It’s no secret that Berlin is the world’s mecca of clubbing, but for anyone who’s not a local, navigating the labyrinth of its nightlife scene can feel like one big secret that you’re not in on. But nightlife in Berlin is a cultural experience as much as a party, so we put together local tips to party like a Berliner. Dive down the rabbit hole and into wonderland in the “last liberal city”, and discover the world’s most diverse nightlife scene. Everyone is welcome and anything goes in the city’s nocturnal hangouts, but where should you start? To help you through the whirlwind of weekend-long partying, here’s our guide to what you need to know about nightlife in Berlin.
What should I wear?
Berlin’s progressive attitudes extend towards dress codes, meaning you can wear literally whatever you want. Clubs here don’t have dress codes, so there’s no need to get dressed up in your fanciest gear to try and get in. With a very much anything goes attitude, the motto is “express yourself”. Whether you want to go all out or just wear whatever you’re most comfortable in, everyone will appreciate your own personal sense of style. The only local tip which can help you at the door of the notoriously picky Berghain is to wear black.
When should I go
If the mood strikes you to go out on Sunday afternoon, no one would find it odd - and in fact, it’s a good time to go as the queues will have died down but the party certainly won’t have. Turning up at 3pm on a Sunday But keep in mind the general rule that most clubs are dead before midnight, and most don’t get really good until around 3am, so really you shouldn't bother getting there before 2am. But when it comes to going home, there are no rules; you can party non stop from Saturday night until Tuesday morning if the mood takes you.
So where should I go first?
Do like the locals and start off in a bar. The city might be more famous for its club culture, but its bar scene is not be ignored either! Whether your vibe is hand crafted cocktails on a rooftop or local craft brews enjoyed in a beer garden there’s a bar to suit. Start by figuring out which area the club you want to party at is in, then get stuck in to bar hopping around nearby before you brave the queue!
Where are the best clubs?
The Mitte neighbourhood is known for its vibrant nightlife, but with locals whispering that it’s becoming too touristy and gentrified, you should head to the more alternative Kreuzberg or Friedrichshain neighbourhoods if you want to party like a Berliner. Friedrichshain is the mecca of Berlin’s techno scene, with more than a few of the world’s most renowned clubs to choose from. As well as Berghain, Berlin’s most famous club which is housed in a disused power station, in this area you’ll find Watergate with its epic views over the water, Chalet where you can party in a 150 year old mansion and Tresor which is known for its techno music.
How do I get in?
Most clubs do enforce a pretty strict door policy so it’s worth knowing what to expect. No one wants to spend two hours queueing to get into Berghain to be turned away at the door. First things first, don’t arrive in a group - three people maximum - and don’t be drunken, disorderly, or on your phone in the queue. You’re even more likely to get in if you’re alone; if the bouncer asks who you’re with, a simple “Ich bin allein” will go a long way. It really does help if you can speak a bit of German; don’t be overly chatty, but being able to reply to the bouncers’ questions in their native language always helps. If you can befriend a local in the queue, even better! They’ll help you navigate the sea of unwritten door policy rules and will probably be able to charm their way in better than you. But the oldest trick in the book; if you can get yourself onto a guest list, do so.
Anything else I should know?
You should be too busy having the best night of your life to take photos, but if you’re tempted to snap a picture just remember that Berlin’s nightlife scene is all about experimentation, progressiveness and liberalism. Partying here isn’t just about clubbing; it’s a cultural experience which is all about expressing yourself and going on an adventure - who knows where you might end up… A no photo policy allows people to explore their own identity and not have to worry about it being recorded. Most clubs enforce this rule strictly, so respect how its done here and don’t take photos while you’re out clubbing.
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