This article should more aptly be called “How to Survive Berlin’s Nightlife” because I was there for only 4 days and I’m wrecked. You’ll quickly realize Berlin’s nightlife is also its daylife, because going out is their whole life.
We stayed at an Airbnb so we were greeted by our local host with a question about whether we wanted to “party or party party?” Apparently, sightseeing and sleeping is not an option in Berlin. He told us he could recommend some places where we could take ecstasy and go dancing. This should have been a clue. Four days in, when you see a guy passed out on his bike on the sidewalk at noon, you’re no longer surprised.
No matter what kind of atmosphere you like, Berlin has something for literally everyone and when you’re out on the weekend (and during the week), you will see all kinds of people in varying states of inebriation enjoying all kinds of things. By the time you step out of Happy Hour on a Friday, the streets are packed and some people already look like they’re ready to pass out. Many hours later, after clubbing and bar-hopping around town, they’re eating fast food on the street and taking pictures in the photo booths scattered throughout Friedrichshain to commemorate their evening.
Many of the main clubs like Tresor and Watergate are along the Spree, so a walk down Oberbaum Bridge or along the river will lead you to some of the craziest parties in town. Most of the big clubs in Berlin charge cover and can have long lines to get in. Unless you’re open to anything, I recommend you read up a little bit to find out the door policy and other essential information so you don’t accidentally end up waiting in line for 30 minutes at a sex fetish club. Unless you’re into that.
Connected by the Oberbaum Bridge are Kruezberg and Friedrichshain, which are both great neighborhoods to visit to experience the Berlin nightlife. The interesting thing about these neighborhoods is that they have absolutely every kind of place you can imagine within a block of each other. You can find a massive multi-level club right next to a jazz bar. One of the main nightlife hubs is an area that is half under the tracks of the Warschauer Straße station. Here, there is a whole world of bars, parties, and hangouts. You can even find a rock gym and a skate park. You can also get sustenance from the food trucks and stands in the area, serving up pizza, burgers, sausage, and more all day and night. In this area, we stumbled on a great little hangout that had awesome music and a huge group of guys intent on dancing the night away under the disco ball. The entire area has a very chill bohemian feel, so you can feel at home whether you’re drinking and dancing or sitting back and enjoying the atmosphere. During the day, plenty of people flock here to shop in the day market and hang out, or have a few beers in the beer garden. Along the East Side Gallery, where you’ll find large stretches of Berlin Wall, there are similar areas of urban pop-up partying that can best be described as shanty towns, like YAAM.
If you like a little bit of sport with your drinking, there is a whole other world of bars in Mitte where you can catch the big game along with thousands of other Germans. For instance, this past weekend, Munich played Dortmund and the masses were all packed in the Hofbrau in their best lederhosen drinking beers by the liter and dancing on the tables. After having our fill of that, we made our way to Last Cathedral, a club that embraces the goth culture of my teenage years. The décor is like Satan’s living room and the music is heavy metal techno. So you can take a shot of absinthe and dance to Nine Inch Nails. And everything about that is awesome.
The Berlin nightlife is like an intricate religion and it would take months to figure out all the nuances and characteristics of it. It might even be impossible. But I like that in Berlin, I can have all those insanely different experiences on the same night. In most cities in the world, going to a big club means you have to “dress to impress.” I appreciate the fact that Berlin has better clubs than most of those cities, and I can go to all of them in a concert tee, jeans, and sneakers. In fact, it’s encouraged because Berlin club-owners know that no one has fun dancing in heels.
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