The Berlin Club ABC

Berlin is famous for many things but undeniably, these days Berlin’s most infamous reputation is due to its incredible nightlife. And, no nightlife without club spaces and dance floors to make us shake our booty into the early hours of Sunday… or even Monday… or in Berlin actually, just pick a day. However, before you can go out and get your fantasy decisions need to be made. The versatility of this city is both a curse and a blessing. It’s not as easy as the bar down the street with that cute bartender and a decent Spotify playlist. That’s like sitting in front of a box of delicious candy and only eating one thing. So, to get you started or to keep you on track, we tried to bring the hedonistic chaos of Berlin’s club life in (alphabetical) order accompanied by some informative, slightly subjective comments. Everything from bars with a dance floor to multiroom clubs made it into the list and, if not further noted (of course) Electronic Music will be played in Techno capital. Enjoy our little selection.

like Arena Club (Kreuzberg) – Small but BOOM BOOM, for anyone wanting an intimate but nonetheless pounding club experience. As a first-hand experience precisely puts it: “I wanted noise. I wanted a long night. This is a place to crash, to forget and just party! And by the way, real dope soundsystem, awesome sound!” We couldn’t have phrased it any better.

like Anita Berber (Gesundbrunnen) – The classy, sophisticated lady in this list, sitting at the periphery of Berlin’s club life, waiting for those who wanna mix a cute cocktail at the bar with some fine hours of music.

like ://about blank (Friedrichshain) – The incarnation of a club that is pulling of abandoned rundown chic the right way. Bringing you A-list music with that certain gritty, edgy atmosphere while still feeling intimate.

like Berghain (Friedrichshain) – Is there really anything left to say? Should anything be said? Rumors spread all over the world from Timbuktu to Katmandu, the words ‘Church’, ‘Temple’, ‘Palace’, even ‘Techno Heaven” were uttered… Enough said!

like Birgit & Bier (Kreuzberg) – Mixing two things Germans are apparently very good at: Biergaerten and Techno raves. We are flabbergasted by this concept’s simple brilliancy. How could this go wrong?

like Chalet (Kreuzberg) –  Inside it’s kinda like grandma’s cozy apartment, outside garlands, or even birdcages in trees, ponds, and arbors make you feel like you ended up in some ravy, Techno fairytale – But why not right? Anything works in Berlin.

like Club der Visionaere (Kreuzberg) – The music booking can be as good as it can get, still, this is just one of these places that really does not work in winter. In the summer time on the other hand, it’s a perfect destination to enjoy a cocktail after work, stare off into the distance and vibe to some nice beats.

like Dean (Mitte) – Showing how Torstraße has basically reinvented itself in the last decade. It’s been a long way from legendary ‘Delicious Doughnuts’ to todays ‘Dean’ which attracts a crowd that’s more likely to sip on cosmoplitans than beer. To be honest, velvet lounges, wood panelling, and golden ceiling lights might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

like Else (Treptow) – Beer, music and open-air at the waterside in Berlin – sounds like a dream come true, huh?! Well, and as too many fulfilled dreams are too much of a good thing you have to say goodbye to this ‘lil dream of a club in the winter months. So, get there while it’s still warm!

like Farbfernseher (Kreuzberg) – For anyone wanting to dance in a club that’s actually size of a normal living-room. We are doubting your living-room ever pulls of such a party though… And the limited space makes it a perfect place for these “Oh, oups I just totally unintentionally bumped into you… Here’s my number” situations.

like Ficken300 (Neukölln) – Put it into Google Translator and see for yourself whether you ‘re not already convinced of this small, queer venue in Neukölln. For anyone still doubtful, let us cite the philosophical words of a wise online reviewer: “The scent of the big city, a small oasis, pure christian brotherly love.” – Alrighty then!

like Griessmuehle (Neukölln) – The only hip club outside the ring, but also JUST on the other side of the train racks (ok, and maybe not the ONLY club) … Griessmuehle definitely takes the ‘work-in-progress look’ to the next level. But, that’s all just underlining the casual attitude, you know. Perfection is for beginners anyways.

like Golden Gate (Mitte) – At this point we are going to cite a true lover of this place: “Golden Gate, I love you! You are the only one for me. ‘Small, dirty, and way too filthy?’ You cannot find real flair in golden sinks. There is no gold to see, but to hear and feel! Just put on your dancing shoes, we’re gonna clean up later…” How deeply, movingly poetic …

like Gretchen (Kreuzberg) – Don’t let the rather calm area of Kreuzberg, the Bio-Markt nextdoor, and the plain 60’s aesthetic outside fool you. Inside sacral interiors and Trappy-Hip-Hop-Drum’n’Bass beats await you, a rare mix in this city!

