Berlin at night
Berlin is one of the best cities you could possibly decide to visit. Drawing many visitors from around the world thanks to its importance in modern history, its wonderful architecture and culturally diverse surroundings it remains one of the most recommended destinations of all time. Within its dense layers of interweaving streets are numerous secret spots that are cherished by locals and tourists alike. Many of these secrets exist in places you’d never have thought possible, but thanks to the fun loving inhabitants of Berlin they do, and we’re going to tell you where to find them.
Let’s start with the infamous Berghain whose name is known not just in Berlin but across the world as one of the finest, most notoriously difficult clubs to get into. This massive 1,500 capacity club is found in an old power station and is widely referred to as the “Church of Techno”. If you’re lucky enough after waiting in line to be granted admission into the hallowed halls be prepared for the craziest party of your life. Your hand stamp allows you entrance from Friday night till Monday morning (you’re allowed to go home in that time) and is your ticket to see the cities weird and wonderful locals.
Things really start kicking off around 5-6am on Saturday and Sunday mornings so if you’re up for it that’s when you want to be heading there. As for getting in it’s not an exact science, more a combination of common sense and luck. Avoid being that drunken idiot in the line that makes too much noise and you’re already doing better than most. As for clothing it’s very up in the air we suggest you just keep things simple, oh and don’t get your phone out, the bouncers hate that.
If you want to experience the wondrous world of German techno at its roots then there’s no other destination than the iconic Tresor. Emerging after the dawn of a unified Germany, Tresor originally began life as a record label that soon created its own nightclub and took the city by storm. Setting up shop in an abandoned power plant Tresor is a cavernous beast that is not for the faint of heart. The enormity of the building, its multiple dance floors and the relentless pulse of techno is enough to shake the hardest raver to their core. Be aware that Tresor is as discerning on the doors as Berghain so don’t go thinking it’ll be easy.
Now, let’s have a look at some of the less exclusive but equally impressive spots to check out. Music lovers will not want to miss out on Watergate, which has subsequently created their own record label for some of their premier DJs and producers. With floor-to-ceiling mirrors overlooking the River Spree, unbelievable lighting and a soul-shattering sound system Watergate is dedicated to delivering the best experience possible. A couple of things to remember, don’t go in a massive group dominated by one gender, they like to keep it balanced in Watergate. Also make sure your I.D. is in your pocket, they will ask, as you need to be over 21 to get in.
It’s time to head over to Kreuzberg and jump in line for Chalet, which resides in a 150-year old mansion for the most stylish night out in Berlin. Unlike many of its counterparts Chalet is open 7 days a week so there’s no reason why you should pass up the opportunity to visit when you’re in the city. Spreading the party over two floors and a welcoming little garden, Chalet has all the hallmarks of a great night out. Decked out with every vintage trapping in the cool catalogue as well as a multitude of rooms to explore it’s a night of discovery. Come equipped with a little German in your vocabulary and ignore the slightly unfriendly door staff and you’ll be a shoe-in.
It’d be silly of us to leave out some of the more low-key spots in the city, we know you guys like to relax a bit from time to time. First off is the rather secretive Bar Tausend; we guarantee you’d walk right past it without a second glance. There’s no sign, no lights to grab your attention, but head below the train tracks at the Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse, pass through the iron door and you’ll find something special. Glass sculptures, polished steel and succulent cocktails make this reclusive bar one of Berlin’s best-kept secrets and one you’ll definitely want to hunt down.
There’s Die Weinerei, a more traditional bar that charges €2 to rent a glass that can be refilled with as much wine as you’d like. Once you’ve had your fill it’s down to you to pay as much or as little as you feel necessary into the tips jar. It’s a wonderful example of the liberal nature in Berlin, but one that can be easily exploited so don’t go ripping them off!
Finally for those wanting to escape the hipsters that flood the streets of Berlin there’s the 24-hour Bie Schlawinchen that welcomes the experienced drinkers amongst you. The drinks are cheap and the clientele is full of interesting characters on their fifth pint or coming off a night long rave across the river.
There are countless more clubs and bars residing in obscurer places with even weirder patrons that have to be seen to be believed so we suggest you start your adventure with a few of our suggestions before flying the nest and finding your own secret spots.
By Chris Mackin