Once upon a time…

Beginnings often remain vague. A certain Porath is said to have started serving beer at Kastanienallee 7 in 1837. But documents show that the Kalbo family purchased the establishment in 1852 and started developing it. This is when it evolved from a beer garden and outdoor café into a place of all-round enjoyment and leisure.

Initially located on the sandy edge of Berlin, the city soon developed its own version of the »café chantant«. Soubrettes could be seen on stage at Prater, and Mr. Kalbo started calling himself a »cafétier«.

Berlin's Prater only makes a brief appearance in police records from the period. Paul Kalbo is referred to as a »theatre promoter«. In 1867 he applied for a license to put on various forms of entertainment – which was only approved after two years of close inspection.

Meanwhile, the Pfefferberg brewery quietly took over the business, but the Kalbos remained in charge of Prater. They were able to use the financial muscle of the brewery to build an auditorium.

Approaching the turn of the century, the competition in the area grew fierce. Statistically there were four bars for every hundred families. This pub density was unique in Germany at the time.

Prater survived - according to Thilo Zantke's 1987 in-depth historical account of the venue - because it was a »public house, destination for day trippers, variety theatre, people's theatre, ballroom, garden and public gathering place« all at the same time.