Coffee Box „MOKA EFTI“

Thing of the Month January 2019
Coffee Box „MOKA EFTI“

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Coffee Box „MOKA EFTI“, Collection Werkbundarchiv - Museum der Dinge, 2018. Photo: Armin Herrmann

The first Thing of the Month in 2019 is the coffee box "MOKA EFTI". It probably dates back to the 1920s and could have been purchased in the at that time famous Moka Efti coffee house.

The Greek merchant Giovanni Eftimadis opened the head office in 1926 at the corner of Leipziger Straße and Friedrichstraße. When the Equitable Palace on the other side of the street was reopened and rebuilt for this purpose, however, he set new standards in Berlin's emerging entertainment gastronomy.

In addition to the café and dance house, the rooms of the coffee house accommodated a hairdressing salon, a fish restaurant, a chess hall, a billiard salon and a shorthand service.
Architecturally, new concepts were chosen. The coffee house was one of the first buildings in Berlin to have a publicly accessible escalator that attracted the crowds from the streets to the café.

The interior, in contrast, was designed in a historical orientalistic style. From the entrance hall, the visitors reached the other rooms via an imitated railway carriage. The coffee box - with golden and brown ornaments and the use of the term moka - also illustrates the romanticizing and eroticizing associations with "1001 Nights" and promoted the image of this extravagant place of Berlin's nightlife at that time.

Today, Moka Efti is best known for its appearance in the film series Babylon Berlin, whereas the original coffee house was neither a nightclub nor a brothel, contrary to the myth. The establishment in the Equitable Palace was destroyed by a bomb in 1943. The filming location for the Babylon Berlin series is the Delphi Cinema in Berlin Weissensee, which is now a listed building and opened in 1929.