Berlin is famous, or infamous, for its nonstop, fast-paced, hardcore nightlife. The clubbing scene is probably the best in Europe, and staying out until the early morning is the norm. The bars are hip, the drinks are cheap, the music is wild and everything is possible in Berlin at night.
Getting to know the Berlin nightlife
Berlin’s nightlife is vibrant and world-class. Image Tekke, via Flickr
Berlin is probably best known for its techno clubs, which have spawned and hosted the best DJs on the planet. If you want to get a taste of what they’re like, go try out Cookies – one of the fancier clubs, with a restaurant and mingling area, as well as two packed dancefloors with DJs from around the world. Don’t expect to leave before 6am. If you want to delve deeper into the techno scene, get yourself over to Berghain, an iconic club in a converted power station. The bouncers on the door are notoriously picky and the queues are long, but once (and if) you get inside, the music and the energy will make for an unforgettable night. The club picks up around 2am, and they have a strict no-camera policy: what happens in Berghain stays in Berghain. If you still have energy left, try Watergate, another landmark club overlooking the Spree. Open on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from midnight, each level of the huge complex has a different music style and a different vibe: upstairs is hardcore techno, downstairs hosts new talent. Entrance costs to Berlin’s clubs are relatively cheap: the more expensive cost around 15 Euro, the cheaper ones are five, or free.
You can have a different kind of nightlife in Berlin by going to one of the many live-music venues dotting the city. You can find pretty much any style of music in the music bars and clubs, and a good drink too. Try out A-trane at Bleibtreustrasse, or Quasimodo in Charlottenberg, where cutting edge jazz bands make themselves known to the world. As well as listening to the music, patrons can enjoy a good meal, or get up and dance. Entrance fees range from free to 20-or-so Euros.
If you’re looking for a bar to socialise in, there are several hundred to choose from in Berlin. Visit White Trash Fast Food for a self-aware parody of an American rock bar, with delicious burgers, nachos, cocktails, beer and music. At the ultra-cool Trust bar on Neue Promenade in Mitte, you’ll have to pass through an unmarked door and be served drinks in brown paper bags, but it all adds to the alternative atmosphere and vibe that marks nightlife in Berlin.
Whether you’re out drinking and laughing in the bars, dancing Charleston, swaying to jazz, or raving at a techno club – plan to get there late, get home late, and wake up late the next day. It’s very common to go out clubbing until at least 6am, and then sit for coffee, watch the sun rise over the city, and take the first bus home. If you really want to feel the pulse of Berlin, this is the way to do it.
Pub crawls in Berlin
Joining a pub crawl in Berlin is a great way to get introduced to some of the city’s best nightlife spots, and meet new people at the same time.