In a nutshell:
-an ‘anti-modern coffee shop’: laptops are discouraged; chill here for as long as you want; sit next to strangers
-come here for the finest al fresco brunch setting you can get
-a welcomed retreat: step into their tranquil courtyard and forget you’re in a bustling area
Having been in Berlin for a few days, I was itching to find a coffee shop that seemed to be ‘in the centre of things’. A few of the other coffee shops I had visited were a bit out of the way, so on my last afternoon I decided to base myself in the Mitte area, hunt down a coffee shop, then mooch around locally.
Fortunately the area has a plethora of coffee shop options, many of which seem world class standard (others vying for my attention were Bonanza Coffee and Five Elephant), but it was Father Carpenter that really caught my eye.
With a setting that might make you think you are in a Mediterranean oasis, Father Carpenter does as much for the soul as for the palate. As as soon you walk out of the busy street and through the arch into the courtyard, suddenly all becomes peaceful and you could be a million miles away from a city. There are tables outside at the front and inside there are two choices: the main cafe with usual indoor seating, or their ‘takeout’ next door which has high tables, suiting solo coffee-drinking/working (note: no laptops on Saturdays or busy days – it is not a co-working space.)
…the vision for Father Carpenter is one of care, one of guidance and warmth, and I do hope it and its values will continue to provide solace and joy here for years to come.
I loved the coffee here. It is not too bitter, not too floral, not too sweet – it’s easy-going and very drinkable. For me this is ideal, especially when pairing with brunch. The beans are by Fjord coffee which is run by the owner of Father Carpenter, Kresten Thogersen.
The food here is excellent. Truly excellent. the menu choices all seem to have a slight quirk to them (cardamom porridge with coconut and caramelised white chocolate; sweet pea mash with lemon balm to name a few…see picture at bottom for full menu), but don’t be put off if you’re not used to these combinations – they are well judged, easy on the palate and truly delicious. Note their bread is Albatross which is a local bakery specialising in artisan bread (it’s delicious).
Interview with the owner, Kresten Thogersen…
I asked Kresten, the owner of Father Carpenter, about the relevance of the name. He said it comes as homage to his dad, who is a carpenter:
‘Wood is warm and we want our service to be warm too, and a father is a figure of guidance and we also want our service to be like that too…engaged and wanting to help’.
Kresten opened the cafe on January 27th 2015, having started as a coffee cart the year before. He explained the history of the building and courtyard:
‘It was a heavily Jewish district up until Nazi Germany changed that. Part of our building was a fabrik and another was a butcher. Obviously a lot of time has passed…’
I couldn’t think of a more perfect antidote than this cafe to the darker side of history that this building represents. Kresten’s vision for Father Carpenter is one of care, one of guidance and warmth, and I do hope it and its values will continue to provide solace and joy here for years to come.
All in All
Father Carpenter somehow manages to weave a magic spell. Of course it does coffee very well; it does food very well; but what I will never work out is the secret behind its mastery at atmosphere-creating. When I walked out through the arch and back on the street again, feeling ten times taller and twenty times more relaxed, I carried on me a smug face, happy with the knowledge of this little secret place I now know, and a paradise that waits for those who care to seek it.
Things to know:
-Opening times: 9-6pm (Mon-Fri); 10-6pm (Sat); Closed (Sun); 10-4pm (Holidays)
-Kitchen open: 9-3:30pm (Mon-Fri); 10-4:30pm (Sat)
-Alternative milk options available, inc. Oatly
Recommended things to do near by:
–Dean and David for superb salads
-Shops (if you’re into channelling your caffeine high into clothes shopping, they have a great selection of shops on the same street, including And Other Stories)
-The Panorama of the Berlin Wall right next to Checkpoint Charlie
–Tiergarten for a green escape right in the city centre