like Humboldthain (Gesundbrunnen) – Since our beloved Stattbad Wedding has departed this venue is a ‘lil bit of an outsider on the club map. Still, it’s worth a visit! Just get out of Kreuzberg and Neukölln for once, you guys! Wedding is a thing, they have public transportation, electricity, actual people AND CLUBS there! It’s amazing… try it out!

like Ipse (Kreuzberg) – It’s at the Spree, it’s indoors and outdoors, there’s good music, drinks …but what are we going on about? There’s a chandelier! Yeah that’s right, there’s a huge chandelier hanging above the dancefloor outside. A CHANDELIER! IT’S SHINY AND SPARKLY! GO!

like Jackie O (Rummelsburg) –  One of these locations that has remained a well kept secret for a few summer seasons now. They don’t even have a proper Facebook page. So, what to say to lure you in… Well, if you like boats Jackie O is basically one of the only clubs in Berlin where you could arrive by boat… Riding a bike is so 2012 anyways…

like Kater Blau (Friedrichshain) – The stronghold of Berlin club culture underlining its inhabitants might do a lot but they ain’t giving up. From Bar25, to Katerholzig to todays Kater Blau, the mantra seems to be:  “Whatever you close or tear down, we gonna keep on dancing, bitches!”

like KitKat Club (Mitte) – Looking for some sexy madness? KitKat has plenty in stock of that! AND A POOL, like an actual one with water and stuff! So, from Techno, to sex, to a relaxing resort feeling … Don’t know about you, but we’re sold! (Don’t pay attention to the website though, it’s rather, …uhm, dated.)

like Kultstaette Keller (Neukölln) – Exhibitions, various concerts, shows, Techno parties, an in-house record label…Kultstaette Keller shows how diverse and vibrant life in Neukoelln is these days.

like Kosmonaut (Friedrichshain) – When even 90’s club kids appreciate a venue, that’s gotta mean something!  Normally, all they do is raise one eyebrow, shake their heads in disbelief and sigh dramatically. So, next weekend, Kosmonaut anyone?

like Klunkerkranich (Neukölln) – Yes, slowly but steadily this is not one of these “secret locations nobody knows about” anymore. Which doesn’t change the fact that, still, this place shows how weirdly beautiful Berlin really is. ‘Cause a super hip location on top of a super ugly shopping mall is just, well, weird… but as soon as you made it to the top, it’s just, well, undeniably beautiful.

like Loftus Hall (Neukölln) – a place that does not win an award for sleek, modern design. It’s more like  you’re taking over your grandma’s 70’s-style apartment and party. But, we all have fantasized about that at some point, haven’t we?

like Loophole (Neukölln) – Never heard of Loophole? Well, maybe you’re in Prenzlauer Berg too much then! Welcome to Neukölln’s underground, and welcome to this venue offering everything from a casual bar night out to live concerts.

like Mensch Meier (Prenzlauer Berg) – People have spoken the words: “Mensch Meier is the ://about blank of the north.” Maybe this statement is a bit bold but, being compared to such a Berlin club icon is quite an achievment after only three short years.

like Musik & Frieden (Kreuzberg) –  bringing you a bunch of concerts, a casual crowd and parties with the finest oldschool music. This place has the most essential parts of life in its name already, right? “Music, Peace, over and out!”

like Nirgendwo (Friedrichshain) – What do you really need when Berghain just bounced you? – Yupp, ALCOHOL! So, in that middle-of-nowhere wasteland the big B is located in there is a place fittingly called Nirgendwo offering loads of beer, free entry and even a vegan Döner in a kind of backyard meets Biergarten, Hippi atmosphere. If that doesn’t sound very poor-but-sexy Berlin, we don’t know what does!

like OHM (Mitte) – Run and get in before really everyone knows about it! Well, writing this does not necessarily help the cause. Anyhow, next to Tresor there is OHM, small but as impressive as the big lady next door. Some of the finest parties in this city reside in these intimate halls. So, watch out for OHM!

like Panke (Gesundbrunnen) – Not far from ‘lil ‘Anita’, Panke shows that there is a scene for music, art and live performances in Wedding. Who says Wedding is “nicht im kommen”?!

