

While I am aware that alcohol is actually a drug and may have negative effects on health and social life,  I find it personally highly annoying that ‘they’ think ‘they’ can tell Berlin city when and where to buy and/or drink alcohol. I’m not the type of guy that drinks drinks on sundays – but that’s not the point. I wanna keep my Späti! And I wanna keep my freedom! And I don’t want any conservative party politicians to f**k with that. This is why I signed the petition – and this is why I would recommend you sign it too.

> Save Berlin`s unique and popular Späti-culture! (scroll down for english version)

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