October 24 2009
Bettina von Hase
At the recent Berlin Art Forum, the city’s equivalent of Frieze art fair, I was invited to a Collectors Dinner for 180 by the German branch of the Rothschild bank; the event was held at Clärchens Ballhaus, a ballroom, restaurant and institution for Berliners since 1913. The event was stuffed with aristocrats and business tycoons in formal evening wear; I sat with Anna von Bayern (Anna of Bavaria), a newspaper journalist, and Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis’ brother Alexander von Schönburg.
The ballroom, which is in the Mitte district in the centre of Berlin, was named after the first owner’s wife, Clärchen, and remained in the family until 2004. In 2005, the management changed, and they opened the mirrored hall on the first floor; here, we ate tuna fillet, lamb with beans and truffles, and danced the night away.
During DDR times, the ballroom was in East Germany, and people of all ages queued up to dance there every night, a practice that has continued since unification 20 years ago. You, too, can hire the mirrored hall, a venue of dilapidated splendour, for your own celebrations. You will be hard pressed to find a more magnificent and atmospheric room. Capacity is for a dinner for up to 180 people.