like Prince Charles (Kreuzberg) –  “You know, it doesn’t only play Electro and also hosts cool concerts!”, “And the crowd is quite relaxed!”, “And and it doesn’t look too fancy but is also not as rundown as the other …” You guys, it has a Funktion 1 sound system and a bar in a pool. We don’t need to hear more, already convinced!

like Quasimodo (Charlottenburg) – And finally, we are heading west. Charlottenburger might feel unrepresented in this list. The club map is just quite sparse in that area. Well, at least there is Quasimodo, a place that never disappoints all the Jazz kids in this city.

like Ritter Butzke (Kreuzberg) – That cozy, fun electronic fortress where you get all what you’d expect from a Berlin night out: Interiors with that certain granny chic, a fun crowd and banging DJ sets.

like Rosis (Kreuzberg) – One of the rare places where you can play ping-pong while there’s something like the Kooks or Oasis coming out of the speakers, Biergarten, dancefloor and Bratwurst included.

like Sameheads (Neukölln) – Another destination in Neukölln’s weird, trashy underground. Sameheads is one of these places that does not make it obvious from the outside what you’d be getting inside. But, often times that’s exactly where you’ll have the best time.

like SchwuZ (Neukölln) – Welcome to gay capital! The biggest only-gay club in Berlin for more than 30 years. Located in Neukoelln since 2013, SchwuZ offers everything the gay heart desires, from ‘Madonnamania’, ‘Beyoncelicous’ to ‘Electronic Thursdays + Darkoom’. So, what to say apart from: “Yippi-Yay-Gay!”

like Sisyphos (Rummelsburg) – Definitely a ‘trip’ in many ways. Congratulations to the owners for making a club that much off the radar actually work! But, it looks and sounds just pretty damn good…

like St. Georg (Kreuzberg) – Small and sweaty, but in the best way. Just maybe, maybe work on that ventilation… on the other hand all that lack of oxigen makes you end up in a delusional dancing nirvana to sexy Hip-Hop beats. Others pay extra money for that experience!

like SO36 (Kreuzberg) – Kind of the bitch for everything in this list. From punk concerts, to turkish weddings, drag shows and roller dicos this venue has seen it all in its (quite long) history. It’s not possible to imagine Kreuzberg without this iconic place.

like Tresor (Mitte) – The Techno legacy club since 1991. And this lady has even moved around in Berlin! If you are up for some strobe lights, soaring beats and industrial chic, Tresor it is baby!

like Urban Spree (Friedrichshain) – Not only a gallery, but also offering a lot of concerts and parties that are more on the experimental, weird side. We love it weird and it’s great to have a venue around that offers a space for things that are a ‘lil cookoo.

like Void Club (Friedrichshain) – Definitly a venue that’s more under the radar but anyone who loves Drum’n’Bass and Hardtechno in this city might leave a well articulated  review like this: “FUCKING AMAZING! Big thanks to the DJs. YOU TORE THE HOUSE DOWN!” Anyone that enthusiastic cannot be wrong, right?

like Watergate (Kreuzberg) – A club with a view, and amazing music, and maybe the only space where you could spot some high heels in this city. You may interpret this fact however you want to…

like Weekend (Mitte) – Well, and then this club is bringing “club with a view” to a whole new level. Most likely the highest level you can get in Berlin while dancing.

like X-Beliebig (Friedrichshain) – Despite capitalism taking over this city like a parasite there are still places like X-Beliebig, representing the punky, alternative scene that used to be quite all over Berlin years back. X-Beliebig is located in one of the rare, last squad houses in Friedrichshain, and … the only venue we could find with X… So, if you wanna open up something new X is quite a good letter to start from.

like Yaam (Friedrichshain) – Shake shake shake – finally a place with some actual rhythm! For anyone who went into Kater Blau down the street and suddenly realized that Electronic Music is unbelievably aweful – Relax, it’s gonna be ok. There is this beautifil Beachbar/Reggae Club just a few meters away from you.

like Zum Schmutzigen Hobby (Friedrichshain) – Any night where you just want a drink, a sassy bartender and Madonna yodeling in the background should be spent here!

like Zur Wilden Renate (Friedrichshain) – When it’s Saturday, everyone wants to go out but you just feel like chilling with a few people. This club essentially feels like an oversized WG-Party, like some friends of yours just have a really, really weirdly decorated apartment… with sound system, DJ booth and lighting included.

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The list of clubs goes on and on of course. What are your favorite clubs in Berlin?

illustrations: Berk Karaoglu