Clubbing in Europe's party capital
Berghain is one of the most iconic techno clubs in the world, that’s not news. However, there is much, much more. Due to its popularity, Berghain is overrun by partygoers every weekend. This has lead to a strict door policy, and don’t be surprised if you’re rejected at the door -- about 50 percent of the people trying to get in do. That’s why it’s always good to have alternatives for your next trip to Berlin. These are our favourite clubs in the German capital.
Sure, first of all, the huge "Temple of Techno" in the east of the city is known as the best club in the world for a reason. With it's first-class line-up of house and techno DJs it has remained the ultimate underground club. One that always stayed true to it's roots and never compromised on its virtues. Getting passed the door is an issue, despite the club’s large venue, the capacity is limited.
Once you’re inside, you can dive into another world and experience one of the best sound systems in the world with a wild, diverse crowd that loves to dance. This can go on for 12 hours or more. While on Friday's the smaller, upstairs Panorama Bar is open and serving top quality House and related electronic music, the massive techno floor of Berghain is only open from Saturday midnight to Monday morning/noon. Don't forget to go home!
A legendary Techno club of the 90s, once the first of its kind in Berlin, is always a solid (and slightly less elitist) alternative to Berghain. After the original club had to close down they reopened in a massive former power plant. Musically it has strong ties to the Detroit techno scene. Closing times are unknown in Beriln, so like in almost every club in Berlin you can dance virtually the whole weekend through.
A real insider tip in the European club landscape: about blank. Particularly popular is the hetero-friendly party Buttons (formerly Homopatik), which often extends over several days and nights. While the club is pretty small, about blank has one of the biggest garden spaces, making it the best option for a sunny weekend day to dance to funky Disco sounds. On the two indoor floors about blank serves up house and techno, most of which by Berlin DJs.
For the past 20 years, this legendary fetish club has become an icon in the party scene. It has been based next to Tresor, in Mitte, since 2007. You’ll find crowds of all ages and preferences dancing to techno, house and trance on four floors. NB: Mobile phones are not allowed in the club and must be handed over at the wardrobe.
A successor to Bar 25, Katerblau is located directly on the River Spree and is still a sure-fire starting point for all techno-hippies. The in-house label Katermucke ensures the music ranges in everything between chill out and high energy. Next door to the right of Katerblau is the club’s restaurant on a ship and to the left a beautiful garden bar directly on the river Spree which is open during the day. The garden bar is located in the new Holzmarkt area, and were opened in 2017.
If you just want to relax and aren’t afraid of a bit of glitter in your face or sand in your shoes, then cult club Sysiphos at the Rummelsburger Bucht is a safe place to start. It’s based outside of the city centre, so you’ll have to take that into account. Sisyphos can get quite busy, especially during summer. The whole outdoor area, with a pond and artificial beach, can be filled with people sunbathing, before or after dancing on one of the floors.
You won’t find many tourists at Polygon (ex-Kosmonaut), since it is a bit off the beaten track. Based in the east of Berlin this club attracts a local, but still colorfully mixed audience. In summer there is a garden floor which is open all night long, in winter there is a total of 3 indoor floors. Other than in most other Berlin clubs, Polygon is mostly open just from midnight to morning. Be sure to check their homepage for the programme.
Situated in the immediate vicinity of the river Spree, this multi-storey house has been transformed into a club with a cozy and creative ambiance. The crowd is often quite young and the parties generally last until the next afternoon.
Located directly on the Alexanderplatz, Weekend Club is a popular destination for tourists -- mostly because of it's stunning views of the famous TV tower at Alexanderplatz, which you can see from the rooftop terrace. The club offers two dancefloors on different levels of the building and is a slightly more chic alternative to the underground clubs of the city. On sundays the House of Weekend hosts the popular gay GMF partys.
10. Prince Charles
One of the key features of this small but fine Kreuzberg club is that it hosts electro, urban and hip-hop parties. Prince Charles’ operators make it seem effortless to keep both at a consistently high level. Their popularity is thanks in part to the immensely successful "Burgers & Hip Hop" events, as well as the great Black Music Jam sessions, part of of "The Church," a welcome variety in the Berlin's party scene.
A word about door policy in Berlin:
There are a lot of rumours about door policy in Berlin and what it needs to get into Berghain or any other popular club. In fact most of them are false.
Almost all clubs in Berlin don't care about the colour of your clothes, your shoes, your sexual orientation or origin. What they do care about is a good mix of people and try to make sure that everyone inside is having a good time and enjoying themselves. People who are just there to make photos for their Instagram fans are usually not welcome. In fact photos are not allowed in most Berlin clubs to protect people and... because it sucks!
If you try to get into Berghain on a saturday night, be ready to be dismissed and always have a plan B in mind. Don't discuss with the door people, they don't care. Don't take it personal, it happened to the best.
Some simple rules usually help: Do not go in huge groups, do not go out completely drunk and don't act like an idiot when you line-up.
The rest is up to the party gods!