Berlin - A comprehensive guide to the cultural metropolis of Europe : Part 2
Berlin - Nightlife
Berlin has possibly the best nightlife in the world. No other cities would allow someone to go out on Thursday night and come home on Monday afternoon. Berlin welcomes more than 3 million club tourists every year and it has recently declared that its clubs are now classed as ‘Cultural Institutions’.
The city has over 300 nightlife venues and there is a 24 hour partying culture whereby venues may open up for days on end, allowing clubbers to engage in marathon partying sessions every week.
In Berlin, clubs are more than just places to dance. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, they’ve come to represent freedom, self-expression and, of course, an escape from reality. This is particularly true of the city’s underground scene, where sonic experimentation, a DIY ethos and progressive politics have always gone hand in hand.
Sure, if you are looking for a typical bar or nightclub Berlin has plenty. Monkey Bar (https://www.monkeybarberlin.de) Budapester Straße 40 / 10. Stock, 10787 Berlin is a great cocktail bar with breathtaking views over Berlin, whilst the Matrix Club (https://www.matrix-berlin.de/en/), Warschauer Pl. 18, 10245 Berlin, Germany, is open 365 days of the year and is a hot spot for tourists.
However, if you want to experience the real Berlin nightlife, you must go to a techno club. Techno is the sound of Berlin and it is played everywhere - in parks, cafes, restaurants, bars and even taxis - Techno is the heartbeat of Berlin.
Berlin techno clubs operate a strict door policy to preserve the spirit of freedom and the safe environment inside for party-goers. They do this by assessing whether you have the ‘right vibe’ for the club. Essentially they are looking for people who are open minded and would feel comfortable in the club, as in many cases people have not researched where they are going and what to expect.
Many clubs like party-goers to wear casual, dark coloured comfortable clothing whereas other venues like clubbers to wear flamboyant, colourful and dazzling outfits to match their environment. Therefore it is essential that you research where you are going, which DJs will be playing and what the vibe is like inside to increase the likelihood of being accepted into the club.
A list of the best Techno clubs we recommend are as follows:
Best Techno Clubs in Berlin
World famous and very hard to get into. The name comes from its location - being in between Freidricshain and Kreuzberg. It is world famous for its strict door policy and its marathon techno parties which often last for days. Every weekend the club is open from Saturday at midnight and the party doesn’t finish until Monday afternoon, and around 95% of people who queue up in line will be refused entry into the club. Sven Marquadt the head doorman has built up a fierce reputation for saying “Nein” to most people who queue up.
One of the oldest and most famous clubs in Berlin. Tresor translates as “Bank” in English as it was formerly a disused bank vault of an old shopping centre which collapsed in WW2 and was discovered after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2006 it was relocated in the basement of Kraftwerk (“power station”) on Köpenicker Straße. Built approximately at the same time as the Berlin Wall its purpose was to power the former East German regions of Berlin. Today, this formerly silenced Berlin power station is a vibrant place for exhibitions and events.
3. Salon Zur Wilden Renate
‘Renate’ is a club set out over three floors in a formerly disused, unrenovated apartment building in Freidrichshain. It is a labyrinth inside, with multiple dance floors and chill out spaces, including an outdoor garden.
It was discovered by friends who were looking to throw parties in the disused and unclaimed spaces between East and West Berlin and they discovered this location. Clubbing in Renate is like being at the largest and most debaucherous house party you have ever been to. It’s certainly not one to miss!
Sisyphos is the closest a nightclub can get to being a music festival. It is host to some of Berlin’s most unhinged parties, often running from Friday to Monday with no break. It has a warehouse-style main room, usually with techno or tech house DJs playing, plus a more house-oriented second room and a large outdoor garden littered with abandoned cars and other debris. It is possible to stay a whole weekend in Sisyphos - you can purchase food, toiletries and can even take a tactical nap inside the various vehicles which litter the garden.
The dress code for this club is a lot more colourful and flamboyant than most clubs in Berlin and DJ lineups are almost never announced.
The safest bet and often the most accessible techno club for tourists is Watergate. It’s a two floor club situated in Kreuzberg, overlooking the river Spree. Watergate plays a mixture of House, Deep House and Melodic Techno, and its world-famous LED ceiling lights and excellent sound system make it a great place to visit.
The key to getting into Watergate is to dress casually (not your a-typical outfit for going out in Chelsea) wear comfortable trainers, don’t be too drunk, go in groups of no more than three and to be quiet and respectful in the queue. Berlin club selectors dislike loud and drunk punters, so be as respectful as you can to get in.