As summer is approaching I decided it would be apt to write a post on my favourite city: Berlin. I have been twice now and I’m planning a trip back there in August. Although it’s not the most picturesque city, Berlin is known for it’s nightlife, especially it’s nightclubs… due to the fact that they stay open all weekend! So here’s my top 6 nightclubs in Berlin!
6. Suicide Circus
Located near the S-Bahn in Friedrichshain this nightclub, kind of reminds you of ‘Hangar’ in Dublin. Not as exciting as the name leads you to believe but it’s still better than any nightclub in Ireland. There’s a smoky room packed full with sweaty dancers and flashing lights with thumping techno that doesn’t really stop. Thankfully, there’s an outdoor seating area that plays more mellow music in comparison to the inside if you need a quick breather!
Tip: Like most clubs in Berlin there is a door policy, no big groups! We arrived in a group of two, pretty early for Berlin standards (12 a.m) and we witnessed a group of 6 boys in front of us get rejected. Even though the nightclub was empty, Berlin have a standard they like to uphold.
5. Salon zur Wilden Renate
This club has a charm to it, if you like partying in a circus this is the place to go. It has a different feel to it, in comparison to the other nightclubs in Berlin. The club has a maze in it so it’s bound to be an interesting experience! In comparison to some of the other clubs around Berlin, this one doesn’t have as strict of a dress code as the others. However, the same sort of rules apply about being too drunk, in a large group and speaking English.
4. Club Der Visionare
I’m not sure if it was the club that was so amazing, or just the atmosphere in general. We accidentally stumbled upon this nightclub during a warm summer’s day. We had just come from the outdoor pool that is on the river, and as we were leaving we came across this club. It juts out on to the river, and even though it was 4 o clock in the day the place was hopping with people. I would highly recommend this place when the weather is good! When the sun went down they had fire heaters outside so it still was just as good.
If you’re looking for a more high-end Berlin club experience, Watergate is your guy! Don’t be fooled by the gritty exterior, the club can be hard to miss from the outside until you see the queue of people wrapped around, then you know you’ve arrived. It was 15 euro in, however there were big DJ’s playing that night so it was definitely worth it! Watergate has something different to offer, it’s not a basement dungeon with graffiti written all over the walls. Instead it’s more sophisticated and stylish, which can be refreshing in Berlin. The nightclub smoking area is on the river ..hence the name. It’s not a bad view when you’re out having a cigarette! It’s split up into two floors, the top floor is worth a visit as it has light-installation beams that hover over the ceiling. We got to see Monika Kruse play there last summer.
One of the most well-known clubs in Berlin, but it certainly lives up to it’s name. This legendary institution of Berlin nightlife is located in Mitte, and is an experience in itself. The outside looks like a giant factory and when you walk on to the site you’re waiting to be greeted with a ‘No Trespassing’ sign. However, beyond the factory walls on the outside comes with it concrete walls covered in graffiti, pvc curtains with musky air engulfing the building. What is most special about Tresor is the vault or dungeon that you experience once you walk down a narrow and pulsating tunnel with a flashing light following you. The gritty and narrow tunnel can seem never ending, but the vibrating sound of techno guides you through. As soon as you turn the corner, the dingy room is flooded with sweaty people dancing and a dj that is playing from inside a cage. If you want to escape the relentless techno and strobe lighting, make your way to the bar just outside the dungeon. It’s right beside, the room so you can still see and hear the music but it’s nice for some breathing space. Below are pictures I took of Tresor from the outside, and then a photo of the tunnel leading down to the vault!
So you probably could have guessed this would be number one on the list. It’s known for it’s extremely strict door policy and the fact that no photos of the inside have ever been taken or published. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. Are you a homophobe? Do you hate techno/electronic music? Do people taking drugs frighten you? Then just stop reading here, because you will hate Berghain!
You arrive up to the queue to utter silence. It could be 8am on Sunday morning and the queue could be a mile long. Yet there is still silence, no one is drunk and shouting, instead every single person in the line is draped in black clothing from head to toe. It seems everyone has read the tips and reviews online ‘wear all black’, ‘no speaking or shouting in the queue’, ‘no English speaking’. You eventually arrive up to the top of queue and you can hear your heart thumping through your chest as you hold out your ID for the 5 bouncers at the door to scowl at. I didn’t speak until spoken to. I put on my ‘resting bitch face’ for the whole time as we stood there which felt like forever but in reality it was only two agonizing minutes. The bouncers began to speak in German to each other and chuckle among themselves as I could feel the sweat drip down my forehead despite the fact it was less than 10 degrees outside. Finally, one of them locked eyes with me and asked ‘just you two?’, referring to myself and the other person I was with. I responded, ‘Yah zwei’ which means ‘yes two of us’ in German. He turned to the others who all nodded and they then let us in. I was in disbelief I knew exactly how often they turned people away, I had witnessed people getting turned away just before I walked up.
When you walk through the doors after experiencing what could only be called a strip search (where they even place stickers on the camera of your phone) you enter the ground floor, and gaze up at high ceilings and concrete walls. The smell of weed and sweat fills the air & half naked men wearing leather harnesses surround you as they dance to the flashing strobes and heavy music. There is an ice cream parlor for those who’ve most likely chewed their jaw off from drugs and need something to soften their jaws. A giant swing set overtakes an area that is filled with half naked men and women smoking weed on the swing. The best part is, no cares. No one is watching to see what you’re wearing (or not wearing), everyone is there to dance and have a good time. It was 15 euro in but once you have your stamp you are able to leave and come back. Luckily our hostel was around the corner and we were able to leave, get a nap and a shower and then come back that afternoon to do it all again. The bouncers are extremely rude, you just have to be quiet put up with their obnoxious attitude because it’s honestly worth it.
Panorama bar which is in another section of the nightclub plays less hard-heavy techno so it is a nice break from the thumping techno music that never lets up on the main dancefloor. Honestly the whole place is a different experience, as soon as you step foot into the building it’s like you’ve been transported to a different world. If you don’t like that sort of a scene and you’re in any way a prude I wouldn’t recommend even trying to get in. Like I said if you hate nudity, sex, drugs and heavy techno music just stay away.
Tip: Apart from the rest of the well known tips out there, my advice is ‘less is more’. They know when you are trying too hard & that you’ve researched articles to try find out what the dress code is. When you look like you don’t give a F*** then that’s probably you’re best bet. Also they will not anyone who is not German in when they have some of their big resident DJ’s like Ben Klock. The photo below was a photo taken outside of berghain, I wouldn’t have dared tried to take one inside. So whether I actually got in to the infamous Berghain or not, you’ll never know. 😉