You could, quite frankly, write a small novel on clubbing in Berlin. There are more beat-based, hedonism-fuelled establishments than bratwurst stands in this coolest of capitals – and there are a lot of bratwurst stands. Luckily, we have 500 words to work with here, not 5000 – so here’s our (abridged) guide to the top clubs and why we love them!
Salon Zur Wilden Renate
Renate, as its known to locals, is more like an artfully dilapidated house than a club at the eastern end of Stralauer Allee. It started out as one of the city’s most atmospheric all-nighters and has grown in popularity with international visitors due to its labyrinthine corridors of hidden corners, strange people and underground musical lineup.
You can’t really explain Berghain – you just have to go. This dramatic industrial space is Berlin’s most famous venue and was judged ‘Best Club in the World’ on DJ Magazine’s 2011 annual list. On the main Berghain floor (only open from Saturday night) its strictly all things gay and fetish, with plenty of dark corners for dark deeds. Things are a little more relaxed upstairs, where Panorama Bar churns out house and disco for days on end – quite literally. Word to the wise, though: the doormen are notoriously the hardest to please in the world, so keep your head down – now is not the time to shout about your opinions on the city in your loudest English.
Golden Gate has recently rebranded itself as an intimate techno club, but still retains the charm of some of its past under-the-railways-arches grittiness. Opening on Thursdays and seldom closing before Monday, the crowd is usually made up of locals, clued up tourists and the odd Berghain rejectee. During the summer people mingle in the outdoor ‘garden’ space under the often blazing Berlin summertime sunshine.
Plenty of clubs in Berlin take advantage of the incredible volume of former factory complexes available to them; Ritter Butzke in Kreuzberg is no exception. There are a huge range of bookings here planned with variety and imagination; one week there might be a Vice party, next a hip-hop night followed by a Fashion Week wrap. It’s all go at Ritter Butzke – so business as usual for Berlin, then.