berliner schnauze

I’ve amassed a nice collection of ‘berliner schnauze’ stories. I’ve also given up on the concept of ‘service’ here - politeness is clearly optional!


Some weeks ago, a few friends and I took a long, windy route from Treptower Park to Ostkreuz. The scenery was spectacular, but in the last stretch near Ostkreuz, we became desperately thirsty, so we walked into a restaurant in search of beer. We briefly checked out the menu, but quickly realized it was a largely food-only menu. As we were filing out of the restaurant, the waiter turned to one of my friends and sneered, “What, too expensive for you or something?”

We had our regretful moment of l’esprit d’escalier outside.


For post-badminton dinner, we’re always promising each other that the affair will be quick, that we won’t drink more than one beer, and that we’ll be home before midnight with just a smidgen of food greasing our stomachs. Unfortunately for my health, this never happens.

During one of these dinners, we decided on a pizza imbiss near Frankfurter Allee. The man at the counter seemed very displeased when we told him that we had a few more friends coming and that we’d like to put a table together, but he gave us permission to do so anyway. After we’d put two tables together, he came over and threw a dishtowel in our general direction, insisting that we clean the table.

Like an idiot, I picked up the dishtowel and started to say something with what little German I could remember during stressful occasions. My friends, however, were much more astute - they tossed the towel back, asked him what his problem was, and rushed me out the door.

Once outside, we gave up on staircase wit. Instead, we wrote down the name of the imbiss and comforted ourselves with the promise that we would put up scathing reviews on social media for all the world to see.


I was eating at a Caribbean restaurant with a fairly large group of people and a very pissed-off waitress. The guy sitting next to me ordered some type of bread, but the waitress who took down our orders got it wrong and she brought out a completely different dish. When the guy tried to explain that he had received the wrong thing, she got visibly frustrated. Then she turned to him and yelled, “You just have so many needs! This, that, everything! What’s wrong with this dish?”

Well, nothing, except that it’s the wrong dish.

I’m not sure if this is really ‘Berliner schnauze’ though, because she seemed genuinely pissed off. Everyone else seemed almost happy when they were insulting us.