Amid the seemingly nonstop flow of wild events in 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the start of the next bitcoin bull run and copycat bacon cheeseburger token scams (more on that later), the legendary Room77 has now officially closed for good. The Room77 was the first brick-and-mortar business to accept bitcoin. You could pay for your drinks, burgers and for a slightly overpriced hot chocolate (more on that later, too).
I would visit the “Room” several times a year while visiting Berlin and have probably paid for some — now quite expensive — burgers and drinks. Sometimes I would go early if a friend of mine was working the bar and watch the place slowly fill up.
Many saw this closure coming, but did not want to accept the cold, hard truth and instead dreamt of better times, when warm beer, cold women and fast food made slow could be found at Graefestraße 77 Berlin. While many others were surprised, we all will have to come to terms with the reality of a world without Room77. But a few questions remain including: Where will people be able to buy beer, rum and burgers with bitcoin? Did Room77 go anywhere? And what was Room77 anyway?
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In a time before Bitcoin, a time before blockchain devs flocked to the cheap flats and office spaces of the former East Berlin, Room77 was launched into eternity.
In those dark ages, Berlin tourist bus drivers did not want to stop in the hood of Kreuzburg out of fear that their curious tourists might go the wrong way, or that the rims of the bus would be quickly removed and recycled at a nearby junk dealer. Just down the Graefestrasse, in Room77, musicians were joining into jam sessions, people were drinking cold drinks and a good time was being had by all. There were little to no problems with the Office of Administration keeping order (ordungsamt) and the noise down, as opposed to a pre-pandemic clamp down on a nearby Jazz Night that was happening every Sunday.