So you finally made it into the club! Now what?
After spending hours reading blog after blog about how to get into <insert your favorite Berlin nightclub>, you are finally ready to put on your dancing shoes and experience Berlin nightlife firsthand. Your outfit is on point (aka black). You managed to queue for over an hour without cracking a smile, much less breathe. You researched who was DJing and successfully memorized enough German to confidently tell the door guy how many people were in your party (Ich bin allein, danke). Congrats! You’re in. Now it’s time to have some fun.
Wait, not so fast. Just because you managed to fool the staff into thinking you’re a regular doesn’t mean that you’re ready to hit the dance floor quite yet. Before you pat yourself on the back, I encourage you to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the following Berlin nightlife etiquette tips.
1. Face the DJ while dancing.
I know. Maybe in your hometown you had a local haunt that you frequented regularly with all your besties. Going out was about socializing, making each other laugh with silly dance moves, or seeing who can get the most free drinks. I guarantee that Berliners are more serious about their dancing than any city you’ve ever been and therefore insist that you face the DJ. Think of it like going to a concert. You wouldn’t pay 20 euros to see your favorite band play only to spend the whole time talking and yucking it up with your friends. Respect the craft.
2. DON’T take pictures, videos, selfies, or Snapchats.
Seriously, if I see you taking a selfie at a club, I will slap your phone out of your hand. A lot of clubs will even place a sticker over your camera as a reminder (which really infuriates me because then I have a sticky residue on my phone for a few days — but it’s necessary because there are people out there who just. don’t. get. it.). Case in point: my friend was visiting me last year and he couldn’t help but Snapchat everything. While catching him snapping the dance floor at a popular club in Berlin, I embarrassingly asked him what the hell he was doing. “I want to make my friends back home jealous.” Um, seriously? Boy, bye. Don’t trip.
3. Check your damn purse/backpack/luggage/winter coat at the wardrobe.
There is this marvelous thing at every nightclub in Berlin called garderobe. Please use it. I don’t know how many times I have been lost in my own dancing dreamland when I get whacked with someone’s giant rucksack. What do you have in there, anyway? Camping gear? Just pay the damn €1.50 and store it away. If you can’t afford the wardrobe, then you probably shouldn’t be spending money on drugs and booze. And if you have drugs and booze stored away in that carry-on of yours, please consider sharing with your thirsty neighbors.
4. Resist asking the DJ for requests at all costs.
If you do this at a Berlin nightclub, you will get laughed at (and maybe asked to leave). I’m sure you have good intentions. Maybe you have even been practicing being a DJ yourself and want to share your good vibes with the crowd. Whatever your reasons, know that this behavior is simply not accepted in Berlin. If you want the opportunity to fill a room with beats you scoured hours for on Soundcloud, consider being a DJ yourself (or just move away now – this city has enough wannabe DJs as it is.)
5. Don’t arrive before 2 in the morning.
I know what you’re thinking: “2am? Really?! But that’s when clubs close in <insert the name of your boring hometown here>.” The quickest way to let everyone know you’re a noob is to arrive to any club in Berlin before 2 in the morning. To be safe, get there at 3 (or better yet, show up on Sunday at 2 in the afternoon like a true Berliner). Whatever you do, don’t ever get there as soon as the club opens. You’ll likely be turned away immediately for having the eagerness of a toddler.
What curious observations have you made about the nightlife behavior of Berliners? Let us know in the comments below!
Text: Nicole Paulus, Photos: Frank R. Schröder, Claudio Rimmele
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Nicole Paulus is a millennial expat from the States. When she’s not dancing at Kater, drinking beers at Tempelhof, or eating shawarma at Maroush, she’s busy running her own digital marketing company Nico New Media. You can read about her adventures on her blog.