Facciola is a type kind of pasta. It can be found only in a hard to reach village, somewhere in Italy. The recipe is passed down from grandmother to granddaughter, where she has to keep it in her crotch until it’s her turn to pass it on. The ingredients of the rare Facciola pasta are sourced from a magical forest where only carbs can grow, and you won’t taste its true, mind-blowing flavors until you’ve had twelve to fifteen shots of Limoncellos.
Ah, you got me. I made all of that up. Facciola isn’t a pasta, although it sounds reasonable enough. Facciola is a state of mind. The state of mind of a person called Aurora Facciola, to be pedantic, but it’s proven to be contagious.
Facciola – a name that sounds like a perfect example of onomatopoeia – is also, conveniently, the name of Auroras wine bar on Forster Straße.
The Facciola state of mind
But what is the #facciolastateofmind? Well, any good marketing person (I am potentially a very good marketing person, unless I’m marketing my own stuff) will tell you that hashtags symbolize L I F E S T Y L E S, but any lifestyle also brings certain social rules and boundaries with it.
- First of all, to get Facciola in the head, you must drink wine. A lot of it. Then you must also drink Limoncello, but it is absolutely forbidden to drink either by yourself, you MUST drink with the whole bar, and that includes all the other guests and the staff and potentially the neighbors and call your friends, too.
- Follow everything you say with an enthusiastic alora, but generally try to switch between speaking German and English as much as you can.
- Eat all of the aperitivo snacks. Come back for more.
- High five Sebastian, he will be the hungover one behind the bar. He will also complain that I didn’t mention him in my first draft of this article, so I had to rewrite it. THANKS man.
Anyway, those are the rules, and they are pretty straightforward.
It’s taken a little bit more than a year for me to appreciate the inconspicuous new wine bar in an otherwise desolated street of my neighborhood. I was still mourning the closing of my favorite breakfast place in the world, Atlas, in the same spot that Facciola is today.
But to be honest, it wasn’t the wine or the Gnocchi or the Lasagna that won my heart (although the Lasagna specifically played a big role): Facciola is special because Aurora and her team are permanent fixtures in the place, they breathe soul and life and a little bit of dolce vita into an otherwise more and more interchangeable nightlife scene in Kreuzberg.
Sure, there are really cool and conceptual and interesting places around Kreuzberg, restaurants and bars that are well designed, with the finest cooking and the most premium selection of wines, but every visit somehow takes place in a social vacuum.
Full anonymity, with a 8:2 tourist to local ratio, meaning you will never meet the same person twice at the same bar or at the same restaurant. I think one of the biggest complaints among my circle of friends is that “you can’t go anywhere anymore”, which doesn’t mean that tourists aren’t welcome, but that it’s become harder and harder to find your place in the middle of all those strange people. They are not part of your neighborhood, they are not residents in your streets – they come and they go, and that’s great, but I miss the places where I can go and know what (and whom) to expect.
I just like being a regular among other regulars. I like when people chat with me about their day and their lives, sit down to talk about the latest gossip, and treat me like I’m part of their big restaurant family. And that’s what Facciola’s been all about to me.
Here, neighbors often stop by to say hi to Aurora, who is not just a great host but also a great entertainer (not surprising, considering she used to be an actual entertainer). Although this is her first enterprise in the hospitality business, it feels as if she’s been doing this forever, with a big smile and an even bigger laugh and a wholesome thunderstorm of Italian curses.
Meanwhile, every German person is trying not to choke on their Hellos. Goddamn those gifted Italians.