There are few, if any other, cities on the planet with such an extravagant, decadent night life scene as Berlin. The nights in the German capital start late and last long, very long. In fact, many of Berlin’s most notorious night clubs stay open non-stop from Friday night till Monday morning. So, anyone planning a night out in Berlin needs to bring tons of energy. And no, drugs are not required (though not uncommon) – the thrill of going out in Berlin gives you enough natural energy to last the night, promised!
Many of the most (in)famous night clubs in Berlin are located on abandoned industrial sites and have been turned into free zones in which often anything and everything is possible. It’s exactly this sense of freedom that makes going out in Berlin so special and exciting. To preserve this authentic vibe, many night clubs operate a very strict door policy – visitors that look too much like outsiders are often denied entree. Speaking from experience (I was turned down quite a few times when I first moved to Berlin), these are the six things you should do in order to increase your chances of getting in:
- Dress up (or rather down) like a Berliner
Locals tend to get in easier, so try to dress like a Berliner. The I-just-came-out-of-bed-but-I-don’t-care look, that is.
- Queue by yourself
Bouncers in Berlin detest large groups. So, if you really want to get in, queue by yourself, or maybe just one or two other people.
- Speak some German
Pretending you’re from Berlin by speaking some German helps. ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ won’t do though…
- Don’t take pictures
Taking pictures outside or inside is a no-go in most night clubs. Because 1) they’re not tourist attractions (or at least, they don’t consider themselves as such) and 2) Germans, and Berliners in particular, really value their privacy. If you’re seen taking a picture chances are you don’t get in or will get kicked out.
- Bring enough cash
Make sure you bring enough cash money because most bars and night clubs in Berlin don’t accept cards. You wouldn’t want to make it all the way to the entrance after having queued for an hour and then not having enough cash on you…
- Go clubbing at an unusual time
Some Berlin night clubs are open from Friday night all the way through Monday morning. So, if you want to avoid the crowds and increase your chances of getting in, go out during the day!
So, which are the wildest places to go out to in Berlin? Here’s a list of ten night clubs I think best represent the diversity of Berlin’s night life scene.
Number one on many lists and for a reason. This legendary Berlin institution is based inside a huge former power plant in a desolated area between KreuzBERG and FriedrichsHAIN (get it?) and is home to some of the city’s most hedonistic parties. The club includes a massive main dance floor, a smaller and more intimate one (Panorama Bar), a breakfast bar, and a kinky men-only space called Lab Oratory. Berghain can house up to 1,500 people, yet don’t expect to get in easily. The queues are usually very long and the club’s infamous bouncer is ruthless.
Berghain: Am Wriezener Bahnhof
Turned down at Berghain? You might want to try your luck at nearby Kater Blau, a desolated factory turned nightclub that mainly plays techno and deephouse. Again, their door policy is very strict though, but once you’re inside this place with its wonderful art installations is a feast for the senses.
Kater Blau: Holzmarktstrasse 25
Across the river in Kreuzberg, this is techno with a more commercial vibe. With amazing lightning and a riverside terrace Watergate is a great place for a Berlin-style party.
Watergate: Falckensteinstrasse 49
A night at Sisyphos is quite an experience. Located in an old factory in Rummelsburg, it’s quite hard to get to (often there are shuttle buses from and to Ostkreuz station), but once there you’ll be awed by the venue and the vibe. With a large outdoor chilling area surrounded by various rooms, Sisyphos feels more like a festival than a club.
Sisyphos: Hauptstrasse 15
Club der Visionäre
Still got energy on Sunday afternoon? Then head to Club der Visionäre. This rustic waterside club in Kreuzberg is well-known for its Sunday afternoon electronic music parties.
Club der Visionäre: Am Flutgraben
House of Weekend
House of Weekend is located on the last two floors of an old office tower next to Alexanderplatz. A minimalist interior with stunning views of central Berlin, the club usually plays house and techno. On Sundays it’s home to a popular LGBT party called GMF where they play more commercial music.
House of Weekend: Alexanderstrasse 7
Another one in a former factory. Located in the heart of Kreuzberg, Ritter Butzke has various quirky rooms and plays electronic music as well as live gigs. Its entrance policy is quite relaxed, so if you’re unlucky elsewhere, this is a safe bet.
Ritter Butzke: Ritterstrasse 26
Salon zur Wilde Renate
Nights at Wilde Renate feel a bit like a big house party: the setting of this electro club in Friedrichshain is homely and quirky, the atmosphere is relaxed and there’s a nice outdoor space for some fresh air. A Berlin classic!
Salon zur Wilde Renate: Alt-Stralau 70
Just outside dodgy Ostkreuz station you’ll find ://about blank, a formerly illegal club in a run-down building. In the two indoor spaces they mainly play house and techno and in the summer there’s often a DJ playing in the garden as well.
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Housed in a former grain mill in Neukölln, Griessmühle is known for its marathon parties with underground electronic music. There are three floors as well as some funcky tree houses outside.
Griessmühle: Sonnenallee 221