This year Ruhrgebiet, an industrious region in western Germany, is Kulturhaupstadt (Culture Capital) at Ruhr 2010, an event created to celebrate the cultural and historical offerings of the cities in the area, including Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg, and Bochum.
When finding yourself in Dortmund, an industry and university town in Nordrheinwestfalen, Germany, you have a few choices on how to entertain yourself: there are a ton of crappy bars, cheap döner kebab stands, and several bewilderingly decorated clubs which pulse with the beat of European house music. Geil! (German for “super-duper”.) It is a great town, a real straight forward German city where people live and work and put on no show for tourists. Here, you avoid the glossy facade of the usual European Culture Capitals and you see a true picture of Germany uncluttered by souvenir stands.
Earlier, Dortmund was known for its many and varied beer breweries; at one point in the last century there were 30-odd breweries in town; today there are fewer but at one bar, they all come together in spirit, as well as quite literally, in your glass at least. Platz an der Sonne (in English: A Place at the Sun, or a Sunny Place, or Sun Space, etc—in any case, the irony is lost on no one) is an amazing, loud, cheap, sweaty, smoky, cheap, crowded, cheap bar in the German student tradition. It’s cheap, out of the way, a little hole in the wall tucked away behind something and under something else—you’d never find it without someone pointing it out to you. (That’s what I’m doing.) The night I was there, as rumor had it the town’s breweries were getting rid of the leftover beer sitting in the bottoms of all the barrels, mixing it into a delicious cocktail of various beers, creating something brave and new and cold and delicious enough for 1 euro. In your glass swirls the leftover beer from countless barrels and breweries in beautiful unity, a symbolic offering of the deutsche Einheit des Bieres.
Platz an der Sonne is the perfect place to get drunk if you have no money. Each day of the week there’s some special or another—Wednesday is 1 euro beer day, Thursday is some cheap cocktail day, Friday is probably 3 shots for 5 euros or something; regardless of the day there is some cheap way to get silly. It’s a great time! Lass uns mal da biertrinken alda!
Photos and text by: Ben Britz