Berlin may not be top of everybody’s lists for a good night out, but it should be. The city is Germany’s party town, with an inordinate number of unique clubs and bars catering to any taste.
In my experience, Berlin finds it hard not to impress international partygoers visiting the city, but it’s worth knowing a few places before you arrive.
The world's shortest guidebook. | Photo by Zemzina
10 of Berlin’s Best Nightlife Spots
Alexanderplatz 5 | 11pm-late Thurs-Sat | www.week-end-berlin.de | Entry €10-12
Located on the top floor of the former DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik aka East Germany) state travel agency, Weekend12End Club dominates the nightlife scene in Alexanderplatz. Make your entrance straight from the elevator doors and onto the dance floor, and experience the pulse of electronica and techno roar through the club. Fancy a breather? Head to the rooftop terraces to enjoy the cool night breeze, and views out across the city.
Linienstraße 74 | 18.00-late Tue-Thurs; 22.00-late Fri-Sat
Located within walking distance of Berlin’s central district, Mitte, CCCP is where those looking for a taste of Berlin’s Soviet past come to experience drinking in the DDR. These days it’s more of a novelty bar then a historic monument, cementing the CCCP as a favourite among locals and tourists. With cheap vodka-based cocktails, what’s not to love?
60 Torstrasse | 20.00-late | www.kaffeeburger.de
Owned by local bon vivant and Russian-expat writer, Vladimir Kaminer, Kaffee Burger is less of a club and more of bar, cult hangout, arts venue and freak show bundled into one. Chuck back vodkas and bop along to the frantic Russian disco or arrive early to catch a film and mingle with local intelligentsia. It’s cheap and, like most Berlin clubs, it’s unpretentious.
Oranienstrasse 190 | www.SO36.de
This legendary venue started off life as a beer garden in 1861, before becoming one one of Berlin’s first cinemas. During the 70s, as popularity in Western punk and rock music grew, SO36 developed as a space for musicians and artists to showcase their talents. SO36’s status as the punk club in Berlin was affirmed in 1978 when the Dead Kennedys performed at the venue. These days SO36 plays host to live acts, club nights along with art displays, night flea markets, and roller discos — fast becoming the exception Berlin’s club scene, which is known for its constant fluctuation.
SO36 is a small venue, with plenty of local talent. | Photo by Libertinus
Cuvrystrasse 7 | www.lido-berlin.de
Once an old cinema, this club doubles up as a live music venue for predominantly rock, punk and indie bands. Club nights are usually themed, such as the Soul and Funk night, where Berliners jive and twist to old motown classics along with modern hits mixed with a Detroit sound.
49 Falckensteinstrasse | 23.00-late Wed, Fri, Sat. | www.water-gate.de | €7-€10
With no obvious signage, this heavily respected club can sometimes be missed lurking behind the Oberbumbrucke, but it’s one to hit-up. If you know the name of the DJ playing, you wont have any problems getting in, but if you’re dressed ready for a night out with the cast of Jersey Shore, things might be a little trickier. If the functional décor and upstair’s ceiling display fail to impress, head downstairs to the lounge where 24-hour revellers party to panoramic views of the River Spree and Oberbaumbrucke.
Eberswalder Strasse 21 | Mon-Sat 8pm til late, Sun 2pm til late.
Table tennis and alcohol; it’s a winning combination that the locals love and is a great place for travellers to make new friends. With one singular ping-pong table in the centre of this dark and grungy room, everyone grabs a paddle and plays a frenzied game of ‘round the world’, while the losers rehydrate with beer. You don’t have to participate; watching the drink-induced games are usually as entertaining as playing!
The ballboy proved to be a distraction | Photo by karaian
Revaler Strasse 99 | Mon- Sun 11am- til late | €3
Located in the middle of a bombed out train depot from WWII, the club’s open door policy of proximity to party area Warschauer Strasse is a winning combo. By day, you can chill in the beer garden and watch skaters practice their skills in the adjacent skate park; try some rock climbing; or stroll through the Sunday markets. By night, however, the club is turned into a thriving fusion of punk, reggae, electro and hip-hop. The beer garden fills up with partygoers, and the skaters head home (the older ones grab a beer).
Wühlischstraße 29 | Daily from 7pm
Not-so-modestly decked out in Soviet paraphernalia, Die Tagung in Friedrichshain offers the perfect drinking den for those experiencing ostalgie (nostalgia for aspects of life in East Germany) — but most commonly, Berlin’s youth and tourists. Enjoy a Roter Oktober beer or cocktail under the watchful gaze of Karl Marx, or beside the bust of Lenin. A pseudo Hard Rock cafe of socialism; Die Tagung offers large beers from €2.70, and a fun atmosphere with an eclectic mix of music until the early hours.
Oranienburger Straße 90 | https://super.tacheles.de/cms/
The building is missing its back wall, due to damage from shells during the 1945 Battle of Berlin. The remaining walls are decorated with huge, colourful graffiti-style murals. Inside, the stairwells are tattooed with more graffiti pieces, as a man spits fire to entertain the crowd in the beach garden. Welcome to Tacheles; and its two clubs, two bars, beach garden and… art gallery. A place to party, before heading to the top floor to buy some art as a memento for your night. This former Jewish department store, turned Nazi prison, turned Soviet travel agency, is home to a collective of artists who have liberated the building.
This post was written by Chris Pomfret, a travel expert at the STA Travel Clapham. If you have any more clubs, bars, or other nightlife suggestions for travellers to Berlin, hurl them into the comment thread below and let’s make the most of Chris’s sterling start!